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, September 08, 2006

Apocalypse Now Part 3

So how have this week's events played with local Labour members outside the Westminster beltway?

I went to two ward party meetings last night - my own to give my councillor's report, then on to another for a wine & cheese evening (it being Stoke Newington).

There were a total of about 20 members at the two, and a good mix of ages, ethnicities, genders, political orientations and active/less active members (NB this is not to show how diverse we are but that it was a reasonably representative sample).

At Chatham Ward where I am a councillor we passed a resolution for conference about social housing then discussed how to get young people locally benefits from the Olympics, the shortage of local boys' secondary school places, the decision making structure of Team Hackney, our Local Strategic Partnership, whether to take collections at the end of our meetings, and at some length the logistics of next year's Labour book stall and tombola at the St John's Church Fete. The Chair (re-elected last year after explicitly saying he was "a supporter of Tony Blair") then asked if there was anything else anyone wanted to raise. I braced myself expecting a flurry of comments about the need for a leadership election. Instead, silence. So we all went home, the elephant in the corner of the room included. As I left I was asked "who is this Tom Watson person you mentioned before the meeting started, has something happened in the last couple of days?"

Arriving at branch number 2, Clissold, historically one of the most leftwing wards in Diane Abbott's CLP, I came in half way through people going round the room saying who their dream candidate for leader was. The result (I got this second hand if anyone there for the whole thing wants to correct me) was Gordon Brown 1 vote, Hilary Benn 1 vote, Hazel Blears 2 votes, undecided/wouldn't say 6 votes. There was unanimity in condemning the coup attempt this week. One specific comment stuck in my mind: "I thought politics was supposed to be an honourable profession, not about jostling for positions."

4 Comments:

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Gordon Brown 1 vote, Hilary Benn 1 vote, Hazel Blears 2 votes, undecided/wouldn't say 6 votes"

what? No-one voted for Diane?!

8:45 am, September 08, 2006

 
Anonymous observer said...

"One specific comment stuck in my mind: "I thought politics was supposed to be an honourable profession, not about jostling for positions."

It sticks in my mind because it is one of the funniest and most naiive statements I've heard in a long time. Why did it stick in your mind, Luke? Go on, give us a laugh!

11:52 am, September 09, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Observer, most ordinary members of the Labour Party are indeed naiive and innocent - but I would view that as a positive thing rather than an insult. Call them delusional but they actually believe that by paying £36 a year and maybe being a school governor or delivering leaflets and knocking on doors they might be fighting poverty and making the world a better place. All the academic research shows that the people who join the Labour Party are also members of Greenpeace, Oxfam, Amnesty etc. which you would probably also dismiss as naiive. Many of them probably share your politics and are considerably to the left of me. The difference between them and you is that I would rather spend my time with naiive idealists who are actually doing something about their ideals, however small, than with embittered cynics like you.

8:08 pm, September 09, 2006

 
Anonymous observer said...

"The difference between them and you is that I would rather spend my time with naiive idealists who are actually doing something about their ideals, however small, than with embittered cynics like you."

Ooerrr! More bitchy comments but they don't wash! (You've no idea what my accomplishments are, nor what I do with my ideals, nor whether you already spend time with me - you DO actually, tee hee!)

I thought it was funny (and naiive) because the author obviously doesn't know that within politics and, sadly, the Labour Party, there are characters like you (thankfully in a minority), who are absolutely and totally OBSESSED with "jostling for positions" and who hardly ever act "honourable".

As for embittered ... I think that is you, my friend, that is definitely you.

6:17 am, September 10, 2006

 

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