In the olden days when the labour party wanted people to notice what it was doing we invited the press to the opening of a matchbox.
In those far off days when I was a parliamentary candidate the visit of any old back bencher was an opportunity for the press to photograph some unknown old codger sitting outside Charles Street with me,an unknown young codger,mugging to camera!
How times have changed.
A couple of weeks Northampton South Labour Party had a visit from a cabinet minister-the iconic Hazel Blears(memorably described by Ann Treneman in The Times as the 'Duracell bunny') visited to town to support the almost newly selected (well about six months ago) invisible PPC.
Strangely the visit went unreported, no press,no photographs,no radio,no TV- just a deafening silence and an empty Hazel sized space where the cabinet minister should have been.
There are a number of explanations:
1.The Party are embarrassed by Hazel-that little packet of dynamite.
2.The party are embarrassed by their PPC-maybe he is especially ugly or wants to keep a low profile.
3.The Party are embarrassed that it couldn't afford to use the Labour Club and had to find a cheaper venue.
4.Northampton South has ticked the no publicity box.
Of course it is just possible that the combination of the eccentric cabinet minister and the monklike candidate is a step too far even for Northampton to contemplate.but it does raise the question- what on earth are they afraid of?
We are told that Haze met with a delegation of Post Office workers who were there to raise the issue of why the government wants to destroy the post Office as a public service and if it is true that the secretive PPC arranged that meeting one might have thought that he would have been pleased to publicise his role.
But maybe he's frightened of Trade Unions too!
One has to aeeume that if barack Obama turned up for ameeting in Northampton then Labour's PPC would turn up with a paper bag on his head.
There again its possible that the local party has been duped and they have selected a hologram-the ultimate New Labour creature!