we hear that Mr Salter did not attend the general election count in Reading, nor was he around on election day. Nothing mysterious about that, I certainly did not attend the Reading count in 2005, the year I stood down, though I was still in Reading at the time, spectre at the feast and all that, and I did not campaign in Reading in that election either. We hear too that the leadership of the Labour Group did not attend the count either, you'd think they might have gone to give the candidates some support in penitence for having, in the East, suppressed the candidate from public view whenever they could, and, in the West, having selected the most embarrassing and certain-to-lose candidate they would find. But no. We are not told whether the chair of Reading Labour Party, Trish Thomas, was there. Perhaps someone who was present can enlighten me. We are told that some of the boys were there and that they sent up an ironic cheer at the result in Reading East. For which they ought to be expelled from the party. But back to Mr Salter. We hear that he left for Australia earlier than planned because his wife, who is already there, has a health problem. Well, maybe. But however you travel to Australia it takes 24 hours all told. And there is a slight jet-lag problem, which reduces personal productivity for most people for a day or two. And Mr S is not a seasoned traveller, never "jetting off" anywhere if he can help it, he has told us many times. And yet he managed to write his Telegraph blog on Friday. In which incidentally he told us that party members wanted "Blair" to go because of poor local election results in 2006. Which is utter nonsense, as I am sure Mr S knows. The local election results in Reading East were indeed very poor for Labour. Now that there is a Tory MP in Reading West the same is likely to ensue there. And Reading Labour can slide gratefully between the freshly laundered sheets of opposition. Where it has wanted to be all along.
So where was Mr S really? Blogging from his seat on a Qantas flight? I doubt it very much.