Messy Business

Tie a yellow ribbon around an old, wooden joke

One of the surprises of Ed Miliband’s new shadow cabinet was the removal of Andy Burnham from the health brief – just as he was getting up a head of steam over the white paper.

Might have had something to do with one of the most laboured (sorry) gags ever heard during an address at the Labour Party Conference.

Andy said: “Nick [Clegg], if you don’t mind, a bit of advice: your tie doth protest too much. The yellower it gets, the more you look and sound like a Tory. That’s today’s Liberal Democrats: Tories in yellow ties.

“But I’m told the Lib Dems are happy with this new image. In fact, they’ve already picked a campaign song for the next election to promote it. It’s a remake of a classic love song based on the Tory tree logo. It’s called: ‘Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.’

“Now we all know Nick likes the spotlight. But, incredibly, he is planning to sing the key lines himself in a very personal appeal to his friend David: ‘So tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree, it’s been three long years, do ya still want me?’

“But, conference, this is a tear-jerker. Nick goes on to open up his heart about his fear of rejection on campaign trail: ‘If I don’t see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree – I’ll stay on the bus (he must mean his battle bus), forget about us, put the blame on me.’

“Make no mistake, Nick. If you and your MPs nod through the break-up of the NHS, we will put the blame on you.”

No wonder John Healey now finds himself with the health beat…

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