The many and varied readers of _Paul_And_Land_ will recall or even remember the trumpet solo which introduced the “World of Roy”. Oh yes, the dreaming spires of Pontefract, the green and pleasant rolling pastures of Castleford and the delightful rural idyll of Normanton. These are the sweet homelands of many a Roy, their Transit vans inhabit the streets and their B+Q monthly accounts fill each Postal Workers’ sack to brimming. So our many thousands of Roys, brought up by former Roys with Uncle Roys in the background, all formerly involved in BIG organizations with BIG Trades Unions and BIG Union Leaders would be the perfect people to be BIG on BIG Leftyism. Nah.
First off, Ponty, Norm and Cas are far from being the buccolic heaven of Constable, more the Dark Satanic Mills backdrop so favoured by few. And as for the Roys of this world, they are fewer or less than other areas of this sceptre’d isle simply because there ain’t that many to support a burgeoning domestic service provision class. Former pits bespeckle the countryside and industrial estates, mostly vacant, have sprung up over the past quarter century. Former church halls have come into their own as remnant warehouses and Bingo Halls, Working Mens Clubs and once thriving Public Houses have found their place as the architectural detritus of the urban environment. Does it sound bad? It’s worse.
So in 1997, because this haven of misery caused by the Thatcher mauling of primary industries was so needy of uplifting, the Labour Party brought in one of their top community fixers to replace the areas outgoing MP. A new champion for the area, with wisdom and local knowledge, a handle on the problems which beset Ponty, Norm and Cas with the right connections to reinvigorate an area dying on it’s arse. No, not quite, they parachuted in one of their own favourites, Yvette Cooper, a member of the rapidly expanding Career Politician genre and 28 year old chief economic correspondent of The Independent, formerly educated at Eggar’s School, Alton College and Balliol College, Oxford, gaining a first class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics was the one for them.
Oh but she was good, she had gained a Kennedy Scholarship in 1991 to study at Harvard University, and eventually finished her studies with an MSc in Economics at the London School of Economics. Add to that her rocket like career rise, firstly as an economics researcher for Shadow Chancellor John Smith in 1990, prior to spending time working in Arkansas for Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 before becoming a policy advisor to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman and finally in 1994 moving onto become a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance. All before she was 26 years old. Awesome, uh?
And as for Ponty, Norm and Cas? As friend of _Paul_And_Land_ Big Glen says “it’s fucked”. Thanks Yvette, thanks Labour, thanks for nothing.