Very sad to hear of the death of Alan Keen, MP for Feltham and Heston, at the age of only 73. I agree with a correspondent, who described Alan as a "solid, quiet and pleasant Blairite MP" and not with the Filth which, haters that they are, have chosen his sadly early death to lambast his entire career and sneer at his memory. Bastards. And all of you, teachers and lecturers, Labour Party members, sitting in your comfortable rooms in leafy neighbourhoods and putting up resolutions to your GCs about what a wonderful place Cuba is, reading your Guardian and sneering likewise at a man who worked hard for his often low-paid and often Asian constituents, and who cared about football and about the Labour Party more than he did about Guardian readers, shame on you.
Paste the link above and you will see Alan in some very dubious company indeed. But most of he time he chose his friends and associates well. Not for him the showy, crowd-pleasing demagoguery beloved of some.
My favorite memory of Alan comes from 1999. During the summer and autumn of that year I was being savagely bullied by Martin Salter and by the then chair of Reading Labour Party, Mike Price, who made persistent late-night calls to me at home in Reading, in the case of Price while drunk. It wasn't an easy time, and while I didn't whine about it, Salter bragged that year around Westminster about the deselection he was organising in Reading East, and that the new candidate would be John Howarth. But that is long ago. Alan Keen got wind of it, and came up to me on the Terrace one day, while Salter and others were there, and while coincidentally I had in my hand one of several poison-pen letters I had received from Salter's ex-partner Christine Howell, who went in for these in between rather tedious suicide attempts. Alan tried to sit down at the table I was at, but Salter told him he wasn't welcome. Alan said later that he had hoped to be able to offer me some support against Salter's bullying. He and others in the Feltham and Heston Labour Party had been on the receiving end of it when Salter had made his unsuccessful attempt to be selected as the candidate there in 1992. The dirtiest campaign he had ever seen, I was told.
Alan Keen didn't go in for dirty play. I doubt that a man like him would get a look in in today's opposition-happy Mili-E Labour Party. More's the pity. I imagine his widow Ann will get the selection for the by-election, now that she has lost the neighbouring seat of Brentford and Isleworth to the Tories. Or, even worse, one of the Establishment offspring (what the French call contemptuously "fille de papa") such as Georgia Gould in memory of Dead Dad.
Rest in peace Alan. It's over for you now. But you are not gone so long as your friends remember you. Pity we can't count on that from the Labour Party.