He had a whole week to get his Mail on Sunday column right. Seven days in which to do that journalism that he claims as a professional title. To get the gossip, filter it through the prism of reality, run it by colleagues, have it fettled up by the subs, and approved by the editorial staff. But the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole still managed to make the most elementary of gaffes, such was his desire to attack the Labour Party.
Ah, Master Cole
Under the pretentious banner “Spilling secrets, puncturing egos”, Master Cole’s last item, buried away at the foot of Page 23, is about Labour students. It tells anyone not yet asleep “Labour's Stalinist purge continues with a vengeance – the latest victims being the moderate Labour Students faction”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
“Officially, their abolition is a streamlining exercise, but I hear their true crime was an incident at last year’s party conference, where their late-night party descended into rallying cries of ‘Tony, Tony, Tony’ and a sing-a-long of the Blairite anthem Things Can Only Get Better … Their cards were marked by Corbynista spies from that day on”.
Gaffe at lower right of page ...
But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with that idea - it was bollocks. We know this as Marie le Conte, who has just had her new book Haven’t You Heard? published (see HERE), covered the same ground. And in doing so, showed why Master Cole has, once again, punctured no-one’s ego except his own.
Here’s her take: “there is also the slight issue of Westminster being a fundamentally peculiar place. Sometimes a story that’s obviously a story will fall into your lap … [An] example of this took place at the Labour Party Conference in 2015, not long after the surprising election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader”. Note the date - 2015. There was more.
... and duly explained here
“At the last night … at the Labour Students’ disco, as is customary, [they] ended the night by heartily singing along to ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, the New Labour anthem. Our delighted young hack, for whom the conference was a first, thought they’d stumbled upon a cracking bit of news”. Rather like Master Cole thought he’d done. But do go on.
“Corbyn was supposed to be popular with the youths, yet here, in the place where he should have been adored, people showed their defiance by singing an ode to Tony Blair … The story was proudly brought into the newsroom then swiftly laughed out of it”.
Why so? “It is a tradition for Labour Students to sing along to ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, every year, regardless of people’s factional preferences or the leader who happens to be at the helm at the time. You just have to know about it”.
And Master Cole, who, now he has his own weekly column in addition to his role as alleged deputy political editor for the MoS, really should have known about it, but didn’t. After all, he’s been in and around Labour Party conferences for several years now - at least since 2013, when he tried (and failed miserably) to gatecrash a Hacked Off bash.
An obscenely large salary - and he still hasn’t learned the ropes. Sad, really.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at