Easington In Parliament
Yesterday, Grahame Morris was selected to stand as the Labour Candidate for the Easington Constituency at the next General Election. He obtained 75% of the vote on the first ballot in a four-cornered contest. You don't get much stronger endorsement than that under the modern day Labour selection procedure.
Furthermore. John Cummings the sitting MP for Easington had a majority of 18,636 at the last General Election and even topped the 30,000 majority mark in the Labour landslide of 1997 - by 12. Manny Shinwell used to represent the area and he would have loved a 30,000 majority, which is something he just failed to achieve even in Labour's 1945 landslide victory. But Manny's vote did top the 40,000 barrier in his defeat of Maurice MacMillan, the son of Harold MacMillan who was later a Conservative Prime Minister.
Given that Grahame is 46 years old, he has the prospect of being the MP for the area for 20 years or more. He and I both originate from Easington Colliery and I will follow his parliamentary career with interest - into my mid-90s or so!
Easington As Paradise
The area at Easington Colliery I lived in was known as "Paradise". In my early teens, my mates and I set up a football team which we called "Easington Paradise Rovers". I remember us beating another "Paradise" team called Richey's Rockets 20-10. I only managed a hat-trick from what used to be called inside-right. We must have matured to less gung-ho kick-abouts, for later we lost to a team from another part of the Colliery by 1-0; just the same as Sunderland did yesterday against Manchester United!
Grahame is a keen Sunderland fan, but I don't know whether his selection meeting was over in time for him to catch the Sunderland game on Setanta. If only his propensity for large victories in the political game could rub off into Roy Keane's team.
I have a problem for him to get his teeth into as soon as he is elected. Oak Road is close to where both I and my class mate Alec Richey (of Richey' Rockets) used to live. A survey has shown that residents of Oak Road are at a higher risk of obesity than at any place in the country.
In order that the area can live up to the title "Paradise" they now need to see changes in their lifestyle. Perhaps Alec Richey and I led the way via football as a participatory sport and not just a spectator sport.
There is, however, a more serious point here. The place where there is the least risk of obesity is St. Mary's Gate, Kensington and Chelsea. Life style differences are linked in with serious differences of wealth and social class. So if Grahame really wants to tackle the Oak Road problem, he only has one option - to struggle for the democratic socialist ideal of a classless society.
I will be with Grahame on that one, as well as his support for Sunderland's Paradise Rovers.