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, August 09, 2006

Take the test

Thanks to the Guardian for listing the runners and riders for next Labour Deputy Leader http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1839411,00.html

Not an exhaustive list as I can think of a few others who are considering running, but an interesting one - Johnson, Hain, Harman, Straw.

I've tried to come up with a way of ranking them so I can decide who to vote for (and indeed anyone else that might be seeking my vote in future selections):

Section 1 - Ideological/Political Orientation

Q1) Are you a supporter of a) replacement of Trident, b) nuclear power, c) the State of Israel? (10 points for each yes)
Q2) Are you or have you ever been a member of CND, Compass, CLPD, the Campaign Group, Liberty/NCCL, PSC/LMEC, the Liberal Party? (minus 5 points for each yes)
Q3) Did you vote for Benn or Healey in the 1981 Deputy Leadership election? (10 points for Healey, 5 points for abstaining, minus 20 for Benn)
Q4) If you had been a Labour MP in the 1963 Leadership election would you have voted for George Brown, Harold Wilson or Jim Callaghan? (10 points for Brown, 8 points for Callaghan, minus 5 for Wilson)
Q5) Did you think the good guys in the Vietnam War were a) the Communist Viet Cong led by Stalinist dictator Ho Chi Minh or b) the US Marine Corps led by leftwing Democrats JFK and LBJ? (20 points for anyone unlikely enough to be saying b)
Q6) In which year did you first publicly call for the expulsion of Militant? (2 points for every year prior to 1985)
Q7) Who made the greater contribution to the history of the Labour Party, Nye Bevan or Ernie Bevin? (20 points for Bevin)
Q8) Did you support British involvement in the following conflicts: Falklands (1 pt), Gulf War (4 pts), Sierra Leone (1 pt), Kosovo (3 pts), Afghanistan (3 pts), Iraq War (10 pts)?

Section 2 - Organisational/Campaigning
Q1) How many members are there in your CLP? (1 point per 50 or part thereof)
Q2) How many electors did you personally canvass/voter ID in the 12 months before the last general election? (1 point per 500 or part thereof)
Q3) What was the difference between the swing in your own constituency and that in the wider region in 2005? (1 point for each 0.1% differential in Labour's favour, minus 1 point for each 0.1% worse than the regional average)

Assuming I won't get the candidates or their campaign teams actually posting responses, anyone out there who can work out the scores for the "Guardian 4"?


Blogger El Dave. said...

Did you support the privatisation of the railways?

Did you support the privatisation of the tube?

Did you vote for Ken Livingstone or Frank Field?

Do you support city academies?

Do you support rich people being allowed to teach their own curriculum, even if it includes creationism?

Are you concerned by the close relations between Tony Blair and a right wing, Republican president?

Would you describe yourself as pro- or anti- European or indifferent?

Where would you have stood in 1936-9 on supporting the republican side in the Spanish Civil War?

3:24 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger kris said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:29 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger kris said...

too many typos today...

Ah, re Q5, the "good guys" were neither the Viet Cong nor the "liberal leadership".

Those of us with fathers who had the misfortune of serving in that war, earning a DFC and PTSD and hung out to dry for their trouble, think the only "good guys" were those who actually went and naively believed that their service meant something.

3:35 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


Good questions. For the record my personal views on them:
- no, I didn't support rail privatisation
- yes, I did support the tube PPP
- I voted and campaigned for Frank Dobson and was slagged off on Panorama for doing so
- yes, I support city academies as long as they are non-selective and not affiliated to a particular religion (which is the model we have gone for in Hackney)
- no to creationism in the curriculum - personally I would remove religion from education completely - I'm opposed to faith schools per se - can't see how they can not balkanise multi-faith communities
- I think every UK PM has to have a good working relationship with every US President, obviously I would prefer though that Gore and then Kerry had been the person we had to deal with
- Pro European
- Pro-Republican in the Spanish Civil War(are there Labour supporters who would have backed Franco - I hope not?)

Do I get your vote? Oops, sorry, forgot these were Qs for the Guardian 4.

4:14 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger El Dave. said...

Wrt the Spanish Civil War, I meant would you have armed the Republicans?

4:17 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


4:21 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

Luke, why did you choose labour over the tories?

I think any tory given the chance would have accrued a massive points score on your question, assuming for the sake of argument that they were eligable to vote for Labour leader!

Seriously though, why is supporting the Iraq war so much more important than any of the other conflicts? anything to do with working for arms companies?

10:22 pm, August 09, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


I'm not sure I should dignify your question "Luke, why did you choose labour over the tories?" with a response, though if I was going to lapse into sectarianism I might ask "Tom, why did you choose Labour over the Lib Dems?" because the answer is not immediately apparent.

The serious answer is the same reason most people choose Labour - because they want a society based on equality, they want low unemployment, they detest poverty, they want properly funded public services and they are trade unionists. I've assumed that those are values that you, me and all the candidates for deputy leader share.

What might differentiate them is their position on the issues I've asked about where I think it's possible to argue that the left or radical position is that:
- Britain should have an interventionist foreign policy and the armed forces to implement it so that we can do progressive things like get rid of fascist or theocratic dictatorships, stop genocide in the Balkans and end the civil war in Sierra Leone, and we should be able to deter threats to our own population
- Britain should have civil nuclear power as an alternative to screwing up the environment with climate change causing fossil fuels
- Britain should support Israel, a tiny democracy founded by holocaust survivors, rather than the collection of depotisms and their terrorist front groups that want to commit genocide against the Jews

I gave Iraq more points because support for it is a benchmark of whether you have any understanding of the potential threats to the UK and any vision for the world beyond appeasing dictators.

I joined the Labour Party when you were 2 years old so I have the added perspective of actually having lived part of my adult life under a Tory government. If you had, you might have a more enlightened take on Blair's acheivements and the difference he has made to this country.

I doubt most Tories would have a clue what my questions were about, and quite a few of them are anti-nuclear and anti-Israel.

9:48 am, August 10, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

I am in favour of the second two (with certain qualifications on Israel: I wouldn't support any state without conditions to that support... conditions it is, in my view, currently violating).

I also believe in an interventionist foreign policy to get rid of the Mullahs etc, I just don't belive that a) military force is morally justified
b) that it is pragmatic; that it works.

We must rely on that old Labour right cncept of 'the inevitability of gradualness'.

can you imagine the result of a war on Iran? I reckon it would simply be that they would elect their own Ayatollahs.

Did you read this months' Fabian Review? I would probably describe myself as a 'neoprog'.

by the way, you can't seriously believe that Iraq was or is a threat to the UK? I think it was pretty lame then, and it's even lamer now.

You don't have to believe in appeasing dictators to be anti-war on Iraq (I supported all the other conflicts). The fact is that war on Iraq will simply leave it with either self selected Human Rights abusers, or a civil war, which is a lot worse than leaving it with Sadam. And the worst thing is that I along with so many others predicted entirely this state of affairs.

Old graffiti from the Berlin wall: 'One cannot make a culture from politics'.

sure, but we can encourage it to change over time, with a bit of cash and some knowledge.

12:42 pm, August 10, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Was Iraq a threat? I believe that had Saddam been left in power, within a few years he would have been able to re-start his WMD programmes (not space age technologies to acquire given that we developed nukes as long ago as the '40s, chemical weapons were used in WW1 and biological weapons are ... biological). The North Koreans are selling balistic missiles to anyone who will buy them, and continuously improving range and reliability. Put the 2 together plus a regime that had already shown willingness to use WMD (versus the Kurds & Iran) and you had a real threat to the UK downstream. I'm pleased we averted that. Remember that at the time everyone (including countries opposed to the war like France & Russia) believed that he already had WMD - indeed he said he did. You can't take a gamble with WMD because it only takes one WMD warhead to get through to Tel Aviv, London or Paris (or Manchester?) and you have hundreds of thousands of casualties.

1:06 pm, August 10, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

We have well and truly cocked up with Iraq. I honestly believe that the world is now a less safe place since we invaded. As well as the fact it has damaged us electorally.

6:15 am, August 12, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

I realise that you can't gamble with WMD, but it was pretty evident that
1) There weren't any in Iraq
2) That some people wanted there to be. badly. And that what they perceived as a humanitarian intervention would not wach with the electorate, so they were afraid to tell them the real reason.
3) It is hypocritical to declare war on Iraq, where the fact that they had no WMD was clear from the actions of the then Iraqi government, while pussyfooting like cowards around North Korea, who are blataly engaged in the act of building medium range nuclear weapons.

10:13 pm, August 13, 2006


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount