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.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Let's see how much support the "left" has really got

I do hope Clare Short carries out her petulent threat that the left will stand in the Labour leadership contest, in protest at Brown's commonsense stance on Trident:


Then we will be able to expose exactly how marginal their support is amongst ordinary Labour members and trade unionists.

My hunch is that a left candidate for leader would do about as well as Heffer did in 1983 (6%) or Benn in in 1988 (11%) - http://www.election.demon.co.uk/lableader.html

By the way, on checking the '83 result I've realised that my post below incorrectly names Meacher as the Bennite candidate for Leader then - in fact he ran for Deputy.


Blogger A soft socialist said...

I think the left could possibly win the vote of the membership if they run someone suitably sensible.

10:39 am, June 23, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

Clare Short has always backed the loser in every leadership and deputy leadership contest she took part. So it's good for Gordon not to have her support.

10:42 am, June 23, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Adele I really doubt that. First off, the recent Yougov poll showed 54% of members self define as "slightly left of centre" or "centre" - secondly even those to the left of that can see Brown is a credible future PM and hopefully general election winner in a way that no one to the left of him is. Blair got over 60% of the members' votes in 1994 against Beckett & Prescott and the relative balance of opinion has if anything shifted further to the right as leftwingers have quit the party and been replaced by younger moderates. My MP Diane Abbott has commented at a party meeting that most of the new young activists coming into the party are moderates.

My hunch is that Brown's current rash of policy clarifications are designed to reassure Blairites so that Alan Johnson concentrates on a strong run for Deputy Leader rather than Leader.

11:21 am, June 23, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Just as an aside I think alan johnson shud run. He'd get the centrist vote as well as sum of the left due to his trade union background. I'd vote 4 him over Gordon any day.

1:25 pm, June 23, 2006

Blogger noel said...


The possibility of nuclear war and the end of humanity?

Hmmm… not too mention billions more wasted on war which could go to hospitals, schools and er, you know the important things…

keep it up Luke, with drones like you we know the countries safe from saddam/osama/hitler/little ted or whoever else we're gonna use those nuclear weapons against, and hey with that red face maybe a little radiation sickness will sort you're complexion out too!


Yeah, vote Labour vote war!

11:27 am, June 27, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I love the way that people online seems to think chucking in a few insults about their antagonists' physical appearance is a good way to win an argument - in this case the fact that I have "a red face"... ginger hair, glasses and being short should all be fair game too. The point about a deterrent is that it never gets used.

12:02 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger noel said...

oh Luke I don't care about you're ginger hair, the red face is obviously because you're unconscious is deeply embarrassed at your intellects attempt to spin the unspinnable.

I do however care about you're complete lack of regard for the safety of humanity, and the fact that precious resources get wasted on 'deterrents' maybe you'd like to address those questions hey?

A recent parliamentary answer revealed that we are spending £2.8 million per day on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year we spent £1.1 billion on Iraq and £220 million on Afghanistan. Total costs of the war so far, including this year's spending projection to £5.6 billion in both countries.

By far the lion's share of this has gone on Iraq, where in the past four years we have burned £4.2 billion.

Plus if that wasn't bad enough, there's the £26 billion the government are planning to spend on Trident

Instead of Trident we could:

spend more on health

pay every nurse in Britain an extra £1000
every year for the next 26 years


spend more on education

put £1000 extra money into every classroom in Britain every year for the next 26 years

So please do explain to me as a worker in education who I presume the 'Labour' party was set up to help, how exactly you are helping me, I mean it's not as if you're trying to hold down my wages, make me work longer for a worthless pension, so you can pay for all the death and destruction, now is it?

1:43 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I can understand (though not agree with) people who say we should not have gone to Iraq in the first place but are you seriously suggesting it would be morally justifiable to pull UK troops out of either country now? In both cases they are peace-keeping rather than war-fighting and in both cases the country concerned lacks the police or army of its own to stop a slide into anarchy/civil war. UK forces in Iraq are there as part with a mandate from the United Nations, set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1637, which extended the mandate of the Multi-National Force in Iraq (MNF-I) until 31 December 2006. This was at the formal request of the Iraqi Government. In Afghanistan the ISAF is there under UN resolutions and basically working for the Afghan government. A good background explanation of the concept of detterence is here: http://www.rusi.org/downloads/pub_j/Willett.pdf

Spending on defence isn't a rival to spending on health or education. Like paying for a policeforce it creates the secure country you need before you can invest in domestic issues.

2:20 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger noel said...

In both cases they are peace-keeping rather than war-fighting and in both cases the country concerned lacks the police or army of its own to stop a slide into anarchy/civil war.

Oh, Luke do really believe such drivel? Do you have even the slightest understanding of capitalism and imperialism? Do you not care about the deaths caused by your party? Do you not care that your leader is a liar and a war criminal? Do you not care about the blood on your hands?

and as for…

Spending on defence isn't a rival to spending on health or education.

Oh yes it is! There's only one amount of wealth made in this country, a war abroad is a war on us at home, please tell me, why is it that we (that's in those of us that do the work) are told. for instance, there 'isn't enough money' for public services so they must be privatised but hey, hang on there's plenty of money to destroy other countries!

Try reading this iraqi woman's thoughts before you get back to us with your Labour stepford wives type talk…


Thank god Hackney has such a fine warmonger and apologist for imperialism to represent us, and I'm also wondering is that Police force that we also have to pay for before we can have hospitals and schools also the ones that makes us all feel so secure by murdering innocent people on tubes? Raiding innocent eastenders houses and gunning down in cold blood (and getting away with it) innocent hackney residents like Harry Stanley?

NOLS obviously taught you well! You seem to have no soul like the rest of 'em.

2:39 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger noel said...

…and before you start wittering on about my being a leftie, remember on Iraq and public services I'm in the majority, not you, only 21% of the 44 million electorate supported Labour in the last election - a record low in British electoral history.

2:43 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yes but we won. If you are in the majority why didn't you prove it by kicking Labour out in the General Election? If there is one thing NOLS taught me it was to have utter, searing contempt for people who pepper their views on foreign policy with 19th century drivel about "capitalism and imperialism" or talk about "blood on the hands" of supporters of the West and its liberal, democratic values whilst categorising some of the world's most ghastly dictatorships and bloody revolutions as positive developments. Oh and by the way I support Israel as well ... just to give you something else to hate.

2:53 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger noel said...

Come on Luke, what economic system do we live under? What have warmongers like Geoff Hoon and Bliar called what they do but a new imperial mission…I'm sorry but I live in the 21C and ignoring questions you can't answer isn't very impressive

I never said I supported 'ghastly dictatorships and bloody revolutions' but you obviously don't mind hanging onto the coat tails of the world's biggest bullys and murderers so your support of Israel is consistent with blinkered attitude to oppression and murder.

Why exactly are you in the Labour party? What care do you have for Social Justice, Peace or Working people? Oh, yeah I forgot everyone that goes through NOLS is nothing but a naked careerist who only stops kissing your picture of Mr.Bliar long enough to stab the next 'comrade' in the back to climb higher up the ladder.

But hey you won! Woo-hoo! Oh happy day…nothing else matters to you does it? Funny how Blairites reveal their innermost desires in off the cuff statements…

11:12 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger Bob Piper said...

For nobody's benefit in particular, can I say that I'm deeply embarrassed to be associated with Luke's views. On the occupation, the left within his own party, Israel, and defence spending. How anyone can straight-faced deny as link between social spending and defence spending, as if in some way there are seperately defined pots of money, is beyond me. Our Party Leader is according to the opinion polls, just 1% more popular with the people than Thatcher at the time of the poll tax riots. The Deputy Leader has been involved in sexual conduct which would have seen him dismissed from any post in the ODPM... apart from the position of DPM apparently. If you cannot see the croneyism and deeply entrenched sleaze at the highest levels in Government, then go back to Hackney and prepare for another 17 years in opposition, because that is where these people are taking our party. But no doubt, when that happens, the right will drag out all of the usual excuses... and blame the left for their own abject failures.

10:24 pm, June 28, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

I'll try not to rant for too long.

Its was probably my once very pro Israel stance that led me to support the Iraq war. I then thought, bloody hell we are making a right hash of this. However, as Luke says we need to stay in until the job is done and stand in solidarity with the trade unions in Iraq.

Like Luke says yeah I oppose the massive hypocrisy of the anti war left that associate themselves with some of the most brutal, vicious, murderous regimes abroad all in the name of anti imperialism.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have been a big supporter of Israel and much of what it stands for. However after they advanced into Gaza last night and put that country through hell and why because they are a democracy and Hamas are a bunch of militants. Don't give me that crap. Also a mate of a mate was shot by the IDF totally indiscriminately.

11:07 pm, June 28, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Oh yeah and everyone that goes though NOLS is a naked careerist. For fucks sake. Yeah, thats why we opposed the Government on top up fees and still do. Thats why we are going to give them hell over lufting the cap.

Its just students that are labour party members. I'm not new or old labour. Just labour.

11:12 pm, June 28, 2006

Blogger noel said...


andrew pakes/douglas trainer do a deal to make sure the newly elected Labour government can get NUS support in '97 (or should we say lack of opposition) for tuition fees against the elected manifesto policy only a few weeks before…

NOLS ever since never calling for real action for free education, no that's not 'reality' anymore…so now we have top up fees on top of tution fees and loans…so students I teach need to work full time in call centres to afford to do a degree at the same time…

NOLS in the recent lecturer's dispute (I'm a lecturer) supposed 'support' from Kat Fletcher et al, but only till thing get a bit 'hot' so when it comes to the crunch the TUC and Brendan Barber sell us out to save Gordon Brown's skin

fuck 'em, fuck the lot of 'em

if your a decent leftie and not out of the Labour party by now then what the hell are you hanging around for?

You do nothing, *NOTHING* for working class people, start illegal wars, privatise things the tories could only dream of, make the gap between the rich and poor bigger, don't help trade unions (in fact call them 'fascists' as you did the firefighters), cut benefit for single mums and the disabled, attempt to criminalise young kids with nothing to do through ASBO's and do the unthinkable make the dead in the water Tories actually electable again etc…etc…

hmmm…some record to be proud of…

1:26 am, June 29, 2006

Blogger noel said...

Like Luke says yeah I oppose the massive hypocrisy of the anti war left that associate themselves with some of the most brutal, vicious, murderous regimes abroad all in the name of anti imperialism.

I'm sorry Adele but what are you on about?

Who has the biggest army in the world?
Who has used nuclear weapons against civilians?
Who has spent the last century bleeding dry the resouces of africa and asia for their own ends?
Who maintains the most brutal and vicious regime in the middle east?
Who props up dictatorships around the world in their interests?
Who are the biggest arms dealers in the world?

The MOST BRUTAL AND VICIOUS regime in the world is the US and it used to be Britain…

get a grip…please…

1:33 am, June 29, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Right you quite clearly read nothing that I actualy said about Israel.

The USA, is a democratic country where its citizens enjoy both freedom and rule of law. If you think it is a brutal and vicious regime then you are being paranoid.

Just as an add on. Do you expect the UK not to have a positive relationahip with the US. It is the most powerful economy in the world.

It is not a regime but a democratically elected Government. Something that the people of Iraq now have.

10:12 am, June 29, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

What on earth are you on about.

NOLS are not affiliated to the Labour Party. We support the Government because after 18 years in opposition and not being able to influence anything we saw a chance to make a difference.

And yes we did oppose top up fees and still do. I seem to remember the Government came to within 3 votes of defeat.

Well I disagree fundamentally with top up fees because I think it ounishes working class kids. However, you can have your free education. I was proud of the moment when NOLS had the courage to stand up and argue for targeted grants. Why should someone on minimum wage contribute the same to their education as someone that went to Eton??

Why did I join the labour party. Because I saw it as our best hope of a better society and I still believe that today. I'm not happy with the direction some things have taken. However, go into some communities in Manchester like Wythenshawe, Harpurhey. See, sure start, see the rfegeneration, see what the labour council has done to give hope to that city.

What people like you wanted to do with the labour party would have kept us out of power for another 18 years and I'm glad we never went down that root.

Oh and as a lecturer. Your hardly 'working class'.

10:22 am, June 29, 2006

Blogger noel said...


I'm not talking about top-up fee I'm talking about tution fees, remember pre-97 election promises do you? (I'll give you a clue 'no tution fees with labour')

And yes as a lecturer I am working class, you obviously have little idea of what working in education is like.

I work for money-class isn't about wearing cloth caps and working down mines- and not much money at that and you lot have just made sure that isn't gonna get any better as you want a two-tier education system and us public sector workers will just have to not be greedy and ask for more won't we? I mean Gordon's told us, because there's a few wars that need funding…

You don't need targeted grants if you tax the rich (yeah remember them, Tony likes 'em) then people on minimum wage could actually go to college…

11:41 am, June 29, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

I would imagine that in order to give more kids the opportunity to go to university then some people will have to pay for their education. NB if your parents don't earn enough then you dont have to pay those fees.

Well, I supported the lecturers over their claims for better pay but I'd give nurses, teachers, doctors a pay rise any day. Lecturers are not working class, they are not on the poverty line. There are so many other public sector workers that are more deserving of a pay rise.

In terms of what Gordon has said. We can't let the public sector get so bloated or we fail the people we are trying to help and unemployment will start to escalate.

12:00 pm, June 29, 2006

Anonymous Julio Pipee said...

Ooh thank God I don't have to sit in a closet with you lot! You'd do my head in!

6:27 pm, June 29, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Bob Piper - if you are "deeply embarrassed to be associated" with my views you must find it a joy to have Labour First stalwarts John Spellar as your MP and Bill Thomas as your council leader.

11:21 am, June 30, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Bill Thomas who is running for the NEC this year

2:46 pm, June 30, 2006

Blogger kris said...

When you guys finally put your handbags down, you will come to realise that Tony Blair is the one and only reason for the mass conversion to labour.

The day you get rid of Tony will be the beginning of the House of Cameron.

Double or nothing on the latte & doughnut Luke?

3:09 pm, June 30, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yep double or quits.

3:12 pm, June 30, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Well Blair is losing us support at the moment so I very much doubt the comment kris has just made.

6:25 pm, June 30, 2006


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