Marx on Monday: Tristram Hunt

As a journalist I’ve always believed it is important to write articles which are balanced and reflect everyone’s point of view. I always thought I had done this until an incident last week where I was practically threatened with violence by an aggrieved reader.

Last Friday I was expecting Ed Milliband and Ed Balls over for supper so I went to Fortnum and Masons to buy their favourite foods – Almas Caviar and Italian White Alba Truffles for Milliband;  Matsutake Mushrooms and Wagyu Steak for Balls. I was just adding their favourite drink to the basket – they both love Henri Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru – and I was just reaching for the last two bottles when I was pushed aside roughly by a man who snatched them up and put them in his basket.

“Do you mind?” I challenged him.

“Do you know who I am?” he snorted, turning to me with an air of importance.

I did know who he was, it was new shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, and he recognized me as well.

“Kevin Marx!” he shrieked, dropping his basket to the floor and grabbing me by the lapels, “I’ve got a bone to pick with you.”

Both bottles of wine smashed on the floor and I was saved from a beating by the store manager rushing over.

“I hope you’re going to pay for those,” he exclaimed.

“Of course I am,” Tristram frowned, “how much are they?”

“Ten thousand pounds a bottle,” the store manager informed him, “so for two bottles that makes twenty thousand pounds.”

The socialist shadow education minister pulled out his Coutts Bank cheque book and wrote out a cheque, annoyed by the store manager’s interruption. I was taking advantage of the distraction by sneaking off but Tristram saw me and dashed over, grabbing my shoulder and spinning me round to face him.

“What do you want?” I asked him.

“It’s about your article last week about Gove’s plans to reform GCSEs and A levels.”

“What of it?”

“You didn’t mention me in it,” he snorted, “or my plans to make education much better for the working class.”

“You mean like the people of Stoke,” I replied.

“Stoke?” he looked confused, “what has Stoke go to do with it?”

“Isn’t that your constituency?” I asked him.

“I think it might be,” he replied, “it definitely begins with an S.”

“But you should know your constituency,” I challenged him, “don’t you live there?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he snorted, “have you seen the place? I live in Hampstead.”

“But don’t you think it is important if you are a northern MP to live in the north?”

“Hampstead is in NW3.”

“I don’t mean North London,” I explained, “I mean the north of England. Have you ever been to Stoke?”

“Once or twice,” he replied, “it’s a long way from civilization.”

“And did you have any connections with Stoke before you became its MP?”

“None at all,” he conceded, “I’d never even heard of it.”

“So how come the people of Stoke selected you as their candidate?”

“They didn’t,” he confessed, “I was forced upon them by the National Executive Committee – the people of Stoke weren’t given a choice in the matter.”

“So how come you became their candidate?”

“I was walking on Hampstead Heath with my old friend Peter Mandelson one evening when he asked me if I fancied being the MP for Stoke.”

“And were the people of Stoke happy about that?”

“No they were furious,” he sniffed, “the secretary of the local party ran against me as an independent candidate.”

“But you won the election?”

“Easily,” he snorted, “with a majority of nearly 5,000.”

“So not as big as the previous Labour MP Mark Fisher’s majority of 20,000?” I asked.

“Fisher took the whole Stoke thing too far,” Tristram sniffed, “he lived in the constituency, sent his kids to local schools, things like that.”

“So what have you done for Stoke as their MP?”

“I’ve been fighting to keep the remains of Richard II there,” he replied.

“But weren’t they found in Leicester?” I looked confused.

“Same thing,” he replied, “they’re both grubby cities in the Midlands. Anyway, I’ve got no time for Stoke – all of my efforts are focused on my new role as shadow education minister. ”

“And what are your plans for education?”

“I want to get rid of all unqualified teachers,” he replied, “and stop Gove from ruining education for working class children.”

“Like his ludicrous plans to set up free schools?” I asked.

“No I’m in favour of free schools,” he replied.

“But I thought you described free schools in 2010 as vanity projects for yummy mummies?” I played Devil’s advocate.

“That was before I was shadow education minister,” he snapped, “I know much more about education now.”

“That’s right,” I agreed with him, “now that you’ve been in post for over six months you’re eminently qualified to tell headmasters with decades of frontline experience in education that they are not allowed to employ unqualified teachers.”

“That’s not my only experience in education,” Tristram replied, “I’ve spent many years teaching children myself.”

“As a qualified teacher?” I asked.

“No of course not,” he stammered, “which is why I taught children that Edward III defeated the French at the Battle of Crecy in 1419 when it was in fact 1346.  Whose side are you on Kevin?”

“I’m on the side of truth and justice,” I replied, “and on ensuring that our children receive the best education possible.”

“So am I,” he enthused, “especially the poor ones. How on earth can posh Tories like Cameron, Johnson and Gove know what it is like growing up poor?”

Is that something you know about?” I asked.

“Of course I do,” he replied, “I remember from when I was at school the broken limbs of the poor, the overcrowded tenements, the smog-laden skies and the callous factory owners who profited from their misery.”

“Was that from first-hand knowledge?” I asked.

“No my history teacher told us about it,” he conceded, “he read it out in class from a book by Engels.”

“You have often criticized the Tory elite for being out of touch posh boys,” I said, “including Michael Gove – but wasn’t his dad an Aberdeen based fish processor and didn’t his mum work as a lab assistant at the Aberdeen School for the Deaf?”

“Maybe,” he sniffed, “what of it?”

“And isn’t your dad Baron Hunt of Chesterton?”

“Your point being?”

“My point being that you are the posh boy Tristram,” I gave him both barrels, “not only are you the son of a Lord, you went to one of the poshest and most expensive schools in Britain and you’ve already put your three young children’s names down for it.”

“Well what do you expect,” he scoffed, “you don’t think I’d send my children to state school do you?”

“You need to do something to stop people seeing you as a Bollinger Bolshevik,” I replied, “and make them see you as a committed socialist.”

“Don’t worry,” he smiled, “I’ve got a plan.”

“What’s that,” I asked, “are you going to move to Stoke and send your children to the local state school?”

“Better than that,” he winked, “I’m going to change my name to Trevor.”

2 comments on “Marx on Monday: Tristram Hunt

  1. Roderick
    November 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Probably too close to the truth to be really satirical. No Spitting Image this.

    I do think that champagne socialists are given a ridiculously easy ride by the MSM, perhaps not surprisingly when many of the commentators therein share their privileged upbringing. The people of S-o-T are not stupid – though perhaps somewhat mindless when casting their votes – and deserve better.

  2. dr
    November 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Kev rights:
    “As a journalist…”
    Wow Kev. You is gotta job. I though you was gonna be on the dole 4ever. Have fun at it. Hope theirs not to many early mornings 4 u to get used to.

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