A co-conspirator gets in touch with an account of their mid-morning commute last Thursday, during which they eavesdropped on a conversation a fellow passenger was loudly having on the phone. Guido reproduces their note of the journey verbatim, our annotations are in bold…
Travelling on the District Line train from Richmond the other day, I sat opposite Seumas Milne. He was constantly on the phone as he proceeded towards Westminster. I was struck by how indiscreet he was in his conversations to various callers, and in public, about his fellow Labourites. Anyone interested in politics could pick up some useful scuttlebutt on inter-Labour wrangling.
Here is what I picked up:
Seumas castigated John McDonnell for arranging an interview about his budget statement, with an Indie journo, when the latter organ was about to cease hard copy publishing, and had a small circulation. Seumas could not shift John about arranging an interview with another, larger circulation paper, since the latter was ‘very stubborn.’ There was also talk about Heather Stewart but I did not catch the gist because of train noise.
[Heather Stewart is the new political editor of the Guardian. Is this who Milne wanted McDonnell to do the interview with instead of the Indy?]
Someone called Heidi was being difficult over an NHS bill;
[This would be the Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander]
Someone called Lewis was ‘mentally ill’.
[There aren’t many Lewises in the PLP. He could be talking about Ivan Lewis, but more likely it’s a comment on Clive Lewis, the… err, interesting, Corbynista MP]
Seumas Milne was renowned during his time at the Guardian for striding through the newsroom while talking loudly on his mobile, much to the consternation of fellow journalists who were trying to concentrate on their work. Did Seumas really describe a fellow Corbynista as “mentally ill”? Being overheard on the train is the mark of a rank amateur…
— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) March 15, 2016