Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Dark Arts: second in an occasional series

I said before that I might blog again on tricks I haven't learn. I realised I should when I recalled just the other day a story I had heard about an act of legerdemain in the Labour party, long before Mandelson or Alistair Campbell were on the scene.

The way I heard it is this: the local party was having one of its constituency meetings at which a member called to see the constitution. It wasn't available. At the next meeting, also, it still wasn't available. At first, the comrades imagined their secretary was simply forgetful - he was not regarded highly, I hear, for his intellect; after a few occasions, they imagined he was being truculent. Which meant the demands for a copy of the constitution were all the more insistent.

Eventually, victory. The red-letter day came, or rather red-constitution day: the secretary came to the executive with copies of the notorious constitution, printed on paper of the party's (then) hue. He warned members sternly that the constitution should not be circulated more widely. Which meant that more than one rushed away to photocopy the sheets -- only to find that black type on red paper doesn't show up on a photocopy. The simple secretary had outwitted them.

Not one we in our party could emulate, of course. But what I can say is that I know that 'simple secretary' has proven a longer player in politics than the people who opposed him.

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