Book review – “The Long and Winding Road” by Alan Johnson

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The Long and Winding Road” is the third in Alan Johnson’s trilogy of memoirs. The previous two books are: “This Boy“, about his harrowing childhood and “Please Mister Postman” about his days delivering the Royal Mail. (You’ll notice that all the books are titled after songs from Alan Johnson’s heroes – The Beatles).

I’ve reviewed both previous books here on LDV (see links above), and to a large extent it helps to read the whole series from the beginning. If you pick up “The Long and Winding Road”, the subject matter, the daily grind of a union leader, an MP and a jobbing minister, can strike one, at first, as rather uninteresting. However, if you’ve stuck with Alan Johnson as he described his appalling upbringing and the detail of his postal work, his “voice” tends to get inside one, and you tend to empathise as he forges on up into the heady heights of the political world. Continue reading

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++Copeland by-election – Lib Dems more than double vote share and move up to third place, beating UKIP

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Congratulations to Rebecca Hanson and the team for an excellent showing at the Copeland by-election, caused by the resignation of Labour’s Jamie Reed. Our vote share more than doubled from 3.5% at the 2015 general election to 7.25%. We moved up from fourth place to third – beating UKIP.

Dramatically, the Tories won the by-election in this normally rock-solid Labour seat. Psephologist John Curtice told the BBC that this was the biggest gain, in share of the vote, by a governing party in a byelection since the Hull North byelection in 1966.

Here is the result in full, plus some bar charts from the Press Association’s Ian Jones: Continue reading

++Stoke on Trent by-election – Lib Dem vote share more than doubles

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Congratulations to Zulfiqar Ali and the team at Stoke-on-Trent for more than doubling our share of the vote at the by-election caused by Tristram Hunt’s resignation.

Labour held the seat.

After the result was announced, Liberal Democrat president Sal Brinton said from Stoke:

The Potteries decided there was no need to have UKIP’s official leader in parliament when UKIP’s unofficial leader is already in Number 10, pursuing a hard Brexit. We would have done even better but for many voters, drawn to the Lib Dems, who felt they just couldn’t risk being represented by a UKIP MP, so reluctantly backed Labour. Paul Nuttall called this seat Brexit Central but it turned out to be the end of the line for UKIP.

There is also little comfort for Labour, whose vote share has more than halved here in less than two decades. This is on top of an incredibly tough night for them in Copeland. It shows that if we are to turn out this divided and uncaring Conservative Brexit government, the Liberal Democrats will be the ones making the progressive case to keep Britain open, tolerant and united. We started from a low base here but our vote is picking up and this is yet another sign that the Lib Dem fight-back is on.

Here is the result in full plus some sexy bar charts tweeted by the Press Association’s Ian Jones: Continue reading

My favourite prayer

…Is this one. It’s said after Holy Communion in the Church of England. I have bolded the words that normally get me moist-eyed. It is a glorious prayer!

Father of all,
we give you thanks and praise,
that when we were still far off
you met us in your Son and brought us home.
Dying and living, he declared your love,
gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory.
May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life;
we who drink his cup bring life to others;
we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.

Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.