Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Boris Johnson - Class Warrior!

Been really tied up of late - professionally and personally.

But I really must point out a great think piece by Martin O'Neill in this week's New Statesman on why people seem to tolerate Boris Johnson.

Martin think's it all comes down to class and I think he's pretty damn close to nailing it on the head.

As Leonard Woolf once said: "There is nothing to which men cling more tenaciously than the privileges of class."


Very clever and funny viral. I think it says more than any piece of campaign literature we could put out.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Banksy's About!

Looks like Banksy made the most of London's attention being divereted to the marathon this weekend.

You don't expect a major piece of contemporary art outside your office. It's half way down Newman Street, off Oxford Street if you want to see it.

I'm surprised he got away wiith it as it's right next to the entrance of the Royal Mail sorting office where the security is usually quite tight.

In theory he should be caught on the CCTV. Perhaps the Royal Mail can sell the footage to the Tate Modern and it can be displayed as an installation in its own right!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

What a race

It's hard to believe that it's one year since the London Marathon was last here in Greenwich.

Back then, Roz and I were limbering up for the 26 miles, blissfully unaware that it was going to go down as the hottest race in history. I drank so much as I trundled around the course that I felt like a water bottle.

But when you hit the wall - and for me it was after 18 miles - you think of all that sponsorship money you've raised and the people you'll let down if you give up.

This is when the spectators really come into their own. I never realised how much support they give you. Having complete strangers passionately yelling out names of people they've never met (that's why runners put names on their shirts), spurring them on to keep going, is something that will always stick with me.

So you keep going. And when you pull round into the Mall after running past Buckingham Palace, you know it's all been worth it.

The other wonderful feature is the fact you have 35,000 runners and 35,000 different stories. You've probably heard about Buster Martin the 101 year-old van cleaner (pictured above), Blind Dave Heeley running on seven continents in seven days and the six Maasai warriors running to raise money for clean water in their village.

But then there are the hundreds of sons and daughters running in memory of their mums for breast cancer charities, the pensioners raising money for hospital scanners and those overcoming disability, medical conditions and even dementia to raise awareness and funds.

And helping make it all happen are the 6,000 plus volunteers giving their time to help the world's biggest fund raising event.

That's why I think we should ignore the nay-sayers who do down the 2012 Olympics. As well as helping to regenerate some of the poorest parts of London and create 39,000 homes (the majority affordable) it will also help to build an enormous amount of social capital - reinvigorating and rebuilding community spirit, not just in London, but across the UK.

That's why whilst I'm a big fan of the London Marathon, it's still only the second best to the greatest race of all.

The Human Race.

Friday, 4 April 2008

High Noon

I'm really pleased to see that my good friend Tracy Noon has been chosen to stand for Labour in Hull's Ings ward in May.

I was honoured to have Tracy and her mum and dad help me in my campaign. She has made a massive difference to the lives of children on the Ings Estate by setting up East Hull Urban Arts - an after-school club where she teaches drama and music to 180 kids. Take a look below.

Our city and party desperately need more people like Tracy; passionate activists who are prepared to slog their guts out to improve the outcomes of those less fortunate than themselves.

This is a woman who campaigned so hard during one local election that her feet actually bled from the amount of canvassing she did. Now THAT'S committed.

So I'll definitely be back up to knock on doors for her in the next few weeks.

Good luck Tracy - you'll make an excellent councillor.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Well done Harriet

I'm sure the Tories are spinning that Hague had his kid gloves on and didn't want to be seen bullying a woman, but don't you believe it.

She won fair and square by doing her homework. The baseball cap joke was timed to perfection.

So relish every moment of this win, Harriet.

I just wish I'd stuck a tenner on you.