Meme: can this really be happening to me?

ONCE again, über-blogger Iain Dale has nominated me with a challenge to recount events in my past where I had to pinch myself and ask: “Is this really happening?” Iain, of course, is just a big show-off and wants to brag about all the famous people he’s met. I would never do that, of course (ahem…).

1991: I joined the Labour Party entirely because of Neil Kinnock. I really idolised him. Occasionally I bump into him in the MPs’ tearoom and I want to tell him this, but I always resist, because (a) he would think it a bit naff, and (b) he has no idea who I am. Nevertheless, as a completely starstruck young press officer with the Labour Party in Scotland, I had to help organise a visit to Edinburgh by Neil as leader of the party and, I fervently hoped, our next prime minister. Can’t remember why, exactly, but I found myself having a game of pool with Neil and his son, Stephen in their hotel. Chuffed!

2002: New MPs and their spouses were invited to meet HM at Buck House. Carolyn, a sometimes republican, decided she wanted to come because she was curious to see inside the palace. “But I’m not curtseying,” she said. “Well, you can’t come then,” said I, suddenly the arch-monarchist. “You can’t accept someone’s hospitality and then refuse to obey protocol.”

“Well, I’ll nod a bit. Maybe,” she conceded. The evening arrived and even those who were pretending to be cool about the situation were failing miserably. Suddenly Carolyn and I were in a line of people waiting to meet the Queen and Prince Philip. Before realising it, there they were, right in front of us. I duly bowed, murmured something suitably obsequious and walked off. I glanced behind me to see how Carolyn was doing, worried she might stage a show of defiance. I needn’t have been concerned. I have never, in my entire life, seen anyone offer such a low and deferential curtsey. She told me later that it was almost entirely instinctive; she just couldn’t help herself when she came face to face with the monarch. It’s a pity – or perhaps a blessing – that the whole thing was being filmed, because, on leaving the Royal Presence and realising what she had just done, she swore (and it was a very bad swear word) to herself, straight into the lens of the camera.

2003: Labour conference was abuzz because Bill Clinton was around. As a junior back bencher I had virtually no chance of meeting him. But while standing in a corridor of the conference hotel waiting to get into a room where I was due to have dinner one evening, there was a flurry of activity and Bill and his entourage came walking towards me. I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass, so I stuck out my hand and said: “An honour to meet you, Mr President.” He took it and smiled and said thank you. Great. But I hadn’t noticed that right behind him was the actor, and Bill’s BFF, Kevin Spacey. So I shook his hand as well. This was turning into a great night. And then, behind Spacey was none other than Tony Blair, who smiled at me as if he might have vaguely recognised me. “Piss off, Tony, I’m speaking to Kevin,” I quipped (I didn’t really).

Okay, so I’m passing this challenge on to the following five bloggers:

Harry Barnes, Scottish Tory Boy, Scottish Unionist, Colin Byrne and Sadie out of Sadie’s Tavern.

Coming soon, my very own meme: how do you pronounce ‘meme’?



Filed under Blogging, Family life, Labour, Politics, Whimsy

16 responses to “Meme: can this really be happening to me?

  1. Tom this has got to stop!

    The buffoon is puffed up enough without having links fed to his dire effort of a blog from all and sundry. He understands how the Web works full well, it’s time those on the left learned it too.

    And whilst I’m venting, what’s with the Guido Fawkes, coffee house, Tory Home, etc. links, for that matter? Are you endorsing these sites? I doubt you mean to, but in reality you are.

  2. Bloggers all have to link to each other, l.m. It’s a rule!

  3. [irony] How do you pronounce meme? Call yourself a Doctor Who fan? Did you not watch The End of the World in new series 1? And judging by the hold on you that Mr Dale has, are you too one of the Adherents of the Repeated meme? [/irony]

  4. Patchouli

    I’m sure Mrs H, and Ronnie and Reggie, will forgive you. Cold baked beans tonight?

  5. Chris

    what possible benefit does pandering to right wing idiots like Dale serve the Labour cause?
    Our party is in a dire state and all we read is this piffle.

  6. Frank Davis

    Yes, the party is in a dire strait. All the same, it’s busy thinking up ways of persecuting smokers even more. Courtesy of Taking Liberties, their latest consultation document asks:

    Question 12: Do you believe that more should be done by the Government to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke within private dwellings or in vehicles used primarily for private purposes? If so, what do you think could be done?

    So, not content with setting out to ban people from smoking in their own cars, they now want to ban them from smoking in their own homes. What else does “reduce exposure” mean, for heaven’s sake?

    It’s utter madness. It’s complete lunacy. It’s despicable. They just can’t stop themselves. To reach even more deeply into people’s personal lives than they already have. Just in this one question alone are all the reasons why this Labour government should be thrown out of office on its ear, and never returned to power again. I can only suppose that they know that they’re finished, but they’re going to go down in an orgy of mean-minded interfering legislation while they’ve still got the chance to enact it.

  7. John

    When I read comments such as labourmatters I begin to understand why Labour want to war with everyone who has a different point of view to themselves. It doesn’t surprise me that with such an attitude the majority are turning against Labour.
    Tom, the fact that you have scored so highly from the readership of a predominantly Conservative blogmeister surely demonstrates the wide appeal of your blog.

  8. I’m quite surprised that you indulged this one, Tom. Time for a Meme Policy, methinks!

  9. Good on you Tom. Is it any wonder that your blog has many times the readers of Labour Matters. Labour who? might be a more appropriate title for it.

    I make it my business to promote blogs I like and ones I think ‘get’ blogging, which is why I have promoted yours so often. It matters not a jot to me that you come from a different political viewpoint to me. A good blog is a good blog, no matter what the views of its author.

    You didn’t come top in so many categories in the blog poll by accident. You did so because in a very short time your blog has established itself as a must read for so many people

    What a pity Labour Matters – a blog which got so few voted it didn’t even make the Top 200 – just doesn’t get it.

  10. Angelin

    Oh Tom, I’m really disappointed in your replies.
    Being an old romantic, I was expecting at least one mention of those moments in life that are not celebritized (if there is such a word).
    That moment when, on a drive on the B3306 (recently voted the most romantic drive in UK), you and Carolyn stopped to watch the sunset and in that crazy moment, you proposed to that lovely lady.
    I mean, we’ve all met the Queen.Boring.

  11. Actually, I proposed in a Glasgow chip shop. Who says romance is dead?

  12. Angelin

    Obviously the right PLAICE for you!!
    As long as you didn’t FLOUNDER or make a SPRAT of yourself.

  13. Well Tom I did it over a phone and then again on Platform 19 of Waverley Station with ring in hand. Just so long as the two of you didn’t celebrate with a deep fried Mars bar I’ll let you off.

  14. Blackacre

    Have you not read the Selfish Gene, then? Richard Dawkins invented the word, although I think it is misused in blogging from that concept. Pronounced “meem”.

  15. Before realising it, there they were, right in front of us.

    hanging participle Tom, hanging participle. tsk tsk. HM and Phil realised it all right, it was you and her who didn’t.

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