sqwawkbox (never quite sure how to spell that thing) has been banging on about deselection of Labour MPs for being insufficiently loyal to JC. Some of this will of course happen. First they will come for the Jews and for the women, preferably both at once. And then - well, you know how it goes. But may I point out that it is perfectly possible to deselect a sitting Labour MP now, with no rule change, and that this has been done a number of times in fairly recent years. But it is seriously hard work, and in my case took seven years' campaigning and briefing. Most Labour members, even today, do not want to see their MP deselected, and it takes a long time to fill their ears with so much poison that they are prepared to vote against the MP, or not to vote for her, which usually amounts to much the same thing, because they have started to think "no smoke without fire". In the case of Reading East, after a failed deselection attempt in 2000 which resulted in the ouster of one party chair and the flight of another to Australia in fear of his kneecaps, the renewed efforts were still not working as well as the small group of "criminally insane" (says a very senior party organiser) party members had hoped, following my re-election in 2001 with an increased majority. So they enlisted the help of the now disgraced former Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong, a crabbed virago who acquired the parliamentary seat she held for many years by sheer nepotism, with no discernible merit or hard work on her part. She has recently been compared (by one who knows) with Nurse Ratched in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' - but I fear the former was cleverer. Hills however was well schooled in psychological torture, and you don't have to be clever for that. Anyway, she surfaces in the revisiting of earlier deselection schemes, as well she might. The Telegraph piece from 2004 however mentions my name, and strongly implies that I was deselected for being some kind of Corbynite lefty, which I consider a slur and a calumny, and urge all concerned to withdraw the remarks. Sqwawkbox, it wasn't quite like that.
In other news, it was nice to get a mention in the House this week when the Labour MP for Reading
East, Matt Rodda, made his maiden speech. It was very sensible and mentioned Reading and housing a lot. Jolly good for him.