Austin's powers of oration

April 16, 2004

Austin Mitchell, MP for Great Grimsby, is a former politics lecturer who has been described by journalists as a "brilliant, witty but erratic small-screen Yorkshire Don Quixote and incurable iconoclast".

Addressing the annual dinner of the Political Studies Association last week, he reminded delegates of the old adage that good-looking political science students go into politics while the ugly ones teach it. He has been a member of the Labour Party since 1956 (he describes himself as "heritage Labour") and said: "I should have joined the SDP, then I could have ended up as an adviser in Downing Street - or vice-chancellor of Essex University." Ivor Crewe, the vice-chancellor in question, has so far refrained from retaliation.

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