Have you ever noticed how hard Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol works when there’s a Labour election to fight?
No, neither has the SKWAWKBOX. In fact, it turns out that finding him around during an election campaign is like seeing both sides of a coin at the same time – very, very difficult.
In February, Labour faced not one but two critical by-election battles, following the resignation of two seat-fillers. Mr McNicol made a whistle-stop visit to Stoke, then leaped into the fray, all guns blazing – by going skiing in the French resort of Tignes:
He returned to the UK just before the crucial by-elections – but his contribution to the campaigns was a quick tweet on polling day to both candidates. From south-west London:
In the aftermath of the election results, as the media largely ignored Stoke in order to focus on the supposed significance of the Copeland loss to the Labour Party, McNicol was in the thick of it in, defending the party’s reputation and its leader against nonsensical speculation.
Well, kind of. None of his sum-total of five tweets in the week following the election even mentioned the by-elections. His breakfast did, though:
One of the others makes you wonder just what he puts in his pancake mix:
Then in March, as Labour geared up for another vital by-election in Manchester after the sad death of Gerald Kaufman and a large number of local government elections, as well as facing a huge scandal because of Labour’s breach of the DPA by providing member data to Unite candidate Gerard Coyne, McNicol was going off on his travels again.
The first was on a jaunt to Israel, courtesy the LFI (Labour Friends of Israel) group that was recently at the centre of a still-uninvestigated controversy when an Israeli embassy official boasted of setting up groups inside the Labour party, including an LFI youth section:
The second, as the SKWAWKBOX can exclusively reveal, is a two-week holiday trip to Vietnam that he’s still on at the moment – which might explain why his Twitter account has all of six quick retweets for the whole of April so far. His snaps from that have not yet made their way onto Facebook as far as we know, but a source at Labour HQ told this blog:
He went straight to leave from Israel – guest of LFI. He hasn’t visited any of the Mayorals or local government election seats. He missed the local election launch and has no plans in his diary to go to the West Midlands!
The SKWAWKBOX wishes Mr McNicol a nice holiday and a safe eventual return. It also wishes for a General Secretary who isn’t somewhere else every time there’s a vital battle, but we may have to wait a while for that.
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