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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Whips get their act together

At last the Labour Whips in Parliament seem to be setting some minimum standards of discipline, solidarity and comradeliness.

Alan Simpson MP is "is being disciplined for comparing Downing Street under Mr Blair to Franco's Fascist regime and dismissing his replacement by Mr Brown as being like Saddam Hussein being replaced by his notorious son Uday" according to the Independent today: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1093527.ece

Maybe the whips could also start explaining that it isn't acceptable for Labour MPs to vote against the Government on a 3-line whip and punishing those that do.

Back in the '50s when standards of discipline were higher people of the stature of Nye Bevan and Michael Foot were routinely kicked out of the PLP for a few months to remind them to obey the PLP's standing orders. One aspect of "Old Labour" that should be brought back.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blame Nick Brown. He thought it was better to slag Marshall Andrews off in the press than force him to vote Labour. Makes it legally extremely difficult to discipline people now.

1:30 pm, June 21, 2006

 
Blogger A soft socialist said...

My take on it is this. I get extremely pissed off when our constituency spends a year slogging their guts out to get good labour councillors elected and carry on the real improvements that labour is making to some of Manchester's poorest communities. Only for idiots like John McDonnell to sound off in the press.

On the other hand, MP for Manchester Central Tony Lloyd voted against education paper, top up fees e.t.c. What he says is that hes doing what is best for the working people in his constituency.

And if MPs honestly believe that then they have a right to vote against the Government. But what he doesn't do is slag off new labour in the press all the time.

1:49 pm, June 21, 2006

 
Blogger El Tom said...

yeah, I think it's fine to be critical, but there is a line.

Broad church, but one faith.

11:46 pm, June 21, 2006

 
Blogger El Tom said...

all sounds uncomfortably vangaurdist though...

I think the fact that labourites can differ in public is what sets us apart from the SWPers. that said, disagreement should remain respectful in nature, and concentrate on the issues.

11:49 pm, June 21, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

IMO Alan Simpson is one of the best MPs Labour has. I really hope he can fight back against the whips and the authoritian leadership.

1:24 pm, June 22, 2006

 
Blogger Welsh Spin said...

The trouble is that for many of the headbangers this is exactly the kind of martyrdom they seek ...

One problem is that there is no really effective sanction available against the discontented, dispossesed and those whose primary ambition is to achieve publicity for its own sake. Rule changes introduced to protect mainstream MPs against the hard left and entryist groups have made it virtually impossible for a CLP to deselect its sitting member (as Luke surely knows since I believe his MP is one Dianne Abbott) and any serious action by the whips simply gives the troublemaker the oxygen of publicity that they are seeking.

3:38 pm, June 22, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

welsh spin, please! So now if someone doesn't 100% agree with the Blair, he's just a media whore attention seekers, right?
Many of them are hard working constituency MP.

And btw, no-one noticed what AS said before Jacqui Smith did what she did.

Speaking of media attention seekers, is Meg Hillier having deep political discussions with Mark Oaten in the gym of "The Body Politics" (or whatever is called)?

5:47 pm, June 22, 2006

 
Blogger A soft socialist said...

Alan Simpson is a good bloke who always speaks his mind. I don't see why his constituency would want to deselect him. In fact, I imagine he is quite popular.

10:54 pm, June 22, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't elect Labour MPs to "have a mind of their own" - I elect them to change the country. If they want to be media commentators they should get a job on the telly.

10:54 am, June 23, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The point is that if they have a difference of opinion they should raise it in the PLP then accept the collective decision of the PLP - which is what the whip is based on - by going into the division lobbies with their comrades not against them. That's basic solidarity and discipline - the same values that mean you would expect a trade unionist who voted against a strike still to join the strike if a majority wanted one.

11:25 am, June 23, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"That's basic solidarity and discipline"

like blairite MPs booing Glenda Jackson and Bob Marshall Andrews at one PLP meeting?

"the same values that mean you would expect a trade unionist who voted against a strike still to join the strike if a majority wanted one. "

well, I think if someone vote against a strike, he/she has the right to go to work.

11:30 am, June 23, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I was brought up to think that someone who went to work during a strike was a scab. I feel the same about people that break the whip. Having been on the receiving end of Glenda's spite on national TV back during the Dobson vs Livingstone battle I think if anyone in the PLP deserves to be booed she does. As for Bob Marshall-Andrews, the man was openly confering with Tories during a recent vote - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Marshall-Andrews
The bulk of the PLP who just get on with their job and don't grandstand and hawk their consciences round the TV studios are understandably incandescent with rage about these people - hence the booing.

11:51 am, June 23, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"As for Bob Marshall-Andrews, the man was openly confering with Tories during a recent vote -"

is speaking to tories not allowed anymore?

"The bulk of the PLP who just get on with their job and don't grandstand and hawk their consciences round the TV studios are understandably incandescent with rage about these people "

A good read (by Paul Flynn) about a PLP meeting
http://www.paulflynnmp.co.uk/commonsdetail.jsp?id=1096

12:00 pm, June 23, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

Anyway, Alan Simpson seems to have got the backing of his local CLP yesterday night:
http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=133965&command=displayContent&sourceNode=133948&contentPK=14743464&moduleName=InternalSearch&formname=sidebarsearch

Christine Shawcroft said they didn't get Jacquie Smith's letter and if they get it, they'll invite Smith to Nottingham to discuss her concerns.

1:00 pm, June 23, 2006

 
Blogger A soft socialist said...

I agree BMA is a horrendous character. A serial rebel more interested in his own ego than the party.

11:08 pm, June 23, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

BMA thought he was going to lose his seat in 2001 but he was returned, he thought he has lost in 2005, but he was returned.....it seems that the good people of Medway continue to ruin his plans (and that Medway Labour has one of the worst canvassing teams in the country).

I once wrote him an angry email (after the fag/faccio incident), but he never replied.

11:10 am, June 24, 2006

 
Blogger A soft socialist said...

He constantly gets bailed out by the region because they don't want to lose a marginal seat.

12:16 pm, June 24, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One MP who should be dealt with is Kate Hoey, who as chair of the 'Countryside Alliance' heads an organisation that is directly implicated in helping the Tories to oust Labour MPs from their seats in 2005 and is planning a bigger move at the next election on behalf of Cameron.
How her CLP put up with this odious bloodsports fanatic is beyond me.http://everywhere.en-gb.pledgebank.com/Hoeymustgo

8:01 am, June 25, 2006

 
Blogger A soft socialist said...

Have you contacted her CLP to see why this is the case?

10:04 pm, June 25, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Friends in Lambeth tell me Hoey is not popular in Vauxhall CLP. The current trigger ballot system makes it very difficult to remove a sitting MP as most unions are instructed at a national level to always vote in favour of sitting members.

9:04 am, June 26, 2006

 
Blogger El Tom said...

I was brought up to believe that people that shove their legislation through on Tory votes was a scab.

that could have been made appealing to the whole party, instead.

where's the solidarity there?

we could do this all day. let's all rise abover this juvenile banter and get down to the policy.

'we are listening.' we give you... more of the same!

3:56 pm, June 26, 2006

 

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