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.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Run, Hazel, run

The Deputy Leadership campaign seems to be shaping up to show Labour in a good light - pluralistic, unpredictable in the sense of not being a forgone conclusion, and with an interesting range of candidates.

I was really pleased when today's Observer said that Hazel Blears "is now expected to enter the deputy race ... Blears is said to be confident she can get the 44 nominations required."

I'm very enthused by the idea of Blears being part of the leadership team - and not just because she is, like me, ginger and not very tall.

My reasons:
- Assuming Brown is to be leader, this balances the ticket with someone close to the Blair camp and binds any wounds.
- She's authentically Labour and can connect with our core vote and has proven this in Salford.
- We ought to have a woman in the leadership team to help us win back women voters and Hazel seems to me to be a more credible candidate that Harriet Harman.
- She is an effective campaigner and I think the Deputy needs to focus on a campaigning role.
- She's from the North West - a region packed full of the key marginals we need to win - and which hasn't supplied a Labour Leader or Deputy since Harold Wilson.
- She's particularly strong on the crime & ASB agenda - a key one both for Labour's core supporters and swing voters - and that would balance Brown's interests in the economy and social policy if he was leader. The work she did as Home Office Minister of State meeting ordinary voters on the ground to listen to and act on their concerns on ASB was really impressive.
- Her personality - she's down-to-earth and approachable in a way that is authentic and will help us take on the faux mateyness of "Dave" Cameron. She comes across as someone that lives in the real world voters live in and understands their lives.
- She cares about the Party grassroots and the union link in the same way Cruddas does but without his link-up with groups like Compass and Save the Labour Party.

I'm fairly sure that if I researched everything she's ever said I'd find she was some way to the left of me, but my bottom line in judging the Deputy Leadership candidates is, if I was a PPC or Agent again, which of them would I most want to do a key campaigner visit to my seat - which one would actually help the most to get members out campaigning and to persuade voters they met that they ought to turn out and vote Labour? I reckon of the names mentioned so far, Blears wins hands down, so I hope she does run.


Anonymous Jo Malik said...

I too welcome Blears running - despite being a paid up Compass member. Hazel will expose and beat Harriet Harman hands down. I'm backing Cruddas but I would have no problem with Hazel...

9:59 pm, October 29, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"She comes across as someone that lives in the real world voters live in and understands their lives."

erm, Hazel Blears can make Polyanna look like a depressed person. I quite liked her when she was at the Home Office, but since she was promoted to the Chairman position and got more exposure.... well, she just has to stop to smile in that way all the time.
Smiling is good and it would be certainly be good to balance Brown's not very cheering image, but someone should tell Blears she looks ridiculous smiling all the time.
I don't think people in the real world really go around being so hyper happy all the time. She risks to become a parody of herself. A couple of times I was chatting with not Labour friends whilst Blears was speaking and they all made fun of her (with parody of Blears' speeches included).

10:18 pm, October 29, 2006

Anonymous Cllr Iain Lindley said...

"She's authentically Labour and can connect with our core vote and has proven this in Salford"

Rubbish. The turnout in Salford constituency is derisory and smacks more of a disgruntled and reluctant core vote than "connecting with the grassroots". Hazel's raw vote would have lost her most marginal seats.

11:31 pm, October 29, 2006

Anonymous the anecdotal said...

Rack of the blogosphere ginge!

11:53 pm, October 29, 2006

Anonymous Casual Observer said...

She's really just a bad advert for Duracell. I'm against violence against anyone, but for her I'd allow the odd slap to take that dreadful smile of her face and stop her trotting out the same old nulab shite.

5:12 am, October 30, 2006

Anonymous stuart said...

I like Hazel and hope she does put herself forward. I'd definitely support her. Can't quite fathom why smiling a lot is thought to be a negative...

9:30 am, October 30, 2006

Blogger Sham said...

You make some good points but on this one I totally disagree:

"We ought to have a woman in the leadership team to help us win back women voters"

Firstly, why must we have a women as either leader or deputy? Surely we've got to have the best candidate, male or female, for both posts.

Secondly, to suggest that having a woman in the leadership team - however good or bad - would make women vote for us might be seen by some as condescending ...

12:49 pm, October 30, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

sham, actually I think he has a point there (if I've understood him well)...politics is (perhaps) sadly also image nowdays. A woman in the leadership team can be useful to belance Brown's "dour" image.
Then naturally being a woman is not enough...a certain type of women can be right...naturally not the "Clare Short" aggressive type of female politician.
Acutally someone with the approach of Blears is probably right, but she's just too much (re my previous comment about it)

2:54 pm, October 30, 2006

Blogger Sham said...

Hazel Blears as Deputy PM, and then acting PM if anything were to happen to our new leader, would make Britain a laughing stock.

In addition, she'd be made mincemeat at PMQs when required to stand in!

10:57 pm, October 30, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"In addition, she'd be made mincemeat at PMQs when required to stand in! "

They can use a box as they did with Alan Duncan at the Tory conference! :wink:

11:03 pm, October 30, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke "the puke" akehurst, you truly are a said git aren't you. The only thing good about Hazel Blears is her new haircut... (it might actually get the fiftysomething Tom jones fans going) Fair enough she may be working class, but she has done nothing to actually give disgruntled members more of a voice as "party chair" Luke you're a sycophantic turd of a man, you'd grovel to anybody and anything just to get a job wouldn't you?

PS and by the way once your "great leader is gone" will you be licking the rectal area of Whoeever's leader next leader? even if in the unlikely event it were to be John Mcdonnell!!?) (or perhaps you'd like to preserve Tony Blair in Ancient egyptian mummification process...?

12:17 am, October 31, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crash and burn Hazel, Crash and burn...

12:17 am, October 31, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hazel wasn't at tonight's Labour party equality and diversity dinner (£200 a ticket). She has broken her arm. Whether this dents the launch of her campaign we'll have to wait and see...

1:32 am, October 31, 2006

Blogger Phantom of the Labour Party said...

"Wondering Labour Party, so lost, so helpless, yearning for my guidance."


3:26 am, October 31, 2006

Blogger Phantom of the Labour Party said...

Wait a minute, the Labour Party had a equality and diversity reception at £200 a ticket. How does that promote equality?

And on that point about Hazel being eaten alive at PMQs. If the PM was away, what would happen? If Hazel took to the dispatch it would be like nobody is there. Who's next in line to deputy?

The speaker might step on her or something - and I can't be handling a byelection.

3:30 am, October 31, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that often that you see someone who can make just about the WHOLE of the QT audience cringe - but I saw Blears do that.

If only she was better known, she would be one of Labour's most unpopular figures - she could patronise and weasel out of answering question for England.

Anyway I'm sure Chris Tofer will be the dead cert for Deputy Leader. He has all the qualities that Labour MPs like - as the analysis of my website shows.

4:55 am, October 31, 2006

Blogger Mick Tully said...


An anagram:

Labour's Chairperson =
Honour? Blears is crap!


9:08 pm, March 14, 2007

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