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.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Clwyd vs Lloyd

Ann Clwyd's defeat as PLP Chair by Tony Lloyd just goes to show how a lot of MPs don't fit easily into categories, how Blair has had personal support from a few lefties (another example is Dennis Skinner) and how Iraq has cut across traditional left-right lines.

Clwyd has been characterised as the "Blairite" candidate in the election because of her support for the Iraq War on human rights grounds. But this is almost the only issue on which she has ever agreed with Blair.

If my memory of conversations with former comrade (now sadly departed to the Lib Dems) Brian Sedgemore is correct, Ann was a big friend of him and other maverick MPs Bob Marshall-Andrews and Dale Campbell-Savours (at least until the vote on the war).

She was sacked from the frontbench by Kinnock for voting against the defence estimates in 1988, and sacked again by Blair in 1996 for ignoring whips' instructions on not travelling to Kurdistan.

She is anti-nuclear and voted against the whip on single parent benefits, invalidity benefits, trial by jury, the pensions/earning link, the NATS PPP, newspaper predatory pricing, and FoI.

My hunch is that the maths of her narrow victory in 2005 being turned into a narrow defeat this time is very simple: some or all of the 17 signatories of the September "Blair must go"letter would have voted either by conviction or because of being PPSs for Clwyd in '05 but in '06 voted for the Brownite candidate instead.

I think it's a shame that a principled politician like Clwyd (who I would disagree with on almost every issue other than Iraq) has lost her position, but I buy into some of the PLP critique that Lloyd will bring more open debate - perhaps if more debate and votes happen at PLP meetings MPs will feel they have had their say and be more accepting of the PLP's collective discipline.

18 Comments:

Blogger tom watson said...

An interesting analysis. I think that you can overdo the former PPS's for Clwyd argument, after all, they have all been replaced.

I think that one MP got it right when she caught Tony on the way to the lobbies. Said she "now after two years I might have a chance of getting my voice heard at the PLP". Politics is a fickle game.

8:41 am, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"My hunch is that the maths of her narrow victory in 2005 being turned into a narrow defeat this time is very simple: some or all of the 17 signatories of the September "Blair must go"letter would have voted either by conviction or because of being PPSs for Clwyd in '05 but in '06 voted for the Brownite candidate instead"

IIRC at the time, she was pretty "strong" with them and shr told them that party would have remebered their behaviour

"I think that you can overdo the former PPS's for Clwyd argument, after all, they have all been replaced. "

but some of the replacements could have voted Clwyd even when they were backbenchers

8:44 am, December 06, 2006

 
Blogger Harry Perkins said...

What utter, utter drivel.

Ann Clwyd's political record is as follows (from http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ann_clwyd/cynon_valley)

- Quite strongly for introducing a smoking ban.

- Very strongly for introducing ID cards

- Quite strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.

- Very strongly for introducing student top-up fees.

- Quite strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.

- Very strongly for the Iraq war. votes, speeches

- Very strongly against investigating the Iraq war.

- Moderately for the fox hunting ban.

- Very strongly for equal gay rights.

Never rebels against their party in this parliament.


You're right, Luke. She's practically a Bolshevik!

10:42 am, December 06, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Harry, on your definition of the Labour left, it has virtually no one in it.

11:09 am, December 06, 2006

 
Blogger Harry Perkins said...

You might think I'm being a bit of an ultra here, but could you explain how someone who has supported New Labour on practically everything - including tuition fees, Foundation Hospitals, 90 day detention and other offensives against civil liberties, privatisation of public services, and indeed the invasion of Iraq - is anywhere close to being on the Left?

I'm afraid that the fact you consider her to be on the Left is more an indication of just how rightwing you are!

11:33 am, December 06, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

... though of your list I publicly opposed both foundation hospitals and top-up tuition fees as a PPC in the last General Election.

11:57 am, December 06, 2006

 
Blogger Harry Perkins said...

Well, all that means is that Clwyd is even more rightwing than you are - which just demonstrates how absurd your original claim is!

2:12 pm, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done to Tony Lloyd. He will make an excellent chair of the PLP, a labour and trade union man through and through. Also an amicus MP. Good luck to him.

4:11 pm, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm told the trade union support for Tony was getting very merry in the bars around Westminster last night. As for Clwyd being a rebel, only someone on the ultra right could think that... now who could that be?

The reality is members of the PLP are being toooo subtle. The man needs another push or he will preside over the bloodletting next May.

6:11 pm, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"though of your list I publicly opposed both foundation hospitals and top-up tuition fees as a PPC in the last General Election."

Yes, on the evidence currently available, I think you've been some way to the left of Clwyd in recent years.

Did she actually vote (or speak) against the government from the left in the two or three years before she became Blair's 'envoy'?

A lot of people were quite left-wing in the 80s and early 90s - doesn't mean they're any less Blairite now.

7:15 pm, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob - I think any of Tony's support would delight in getting absolutely leathered if he was made chair of the PLP. I shan't cast any aspersions on his character!! Though seriously well done, Tony, you will be gr8.

10:29 pm, December 06, 2006

 
Anonymous david said...

For evidence on the friendship of Sedgemore and Clwyd, read Sedgemore's excellent "Insiders guide to parliament". Very funny.

10:15 am, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry, to be fair, theyworkforyou is but a blunt instrument for finding out the truth.

It told us that one of our bosses was "very strongly in favour" of equal rights for homosexuals which slightly baffled us because whilst she is, to her knowledge she had never spoken on the issue, written a PQ on it, or in any way indicated her support.

I think that theyworkforyou works on the basis that unless you are vehemently against it then you're slavishly for it which is neither subtle nor true.

Good to see you back, by the way.

10:32 am, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pay tuition fees, by the way Harry, and I would consider myself on the left.

That's because I got a huge personal benefit by going to Uni, the brunt of which was borne by the taxpayer (many of whom did not have my opportunities), and I felt it was appropriate that I paid something back.

Which I do, it comes out of my wages every month along with my income tax, and NI.

Just saying.

10:37 am, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"It told us that one of our bosses was "very strongly in favour" of equal rights for homosexuals which slightly baffled us because whilst she is, to her knowledge she had never spoken on the issue, written a PQ on it, or in any way indicated her support."

I think they base those tags about divisions regarding that particular issue.
But their score system isn't great IMO...especially how they rate the absences/abstentions.
Anyway it's always better to go beyond the tags they give to MPs about some issues and look at speeches/divisions.

11:51 am, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous joan weinberg said...

I'm getting very confused. You seem to be calling Ann Clwyd a rebel, whereas the other website under your name that I just saw seems to be suggesting the opposite in quite a facetious manner. Are you just covering your bets?

2:49 pm, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"though of your list I publicly opposed both foundation hospitals and top-up tuition fees as a PPC in the last General Election"

You'd get my selection vote. Probably. ;o)

Tony Lloyd will be excellent. he's wanted this for ages. Good traed union supporter, and I quite like his voting record, which he manages to pull off totally without vitriol.

Good on him.

Although I do get the feeling that discipline will not return until TB is gone, but his hold has been slipping for year, ever since Iraq and Top-up fees.

I'm not that sure that's such a bad thing...

7:32 pm, December 07, 2006

 
Anonymous david said...

Another good book I'd recommend is Giles Brandreth's Westminster Diaries, you may think an eccentric choice but every backbench Labour MP should be given a copy to read over Christmas by the Whips! (I'm sure copies can be picked up cheaply in remainder book stores so as not to contribute to GB's wealth!!)

Once you get through the lovey arty stuff and into the hard politics of the Tory Whips OFfice 1994-1997, you realise what a debilitating effect the constant rebellion and sniping in the press had on Tory party morale. Once discipline had been lost, the whips couldn't claw it back. Arguably they still haven't fully got it back.

We need to absorb these lessons. As we learnt in 94-97, when we were unified under a key aim, we were much more effective

11:08 am, December 08, 2006

 

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