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, September 06, 2006

Through the looking glass

We are living in some very odd times politically.

Now that we have the 2 lists of letter to Tony signatories it is apparent that the one that I disagree with (calling for Blair to go now) has been signed predominantly by hardcore moderates from Wales and the West Midlands - most of whom support the Government line on Iraq and even Lebanon - http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1367190.ece whilst the "please feel free to hang about a bit longer" counter-letter which I agree with was signed by quite a few soft left people well to the left of those who signed the original one: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labourleadership/story/0,,1865848,00.html

And to make things even more confusing, the Independent has started publishing editorials I agree with: http://comment.independent.co.uk/leading_articles/article1367163.ece

My instinct is that the events of the last 24 hours have caused immense damage to Labour's reputation with the public, and made us look divided and self-obsessed. It doesn't show a political party in an attractive light when it has a huge faction fight in public which is not about policy or the issues facing real people but fundamentally a personality spat between two men who agree with each other on 95% of issues. The elitest way in which the leadership contest is being played out in the Westminster village with no say for the Labour Party membership let alone the wider electorate won't help re-engage the public with politics either. We may already - and I hope this is not the case - have reached the point where our internal feuding has lost us the next General Election and whoever is leader will inherit the political equivalent of a smoking ruin.


Blogger El Dave. said...

I'm no fan of Tony Blair. Ceteris paribus, I'd rather have someone else.

However, I have no desire to have a great big bust-up shortly before the Scottish and Welsh elections.

I think the question is as to whether TB's declaration (through the New Hansard that is the Sun) that he will leave in a year will keep the troops in line or whether, successfully or otherwise, people will continue to agitate for his removal, meaning it would be better for him to go with despatch.

10:20 am, September 06, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

They've made a mess. Blair going next year after the 10th anniversary is reasonable even to me, an archi anti-Blair.
The problem could have been that I can fear he'll try to go on and on again next year.
At the same time I can understand that he can't say it officially now, because he would seem a lame duck.
An idea could have been sending around some Blairites like Jowell or Armstrong suggesting that date. I suppose it could have been enough to reassure the the Simon/Rev YFronts group...unless they had some second aims.
Then Clare Short would have not been pleased, but it's not important. She's never pleased and it's just routine.

At the same time some people in the Blair's circle aren't that helpful, especially with relationship with the Brownites.

Will people be satisfied now? Some signs are encouraging: Glenda Jackson is satisfied with having a timetable and she thinks Blair should be given space to implement it.

10:39 am, September 06, 2006

Anonymous Sue Smith said...

Do you think we are all bean-brains, Akehurst? Your other website describes you this morning as Alice in Wonderland, but I think Lewis Carroll would be closer to the mark. You're no innocent lost child in all this, you're the spinner of the fables.

"Hardcore moderates from Wales"! Make me laugh. You don't know either of these guys, do you? "The Gay Vicar" Chris Bryant was never Holborn and St Pancras CLP Agent and your "boss", was he? He was never a Hackney Councillor who left shortly after you arrived, was he? And you never met "The Gateaux Gourmet" Sion Simon in your life, did you? Especially not through NOLS.

In summary, the "two-about-whom-so-much-dirt-is-known-they-could-be-made-to-sign-anything-especially-by-a-chief-whip" are a complete mystery to you, aren't they?

I haven't laughed so much in ages.

10:59 am, September 06, 2006

Anonymous Sue Smith said...

Mind you, according to your blog protestations you know nothing about your wife's handling of the Labour Party membership list during the Blair Mayor Affair, have no idea who Hackney Council building procurement consultant Bob Stubbs is, never heard of Mark Trotter, didn't realise that so many Hackney Labour councillors worked for Labour Party HQ or in media and PR (is there a difference?). Maybe you are not really the Chief Whip, just an innocent little ginger-haired boy in a nappy.

11:15 am, September 06, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


of course I know who Chris Bryant is - he was never "my boss" - he was my predecessor but one as Holborn & St Pancras Agent and yes he was a Hackney councillor for the first 3 months I worked for the Labour Group.

I also know Sion Simon through a trip to Israel we went on last year and because he was a member in Holborn when I was Agent. However, I don't remember encountering him in NOLS.

I like both of them which increases my distress that they signed the letter.

I know everything about my partner's (not my wife - don't you know marriage is a redundant bourgeois institution?)passing of membership lists to Frank Dobson and I'm very proud of her for it.

I have heard of Mark Trotter because the Barratt report was published the week I started work in Hackney.

However I have never ever heard of Bob Stubbs other than on my spoof website, having had no involvement in either decisions or scrutiny to do with Clissold Leisure Centre.

As far as I can recall no members of Labour Group work at Labour Party HQ. Yes a lot of us work in PR but I'm not quite sure what significance you are inferring - people interested enough in politics to be councillors are likely to work in vaguely political jobs.

11:45 am, September 06, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"I like both of them which increases my distress that they signed the letter."

You should support Diane A next time...at leasy she doesn't sign letters :wink:

12:04 pm, September 06, 2006

Anonymous Duncan said...

I actually think you analysis of this here is pretty bang on. Scarily.

6:54 pm, September 06, 2006

Anonymous observer said...

"My instinct is that the events of the last 24 hours have caused immense damage to Labour's reputation with the public, and made us look divided and self-obsessed."

"Look divided and self-obsessed?" Oh, thanks Luke! Your site gets funnier every day!

12:09 pm, September 09, 2006


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