It's official! There's only one entry in this year's Anti-Toff Class War Gold Cup and the runner in this prestigious horse race is Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley, riding his horse, Class Warrior. Ronnie, bless him, has been providing us with light entertainment and amusing relief from the realities of politics for many years. His ability to avoid serious political comment is well respected despite the competition from some of his Labour colleagues for the glamorous position of "MP Least Likely To Be Taken Seriously".
Unfortunately however, the Anti-Toff Class War Gold Cup 2010 one horse race has ended in disaster with Ronnie falling at the first U-turn! Last week Ronnie laid into Lib Dem run Northumberland Council for supporting an equestrian event in this otherwise rural county where the economy is heavily dependent on tourists visiting and spending wads of cash in local hotels, shops and businesses. (Though there is an urban area in the South East of the county which is represented by Ronnie in Parliament.)
According to Ronnie, the equestrian event was a "weekend outing for toffs". He implied that the cash for this horsey event (from the government's Working Neighbourhoods Fund) should be spent instead on social care for his elderly constituents, despite his own government strictly forbidding the money being spent in that way (it has to be spent on projects that boosts employment).
But, as Ronnie approached the first bend in the race, lots of local residents laid into him for his comments. So Ronnie has changed horses mid way through the race. Class Warrior has been abandoned in favour of a new horse called Toffs Are Welcome Here!
Yes, Ronnie has turned from Class Warrior into New Labour, New Toffs, We-Love-The-Rich-and-Especially-Their-Horses Warrior in the space of just a few days.
According to Ronnie, the confusion over his position is because the local press "has not fully understood the point I was making." Apparently, when Ronnie says that public cash should not be spent on a "weekend outing for toffs", what he means is: let's spend lots of cash on this wonderful event to attract these wonderful people and their horses to Northumberland." Just how Ronnie was misunderstood is beyond me!
This however is not Ronnie's first hoof-in-mouth experience when it comes to horses. Not that long ago Ronnie, bless him, was approached by the organisers of National Fetish Day to wear something purple to support the cause. Ronnie obliged and promised to wear a purple shirt (we don't know if it was a jockey shirt).
But when approached by a local newspaper to be asked why he was backing the fetish cause, Ronne, bless him, explained that he thought the word fetish meant "Worry, like worrying about backing the wrong horse." !!!!!
Ronnie may not yet scare the horses but it is time to put him out to grass!