Been pounding the streets of Feltham and Heston today spreading the Labour message. The constituency seemed to be large in size and varied in type of scenery. A couple of streets in Bedfont looked to be  comprised of big stockbroker-belt type piles while elsewhere were ribbon development bypass 1930 semis, around Feltham nick late Victoriania and planty of council estate infil and some newbuild  housing around a shopping centre/ Asda near Feltham station. Anyway here is my December Tribune column:


2011 has been quite a year. Dramatic happenings have occurred in the our national economy, the broader European project and the streets of some of our cities, not to mention the nailbiting twists and turns at the good ship Tribune and the light shed on journalism at large by the Leveson enquiry. As the festive season sets in, in addition to peace on earth and goodwill to all men, a by-election beckons. By this time next week if all goes well we should have a new Labour MP in the shape of Seema Malhotra sitting for Feltham and Heston. The electoral test of this suburban London seat is a key one: its residents for whom Heathrow Airport looms large quite literally embody the epithet of the squeezed middle.

This column has then decided then to choose Christmas presents for public figures in the spirit of the season. Following my instinct of choosing music for all in keeping with my main academic research topic of the sociology of pop here goes:

For David Starkey

Anything by the Rolling Stones or Amy Winehouse or Rick Astley. As Keith Richards has remarked in his recent autobiography “Life” all the Stones really did was to put a white face on black music, ditto Rick Astley who when he first appeared in the 80s was thought to be black due to his voice before his publicity shots were issued. Winehouse too who died tragically young this Summer too could pull this feat off. Starkey clumsily claimed on BBC Newsnight “the white have become blacks” in explaining the criminality of the August “riots” whereas he should have lectured us on the positively enriching  contribution black culture has had to society and the arts. However given what a turkey Starkey proved to be with his idiotic remarks perhaps that dud act Vanilla Ice might be more suitable – did he record enough to make a greatest hits though?

For Nick Clegg

The Jungle Book soundtrack by Various Artists. Chosen because it includes “I Wanna Be Like You” (sung by the bear Baloo) which surely applies to the way the Deputy Prime minister feels about David Cameron. In a Yo Blair/ Mrs Duffygate moment following a recent Q and A the pair gave in Birmingham Cleggover was inadvertently recorded saying that come the next General Election the leaders debates would be obsolete as the two would have nothing to disagree with, except little Cleggy is always fawning at Dave’s feet, the latter would ditch the former in a trice if he could.

For David Cameron

The Queen is Dead album by the Smiths. Picked as it includes “Panic” the dystopian vision of which is surely appropriate for the financial turmoil that the Tories boneheadedly dogmatic economic strategy has thrown us into.  The song goes on the name exactly that this state of affairs has spread to: London, Birmingham, Leeds, “provincial towns” etc.

For Ed Miliband

A good Nursery Rhymes compilation CD, widely available. Could come in handy at bedtime as he has two little ‘uns who hopefully will be prevented from depriving our leader of too much sleep if they have something suitably soporific to nod off to.

For George Osborne

The Defamation of Strickland Banks by Plan B – because let’s face it, on current perpetually downgraded growth forecasts George needs to get familiar with this concept and have one of these up his sleeve seeing as Plan A so far looks to be an epic fail.

For Seema Malhotra

I Wanna Be Elected by Mott the Hoople (or its Bruce Dickinson cover version issued during the 1992 General Election).

For all of our sakes we Labour-supporting folk need to make sure Seema gets in. Cameron is looking for a Boris bounce and Vince Cable has been showing an unhealthy interest in helping Lib Dems across the border in Hounslow borough as a chunk of the present Feltham and Heston constituency will get subsumed into his Twickenham seat. If anyone wants to come and join in the fun the campaign centre email or call the volunteer hotline on 07872 417252