by Chris Bertram on September 19, 2003

A new Labour (but definitely _not_ New Labour) ginger group has been launched, by the name of Compass. It looks interesting and some good people are involved.



Richard 09.19.03 at 12:05 pm

Ginger group?

I’ve honestly never heard the term before…


dsquared 09.19.03 at 12:21 pm

Am I being shockingly naive in asking what you get if you join? There’s a “Join Us” form asking for thirty quid (I can only join as an “Associate Member”), but no details of my badge with real swivelling eyes, secret code words, handy plastic wallet, Gnasher’s Fang Club identity card etc. Do I get to describe myself as a member of the “influential Compass Group” in my correspondence (which looks like a bit of a bargain for thirty quid, as well as a massive hostage to fortune for them)? Or do I just get the odd invitation to a drinks party with a middle-ranking backbencher making a speech (in which case thirty quid looks like a bit of a racket and we should consider starting one of our own)?

Have to agree that the membership list looks pretty strong though.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden 09.19.03 at 1:09 pm

Redheads? Chinese cooks? I’ve never heard the term either, and I confess I’m still a little baffled by it.


dsquared 09.19.03 at 1:42 pm


Chris 09.19.03 at 1:45 pm


d. attrib. or as adj. Applied to a group, person, etc., which provides the ‘ginger’, spirit, or stimulus of a party or movement; esp. in ginger group.


Richard 09.19.03 at 2:03 pm

Ah, like the piece of ginger up the horse’s bum trick.


dsquared 09.19.03 at 2:11 pm

The what?


Richard 09.19.03 at 2:40 pm

I believe, although perhaps embarrassingly I get this from Terry Pratchett, that a favourite pasttime of young scallywags during pre-internal combustion engine days was to put a piece of ginger up a very personal spot of the horse, and watch it react.


Sven 09.19.03 at 3:38 pm

FEAGUE – To feague a horse; to put ginger up a horse’s fundament and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well. It is said that a forfeit is incurred by any horse-dealer’s servant who shall ‘shew’ a horse without first feaguing him. Feague is used, figuratively, for encouraging or spiriting one up.


Walt Pohl 09.19.03 at 5:08 pm

That’s bizarre, since “ginger” in the sense of “gingerly” has almost the opposite meaning.


Henry 09.19.03 at 5:53 pm

I can personally vouch for Colin Crouch, who I suspect was responsible for the bit on capitalism and economic policy. He’s not only a Sound Bloke, but full of good ideas to boot. But then, he was co-supervisor of my Ph.D. dissertation for all intents and purposes, so I would say that, wouldn’t I.


Nabakov 09.22.03 at 2:53 pm

And best of british to anyone approaching Blair’s fundament with an oriental herb in hand.

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