Andrew Fisher, the Croydon resident who is policy adviser to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has said that his ranking as the ninth most influential figure on the left is “obviously nonsense”.
But as Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool this afternoon demonstrated, Fisher’s protestations may be overly modest.
Corbyn, re-elected Labour leader with a 61 per cent vote of members, affiliates and supporters, included in his speech a name check for Alison Butler, the deputy leader of Croydon Labour, and mentioned favourably the council’s recently formed house-building company.
There were at least four standing ovations in the hall for the Labour leader, as Corbyn spoke of “a fairer Britain in a peaceful world” in his hour-long key-note speech.
And some of the policy points raised in Corbyn’s speech – including building 500,000 council houses, re-nationalising the railways – appeared to have the hallmarks of Fisher’s… ahem… influence.
But Fisher is not one for the spotlight, and at the weekend, he essayed on social media his reasons for claiming not to be as influential as was outlined in a power list drawn up by Tory political commentator, Iain Dale, for LBC.
“What I object to is not my placing (though it’s obviously nonsense), but the whole post-West Wing romanticisation of this class of quasi-intellectual, hard-living, driven people, who are the real operators and philosophers, the supposed ‘brains’ or ‘fixers’ of the operation,” Fisher wrote, adding that such power lists are usually “entertaining [but] woefully ill-informed”.
Fisher, who has in the past written columns for this website, went on to explain: “If you have the privilege to work for someone who you admire and who is democratically elected, then you are there to serve someone, to support them in their role. Your influence and status are entirely derived from theirs. So me being No9 is not because I’m either influential or important, it’s because Jeremy is (and he is where he is because 330,000 people want him there).
“Mark Serwotka, my former boss, is ranked at No58 (up 12 places since last year – when I worked for him … so much for my influence). He is elected to represent a union of 200,000 members – and has regularly appeared across the media to articulate (incredibly well) the views of those on the left.
“I’ve met dozens of people who are inspired by people like Mark and Jeremy. I doubt anyone has ever said, ‘I’ve been inspired by Andrew Fisher’.
“So me, the one of the most influential people on Britain’s left? Pah, I’m not even one of the most influential people in my own life!”
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