Grant Woodward: Why does Labour keep getting it so horribly wrong?

Gordon Brown's 2010 campaign was full of gaffes like this one in Leeds - and Labour keep making them. Picture: PA
Gordon Brown's 2010 campaign was full of gaffes like this one in Leeds - and Labour keep making them. Picture: PA
1
Have your say

WHEN you come face to face with politicians you quickly realise that beneath their stage-managed slickness is a level of amateurism so shabby it would actually be rather endearing if they didn’t take themselves quite so seriously.

WHEN you come face to face with politicians you quickly realise that beneath their stage-managed slickness is a level of amateurism so shabby it would actually be rather endearing if they didn’t take themselves quite so seriously.

When he was Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott paid a visit to Cambridge, where I was working at the time, for a meeting with local councillors.

He invited the local press – in other words, me – but refused to extend the same courtesy to the non-Labour lot on the council.

It sparked the poshest protest you’ve ever seen as placard-waving Tories beseiged him as he left via the back door.

At this point his assistants forgot where they’d parked his Jag, leading to the farcical sight of Prezza fending off the Tories as he marched round the car park – just like you and me when we’ve had a forgetful moment at Morrisons.

Then there was Gordon Brown’s entire 2010 election campaign.

It started with that photo of him sweeping through some double doors in Leeds while a couple of lackeys got on their knees to hold them open – not twigging they were still in the picture.

It made him look like Darth Vader storming a Rebel cruiser.

It then self-destructed with Bigoted Womangate – the moment he forgot his microphone was still on and slagged off a voter in Rochdale.

On that occasion he blamed another party fixer called “Sue” for the debacle.

The point is that as much as we think all politicans are snake oil salesmen (and women) who are PR polished within an inch of their lives, often those who run the murky world of politics would struggle to organise a sobbing contest at the One Direction fan club.

This week, the Labour leadership contest lurched from a bit of a shambles to a full-on embarrassment.

More than 40,000 union activists have been caught voting twice, while thousands of non-Labour supporters are believed to have signed up to sabotage the party by ticking the box for Jeremy Corbyn.

So what were the four contenders doing while all this was going on?

Debating whether or not to introduce female-only carriages to make women feel safer on the train.

If it wasn’t so disastrous for the political future of Britain, it would be funny.

We’ve also had West Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper telling Andy Burnham to pull out because she’s got a better chance of beating Corbyn. A low stunt if ever there was one.

In fact, Cooper, Burnham and Kendall have spent far more time and energy attacking Corbyn, and each other, than they have putting their own policies forward.

Say what you like about Tony Blair – and plenty do – but at least he brought an air of professionalism to the party. With him in charge, you believed Labour had a clue what they were doing.

I hosted a question and answer session with Blair for YEP readers when he was still in Number 10. A few of them said they were going to give him what for – only for him to quickly win them round again once he arrived.

But the current shower can’t even get their own house in order before they so much as think about trying to get the electorate back onside.

This farce is unbecoming of a party that’s supposed to form the main opposition to David Cameron’s Tories. In the space of four months, Labour have gone from possibly running the country to not being able to run raffle.

There was I thinking the party would be all but unelectable if Jeremy Corbyn got the nod in a couple of weeks’ time. But this sorry saga has made them that regardless of who wins the leadership race.

So who’s going to emerge victorious on September 12? Nobody, the winner’s already celebrating.

And his name’s David Cameron.

Make Boycs Yorks mayor

NOT only was Geoff Boycott one of the finest batsmen England has ever produced, he also holds the distinction of being the only Yorkshireman that George Osborne can’t say no to.

Boycs went into bat again for the county this week – three decades after hanging up his pads – and told the chancellor to get his hands out of his expensively-tailored pockets.

Hey presto, the Government has now pledged to donate £1m towards the cost of a new helicopter for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The cash is a lifeline for the charity, which has had to rely mostly on public goodwill to keep going.

The move comes after Geoff wrote to Osborne to ask for government support for the charity.

Given the struggles this region has had over the years to get decent funding from Cameron and Co, the only possible response to this windfall is to immediately embrace the elected mayor idea, stick Boycott in the job and despatch him to London.

After all, he’s surely our best hope of wheedling more cash out of the Treasury, just like he used to plunder runs from the world’s best bowling attacks.

While we’re at it, maybe ex-Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond can help with a donation of his own now he’s landed a rumoured £6m deal with Amazon. After all, he owes his life to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance after that smash at Elvington back in 2006.

Defoe’s job ad has deffo lost the plot

I’M not sure what I liked best about that ludicrous advert to find a personal assistant for Jermain Defoe.

Possibly the fact that, along with watering the Sunderland striker’s plants, the sucessful candidate would also be expected to grow “a global brand for the Jermain Defoe name”.

There were also the small matters of fridge stocking, organising Black History Month events and sorting his families’ social diaries. Oh, and could you just produce a Jermain’s own perfume line and a few iPhone apps while you’re at it?

Having said that, a salary of up to £60,000 a year sounded to me like a pretty generous whack. Then I realised that’s what Jermain picks up in a week.

Still, at least the former England star has relieved any incoming employee of the stated task of “gaining further recognition within the media”.

With one ridiculous job advert he’s managed to nab himself more attention than he’s had come his way in quite some time.

Sarah Champion MP

Aisha Iqbal: Let’s not blur the lines between courage, free speech and hate