Wednesday, 2 July 2008

A Word from the past

I suddenly felt, in equal measures, very nostalgic and quite old today.

I happened to be watching Terry Christian interviewed on the Daily Politics. He'd been invited to make a film on social mobility - or the perceived lack of it. Whilst generally saying Labour hadn't done enough, he then said he'd been asked to ''join Cool Britannia by John Prescott's son."

My mind flashed back to a night in 1995- we were at Teddington Lock studios, where Hughie Green used to film Opportunity Knocks), but now was home to the infamous ''The Word.'' I remember being somewhat taken aback to be holding the door open for Louise Wener (the very intelligent and attractive singer of a Britpop band called Sleeper who has now become a novelist.)

Back then any young party member was doing their best to spread the word about the new Labour party. When it came to celebrity supporters, we were still known for Red Wedge, which had fizzled out a good few years earlier.

And to be fair, the likes of Jimmy Sommerville and Billy Bragg had lost their street cred amongst people my age. That's why it was important to look for support from the new generation.

There had been successes. I'd been helping out with a voter registration campaign called Rock The Vote and certain other people had managed to enlist the support of Eddie Izzard, Steve Coogan and various bands.

I do remember the scene wasn't even called Cool Britannia back then (that name didn't come about until Tony got into No 10 and his first Anglo-French summit.) But the point was in 1995, we needed all the cool we could get.

So I did speak to Terry who, fair dues, said he didn't want to publicly support us. I don't seem to remember him saying that Tony was a Tory, but it was 13 years ago.

And then when it hit me - 13 years. I was 24 years old, playing a very, very small part in trying to bring about a Labour victory. I'm not too sure whether Terry's support would have led to a bigger landslide than the one we got but I'm glad to see that 13 years later that he's still the same loud-mouthed, opinionated Manc I last remember having a pint with.

If you want to hear his views on social mobility - and he makes some interesting points - then click here.

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