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.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reply time

I thought I ought to reply to the Daily's blairite-scorched-earth-strategy story, so I've posted this on their site:

"I’m not aware of having said “Brown is bad”, only that Blair is good. There is still a strong possibility that I will actively campaign for Brown if he is up against only Meacher and/or McDonnell; or D Miliband who I disagree with on double devolution; or Milburn who I disagree with on public services issues; or Clarke who has publicly expressed doubts on Trident replacement and new nuclear power stations.

If either Reid or Johnson run I will have a difficult choice to make. I think Brown, Reid or Johnson would all be excellent leaders and are all coming from broadly the same place ideologically (and are all more tribally Labour than Blair, which I like) but we don’t have enough data yet on which would play best with the electorate (we need something like the Frank Luntz people-metering on Newsnight that showed Cameron’s popularity during the Tory leadership). We also won’t find out exactly what their policy platform is until the campaign starts and collective responsibility is parked - I’ll want to weigh up where they stand on Trident, nuclear power and an interventionist foreign policy (which I support) and public service reform (which I’m sceptical about but which is less of a deal-breaker).

I think the Daily rather over-estimates the influence of my blog and Stuart’s - if No10 was waging a scorched earth policy they would do it on TV and in the press, not through a website that only gets a few hundred hits a day.

The “Brown is popular in Wales and Scotland” argument is spurious and undermined by the Dunfermline by-election result earlier this year. Reid is probably popular in Scotland too. If Wales is so important why not have Hain as leader and be done with it? My hero Kinnock was massively popular in Wales and Scotland - fat lot of good that it did us in 1992. These are devolved elections about the performance of devolved governments. What counts in picking a leader in a country with FPTP is popularity amongst swing voters in the marginal seats that decide General Elections. No offence to the Celts (I am one by ancestory) but there are as many Westminster marginal seats in the 3 counties of Kent, Sussex and Essex as in the whole of Scotland and Wales. I’ll be looking for a Leader that resonates with Dartford, Basildon and Harlow as well as with the areas that always return Labour MPs. "


Anonymous Matthew said...

Luke - I didn't think the daily were saying they hated you, dont they link to you?

But the point stands - you slag off Brown, saying he can't win an election, yet you are very critical of people who do the same of Blair.

Don't you see that you are hurting the Labour party by being so negative?

9:18 pm, September 21, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Matthew please show me where in this blog I have "slagged off" Gordon Brown or been negative about him. I am negative about lots of the foolish people on the left of the Labour Party but not about Brown or the moderate half of his supporters who were/are/will be my friends and allies. What I have done is highlight some of the recent polling data that compares the popularity of Brown and Blair and criticised (but shown some empathy for some of the underlying motives behind) the actions of some of Brown's supporters - most of whom again my friends and allies - 2 weeks ago, which damaged their own man and the Party. If you search back through the archive you will see posts by me praising Brown. But you can't behave the way people did 2 weeks ago and expect party loyalists like me to roll over and say "hey Gordon you tried to humiliate the leader of the Labour Party but go ahead and have the leadership yourself without any scrutiny".

9:40 pm, September 21, 2006

Blogger Benjamin said...

Luke is mesmerised by Cameron and have fantasies about a fresh faced Blair Mk 2 rising to challenge him. Nothing to do with policies or ideas, such a discussion would of couse be unseemly!

It's purely about spin for you. At first sight it's not even clear that Luke is involved in politics, are you not simply a public relations consultant?

I have no idea whether Cameron can be beaten at the next election, but at the moment Blair and his silly band of acolytes are in the way. Get out of the road. Someone else needs to get stuck into Cameron soon, and its certainly not going to be Blair.

9:07 am, September 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoo hoo. Being spammed by Benjie. The force *is* really strong in you, isn't it, Luke?

9:32 am, September 22, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I've been accused of many things but "not being involved in politics" is a new one. Maybe all the leaflets I delivered, doors I knocked on, party and council meetings up to 4 nights a week since I was 16 were a figment of my imagination. I'm sure there would be a lot of happy Trots out there is I was "not being involved in politics"

10:05 am, September 22, 2006

Anonymous politicalcorrespondent said...

I've replied in full over at The Daily. We took issue with your use of polling statistics, and we take issue with your blaming the last two weeks entirely on Brown, when it seems to us to be rather more about the antics of the people you acknowledge are your friends and allies, and the subsequent Blairite spin operation.

I very much hope that Brown does have some scrutiny - we are neither Blairites nor Brownites - but not in the form of snearing that he's pyschologically flawed and the roadblock to reform and all that nonsense.

That was more of a general point than anything specific to you, Luke. But I am a bit concerned the "Gordon Brown can't win" line could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

11:44 am, September 22, 2006

Anonymous Dave Hill said...

The leadership issue is perfectly simple. The voters don't like Gordon and they wouldn't like Reid because he is Tony's Mr Butch poseur. That leaves Johnson. He's the only one most voters have no firm impression of and the one least associated with Blair. He is also, apparently, crumpet, which means the ladies will go for him (so the experts are telling us lately at any rate). These factors together means he stands the best chance of beating Cameron. And, if he's wise, he'll use his relative lack of baggage to put some policy distance between himself and the bits of Blairism people least
like. Clever, aren't I?

9:42 pm, September 22, 2006


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