Tristram’s V&A Visitor Trouble

Today Tristram Hunt’s V&A has taken to the pages of the Evening Standard to complain that Brexit could lead to lower visitor numbers and revenues for his museum. This is despite tourism being at a record high, rising by more than three million since 2016.

In completely unrelated news, the most recent figures show that Tristram’s museum saw a 12% drop in visitors, down from 527,910 in September 2017 to 469,553 in September 2018. Despite record tourism, and Britain’s continued membership of the EU. Could it be that Tristram is trying to use Brexit as an excuse for his poor performance? Surely not…

Farewell Jamieson and Tristram

Turns out Jamie is not his real name:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has this day appointed Jamieson Ronald Reed to be Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has this day appointed Tristram Julian William Hunt to be Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern.

Who says Labour lost touch with its base…

Tristram Hunt on Centre-Left’s Existential Crisis

Outgoing Tristram Hunt gives his final Commons speech:

“I represent a constituency that voted 70-30 to Leave the European Union… This division of opinion between the official Labour Party position and many of our heartland voters have served only to highlight some of the deep-seated challenges which centre-left parties are facing. From Greece to the Netherlands, Sweden to France, the combination of austerity, globalisation and EU policy has hammered social democratic politics… What Brexit has done is exacerbate the divergence of priorities between what the Labour voters of Cambridge want, and those in Redcar, Grimsby or Stoke-on-Trent. Keeping a metropolitan and post-industrial coalition together is no easy task.”

In other words, Labour is increasingly irrelevant in Brexit Britain, and Tristram doesn’t have the answer…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Friday Caption Contest: Gone to Pot Edition

Entries in the comments please…

Tristram: V&A Must Charge For Entry

Did DCMS and the V&A know about this 2011 Guardian article by one Tristram Hunt?

“while it is free to visit the V&A, the British Library and Museum, an entrance fee is set to be charged in Stoke. Across the country, eye-watering cuts to local authority budgets mean that councils are either closing museums or ratcheting up charges. Last week, artist Anish Kapoor accused the Tories of having a “castration complex” about the arts. Yet, in the midst of this, the teeming London museums continue to enjoy a state subsidy to retain free admission…

while American tourists and continental mini-breakers have no problem paying €6.50 to wonder at the majesty of Lorenzetti in the Uffizi and €8 to feast on Velázquez at the Prado, in London it is all gratis. At New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a de facto $20 entrance fee for adults, so why not a fiver for London’s great galleries? Would it really undermine our cultural competitiveness?…

A truly equitable cultural policy might begin to think about reintroducing charges for our national museums.”

Oops!

H/T Joe Murphy

Stoke-on-Trent Likely to Be Fierce 4-Way Fight

5,179 votes separate Labour and UKIP in Tristram’s Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency. It is a Leave constituency (69.4%) which gives UKIP a strong boost. The Tories will fight – more to deny UKIP another seat in parliament than to beat Labour. Labour losing the seat would destabilise Corbyn all over again. 2590 votes switching from Labour will cost them the seat. The LibDems are having a good run and will hoover up left-of-centre Remain voters, potentially giving the seat to either the Tories or UKIP. This is likely to be an intensely fought 4-way fight…

Paddy Power make it 2/7 that Labour retain the seat, with UKIP on 4/1, Tories (9/1) and Lib Dems (20/1). With a low-turnout by-election the UKIP and Tory prices look attractive and worth a flutter

Tristram Hunt Standing Down

Another one bites the dust: Tristram Hunt, once briefly a Labour leadership contender, is standing down from parliament to become director of the V&A. In 2015 Hunt beat second-place UKIP by only 5,000 votes. Stoke-on-Trent voted 69% to Leave in the referendum – by 81,000 votes to 36,000. Another bumper Brexit by-election – Nigel Farage’s spokesman tells Guido he won’t run, will Paul Nuttall be tempted?

READ: Tristram’s resignation letter in full:

This morning I write to you with the news that I intend, at next week’s CLP meeting, to tender my resignation as Member of Parliament flor Stoke-on-Trent Central.

It has been a profound privilege to represent The Potteries in Parliament over the last six and a half years. This has been a period of slow but steady resurgence for Stoke-on-Trent, after the post-industrial nadir of the early 2000s. In these years, I have been proud to see how our ceramic, engineering, technology, healthcare and higher education sectors have begun to revive. Our schools have improved in confidence, with a new Maths Excellence Partnership helping us attract and train enthusiastic young teachers. Stoke City has cemented its place in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup Final. We now have the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, the British Ceramics Biennial, and are bidding to be City of Culture 2021. Best of all, your hard work as local party members means we have eliminated the ugly politics of the BNP from the city.

Of course, these are achievements by the people of Stoke-on-Trent, not by their politicians. But I do hope that my work in the Commons, alongside superb colleagues Joan Walley, Rob Flello, Paul Farrelly and now Ruth Smeeth – has helped in some way to contribute to that confidence and support the incredible endeavours of civil society across the city. But it is the constituency surgeries and local support which one can provide as an MP that can deliver the greatest job satisfaction: giving a voice to the marginalised, battling bureaucracy, marshalling influence for the overlooked. I will miss that opportunity to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent when I stand down as an MP, but I am not saying goodbye to the city itself which will have a huge place in my heart and in what I do for as long as I live.

The extraordinary privilege of serving in Parliament has proved both deeply rewarding and intensely frustrating. I am proud of my work in helping to save the Wedgwood Collection, secure tax breaks fior the ceramics industry, scrutinise Government policy on the Constitutional Reform Select Committee, and help clean up London‘s laundering of dirty money on the Criminal Finances Bill. It took a while to get there, but I also believe the programme which myself; Kevin Brennan and the Shadow Education Team developed for the 2015 General Election was radical and right. Visiting schools and colleges in Stoke and across the country, meeting with teachers and parents and students, allowed me to see the remarkable commitment of English school leaders to their mission as educationalists. But also it highlighted the harrowing effects of poverty and inequality upon social mobility. These experiences will continue to drive me in my new position.

The frustration, of course, came with the inability to address those motors and implement our policy programme following our defieat in 2015 – and, more broadly, about how the Labour Party should respond to the social, cultural and economic forces which have rocked mainstream social democratic and socialist parties from India to Greece to America.

There were very few jobs that would have convinced me to stand down as MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, but the post of Director of the V&A – the world’s greatest museum of art, design and performance – is just that. It brings together all my lifetime passions of education, historical scholarship, meshing past with present and public engagement. It also continues my connection with this wonderful city thanks to the V&A’s ownership of the Wedgwood Collection, on show at the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston. The history of design, craftsmanship and technology which I have been taught by so many of you, in conversations in that rooms and pot banks across North Staffordshire, will serve me well in my new job.

As I enter a new role as a public servant, I will be leaving partisan politics behind me and will work impartially as a museum director. I am sorry to put you, the party and the people of Stoke-on-Trent through a by-election. I have no desire to rock the boat now and anyone who interprets my decision to leave in that way is just plain wrong.

I will always be Labour and forever grateful for the incredible opportunity which the Party gave me to work with you to serve the people of Stoke-on-Trent as their Member of Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Tristram Hunt

Cat Smith’s Campaign Organiser’s Cover-Up Busted

BEN+SINGLETON
Guido’s revelations
last week about Corbynista Labour MP Cat Smith’s mysterious election expenses exposed one of the most serious individual cases of alleged expenses fraud so far. Unlike the systematic and centrally focused allegations surrounding the SNP’s chopper, or Labour and the Tories‘ national battle bus spends, Cat Smith’s returns represent an individual candidate conspiring to conceal a series of overspends in a closely fought marginal constituency. If found guilty Smith personally, not a party machine, will bear the responsibility

One of the key false declarations made by Smith is that her campaign organiser, Ben Singleton, spent just 12.5% (around four and a half days) of the short campaign working for her, allowing her to deduct 87.5% of his salary costs off her final election expenses declaration. Guido has already uncovered substantial evidence demonstrating that Singleton worked far more than this on her election campaign. Now, after an extensive search, Smith’s 12.5% claim looks even less credible…

Singleton realised Guido was investigating him and guiltily deleted his Twitter feed from public view – so we found alternative evidence sources. Pictures uncovered from a series of third-party social media posts show Singleton present on Smith’s campaign for at least 10 different days during the short campaign, which lasted just 39 days between March 30 and May 7. It is hard to find an event of hers in which he wasn’t involved. Several social media posts (including Singleton himself registering as attending two of Smith’s campaign events) show that the organiser was more involved than Smith has previously claimed. One of those events was a pro-Cat Smith rally featuring Eddie Izzard, also undeclared…

Making false declarations is a criminal offence, it could lead to her election being invalidated and Cat Smith going to prison. The evidence photos show Singleton alongside Labour grandees Tristram Hunt MP, Maria Eagle MP, and Theresa Griffin MEP. Will they be willing to testify on Comrade Smith’s behalf?

More to follow…

Long-Term Rise of Anti-Politics

This morning in Portcullis House researchers from the University of Southampton are presenting findings from a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on the rise of anti-politics, Tristram Hunt and Isabel Hardman are going to stick their tuppence in during an audience discussion. The conclusion is that those of us who want to see our lives de-politicised, and the politics-free space in our culture and society increased, are winning…

anti-politics-trend

Since 1945 and the expansion of the welfare state, the popular general dissatisfaction with government has risen 50%. Bigger government increases dissatisfaction…

Politicians are seen as more out for themselves than they were in the past. Whereas during the Second World War over a third of MPs were seen as doing the best for their country, now only 1 in ten are seen as doing so, and nearly half are seen as merely out for themselves.

pols-4-themselves

The academics see the rise of anti-politics as a problem. The inherent premise being that more politics will be good for us. Therefore the low popular opinion of politicians makes political action more difficult. Guido thinks this is a good thing, that the low esteem in which politicians are held is reasonable, people have made a more realistic appraisal of the nature of those who seek to rule over us. Politicians complain that they feel beset by the media and hostile voters because 72% of people see them as self-serving. Good. People should not be afraid of politicians, politicians should be afraid of the people…

Labour Leadership Rivals Rake in Huge Donations

The Corbynista line this morning is that Jezza is safe from a coup, several “hostile” MPs agree with Tom Watson that he should be “given time” and judged on the next set of local elections in 12 months. Knives are being put away yet potential challengers’ coffers are being filled…

It’s notable that Tristram Hunt has raked in £85,000 of donations from Blairite sources. He’s taken a wedge off Blair backer Lord David Sainsbury (for whom Hunt used to work as a SpAd), Stoke City FC chairman Peter Coates and mega-bucks private equity adviser Trevor Chinn. That is a huge amount to take in for one month…

Chinn has also given money to Dan Jarvis, a much mooted leadership rival who has been coining it recently. Jarvis also received £12,500 last month from major Labour donor Peter Hearn, who tried in vain to bankroll Corbyn’s opponents last year. That’s on top of his hedge fund cash that he really doesn’t like talking about.

Margaret Hodge has loads in the bank though it helps that she’s also making £5,000 per speech at the moment. If the coup is delayed for a year that is a long time to raise a war chest…

UPDATE: Allies of Tristram say several of the donations registered this month were actually received in previous months, but had to be re-registered due to an administrative error. He is slowly and steadily amassing a lot of cash…

Tristram Hunt Aligns Himself

Tristram Hunt aligns himself at a Labour party fringe event:

“Now, as a god-fearing, national anthem-singing, roast beef-eating member of Progress, it is a delight to be amongst you.”

Tristram Hunt Backs Kendall For Leader

“This morning I am announcing that I will not be entering the race to be leader of the Labour Party. Over the last few days I have made a lot of calls to potential supporters. I found that the bulk of MPs are already committed to just a couple of candidates. It is clear to me that I do not have sufficient support to be certain that I can run for the leadership myself. Instead today I am offering my endorsement to my colleague Liz Kendall.”

Shock.

Red on Red: First Blood in Battle For Labour’s Heart

In the first decent skirmish of the Labour leadership race, Doctor the Honourable Tristram Julian William Hunt will today have a nice pop at self-proclaimed front-runner Andy Burnham. According to the Sun, Hunt will weaponise Burnham’s claims to be the ‘heart of Labour’:

“Not since 1983 have we been so out of step with the prevailing mood of the nation.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

The All White, All Oxbridge People’s Party

labourleadership

All of the Labour Party leadership candidates are scions of privilege:

Andy Burnham:
English, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

Yvette Cooper:
PPE, Balliol College, Oxford.

Mary Creagh:
Languages, Pembroke College, Oxford.

Liz Kendall:
History, Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Doctor the Honourable Tristram Julian William Hunt:
History, Trinity College, Cambridge.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Rich’s Monday Morning View

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Mini-Kipper Tells Tristram Hunt: ‘Get All the Foreigners Out of Our Country’

What could possibly go wrong when Tristram Hunt invited the BBC’s cameras to film him visiting a primary school in the Midlands? He probably wasn’t expecting a small child to tell him they would vote UKIP to “get all the foreigners out our country”:

But why does Tristram say “very good”?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

IPSA Dump On Labour’s Zero Hours Spin

Labour’s onslaught against the mythical “zero hours contract epidemic” hits the buffers when it is gently pointed out that almost 70 Labour MPs employ staff on flexible contracts. Labour’s stock reply is to blame IPSA for this embarrassing hypocrisy, yet the expenses watchdog have hit back today:

“The MP is the employer, it is a matter for them whether they choose to use a zero-hours contract.”

Amusingly it was left to Tristram Hunt to bluster as the carpet was pulled from underneath his argument on the Daily Politics earlier:

Delicious…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Cristina Odone Hits Back at “Ignorant” Hunt

Tristram Hunt is under heavy fire this morning over his inflammatory comments sneering at nuns on Question Time. Cristina Odone, to whom the Shadow Education Secretary scoffed “I know about your religious schooling”, hits back:

“Tristram Hunt’s comments on nuns last night were arrogant and ignorant.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

WATCH: Tristram Hunt’s Question Time “Nuns” Slur

This incendiary comment from Tristram Hunt to Catholic journalist Cristina Odone on Question Time is going to run and run:

CO: The most inspiring teachers I’ve ever encountered were not out of teacher training college. You know what, they taught values, not British values, they taught real values.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Seen Elsewhere