A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Away day to Bromley

My political activity for the weekend was to go with a team of canvassing addicts from Hackney to help campaign for Rachel Reeves in the Bromley & Chislehurst parliamentary by-election http://www.rachel4bromley.org.uk/index.php?id=3673

It's a fairly safe Tory seat but the sun was shining and it felt good to be doing something constructive and the LDs seem stuck in third place behind us.

In contrast upwards of a 1,000 alleged Labour "activists" spent their weekend slagging off their own government at the Compass anti-Blair rally - http://www.compassonline.org.uk/ - or at least that's how the press and the Compass leadership have spun it - friends who went (yes I do have a politically ecletic mix of friends) say in fact many delegates were not anti-Blair.


Anonymous Jon Worth said...

I was at the Compass event and spent no time slagging off the government.

Further, I think it is very healthy that you can manage to get 1000 people together to debate all kinds of issues that are vital to the future of the Labour Party. Being active in party politics is both about campaigning and debating the issues - I did more than my fair share in Lambeth for the local elections, and hence for me personally, debating the issues for a day is far more useful than campaigning in a Tory seat.

6:56 pm, June 19, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

But isn't it a bit difficult to meaningfully debate the future of the Labour Party at a gathering that excludes the Blairites, the Old Labour right and the hard left? Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do most of my debating of the future of the Labour Party at Labour Party meetings ... I just found it a bit ironic that so much energy and time has gone into organising an event which has resulted in a lot of negative media coverage for the party whose future it was discussing.

9:24 am, June 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

P.S. there is still one weekend to go in Bromley so I would encourage you to go and help.

9:40 am, June 20, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

I agree with Jon, we are going to get our arse kicked. It sounds like there was a fairly wide range of people. Whats Hazel Blears if not a blairite? Whats Derek Simpson and Michael Meacher if not hard left?

11:15 am, June 20, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

more to the point, I'd argue that compass in particular has as little faith in the current democratic structures of labour as most of us had with regard to the block vote.

debating policy at a labour level, as an internal group is all too often fruitless, unless you are serious insiders like the fabians or Progress, or to a lesser extent IPPR.

They'll listen, if it's what they want to hear.

by the way, the old labour right is quite excepted; Hattersley, for one, sings our praises. And it goes further.

As you will also have gathered from the 'remove the monarchy' question and the CND people that were present, there is a small contingent of old Labour in Compass, but I think they are more there out of trying to persuade us than to agree and nod...

but enough of old Labour right and left. thats history, and quite rightly. And I used to define as a bennite... *weeps*

6:54 pm, June 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The trouble is - as Marx said (wow my first Marx quote on this blog) “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” - and we are in grave danger of repeating the history of the early 80s, with Compass playing the fellow-traveller role to the hard left that the LCC did to the Bennites in the Rank and File Mobilising Committee.

Roy Hattersley may have been a traditional right-winger once, now he is just bitter and disloyal.

11:24 am, June 21, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

There is no problem with compass. Half of them are new labour supporting Brownites. All this business about a hard left old labour coup is ridiculous. I mean Neal Lawson was one of Brown';s advisors for goodness sake.

11:59 am, June 21, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Why are they co-operating with Michael Meacher and Save The Labour Party then?

12:16 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Its called a broad church. They range from Brownites who feel that TB has wasted too much of his mandate all the way over to hard left socialists. To have a proper debate you need a wide range of views. As long as new labour win the argument through pragmatism and steadfast principle, it'll all be good.

12:52 pm, June 21, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"It's a fairly safe Tory seat but the sun was shining and it felt good to be doing something constructive and the LDs seem stuck in third place behind us."

Probably the Libdems will pass Labour to get second place in the by-election...they've to show Ming is "alive" and not totally useless.
The fact that the first version of Rachel Reeves' website spelled the constituency name wrongly doesn't probably help Labour and show the efforts of the party in the by-election.

"In contrast upwards of a 1,000 alleged Labour "activists" spent their weekend slagging off their own government at the Compass anti-Blair rally - "

A thought as an "outsider"....the Left has always been highly criticial of Blair and their dislike has been very vocal....the blairites don't seem to have a different attitude now towards the left (this blog could be a good example...the majority of entries are anti-Labour Left).....so in the end won't any of you realize that the "enemy" is outside (aka the tories)?
It seems you're too much devoted to fight each other in some moments.

On the "rebels" front....being quite left wing, I agree with them more than with Blair....but I can accept that there's a tipping point for everything (including being rebellious and critical). Dissents and critics could actually be helpful....the leadership seems not to be willing to listen so much in the end and some rebels are too aggressive....so in the end couldn't the rebels becoming less aggressive (in some cases unpolite)* and the leadership trying to listen to their concerns a bit more?

* same Blairites should calm down too.

2:11 pm, June 22, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

The labour 'rebellious' left help us to keep our core support.

11:06 pm, June 23, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

that's a bit cynical adele... what about what's right?

Oh, btw andrea, I couldn't have said it better myself.

3:58 pm, June 26, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Whats right doesn't always come into it. Fact is, if we stuck a blairite in Manchester Central the vote would go way down.

5:38 pm, June 26, 2006


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