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, December 20, 2006

The Nightmare Ticket

Lansbury, Bevan, Castle, Foot, Benn ... through Labour's history its left (boo, hiss) has had some mighty standard bearers, charismatic, eloquent and capable of inspiring mass support amongst the kind of people who sell newspapers or whose idea of a fun night out is a compositing meeting.

In their foot steps comes the latest Labour left dream ticket reflecting the full array of talent, national profile and heavyweight government experience in the massed ranks of the political praetorian guard that is the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs.

Step forward - John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn.

As John McDonnell's campaign website says, "another world is possible". Thankfully another galaxy would be needed before this pair ever got anywhere near winning.

Interestingly, Harry at Reclaim Labour spends most of his post on this slagging off Jon Cruddas, which a) suggests the Hard Left are scared of Cruddas and b) makes me think a lot more favourably of him.


Blogger Harry Perkins said...


You can hardly blame the Labour Left for its lack of government experience, can you? Surely that derives from the fact that New Labour, unlike previous Labour administrations, has refused to bring all wings of the party into Government?

Oh, and I do hope that I've made you consider openly backing Cruddas. Three words... "kiss of death"...

Harry x

1:54 pm, December 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

No I will be backing Blears if she runs.

Blair has actually been quite generous (or soft if you prefer) at giving govt jobs to the left e.g. at various times Mullin, Meacher, Hain, Short, Cook, Beckett, Primarolo.

2:01 pm, December 20, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

I think Corbyn has absolutely no chance to get 44 nominations. All the soft left will back the much more competitive Cruddas

and at this rate, in a couple of months time, probably 2/3 will be running for Deputy!

2:39 pm, December 20, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

In another example of strategic ineptitude of Labour Left, I see (Guardian) that Meacher is set to run for leader (Alan Simpson canvassing support for him).
I mean, the Left can struggle to get 44 names and what do they do? They split into 2 factions! Very wise, Mr McDonnell, Mr Meacher and Mr Simpson!

2:58 pm, December 20, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These little spats are really quite amusing - Harry Perkins and Luke Akehurst are like two mirror images of each other on the hard left and hard right. Frankly I don't think I'd back any candidate who either of them was supporting!

3:42 pm, December 20, 2006

Anonymous Jo said...

Re Cruddas, you couldn't have hit the nail on the head more precisely. Scared is exactly the right word.

12:04 am, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Stuart said...

I understand from sources in his CLP that Simpson was furious when McDonnell unilaterally announced his candidacy for leadership without any debate within the campaign group. Simpson - that great elbow toucher - had himself hoped to be the Left's standard bearer in the election. Hence his canvassing for Meacher.

9:45 am, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

I see that the Guardian reported a couple of times that some Campaign Groupers were upset my McD announcing his candidacy...has AS, by any chance, started those rumours?

11:16 am, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

MCDonnell's move was a classic ultra left tactic. he knows he's not even going to get on the ballot - he just wants to refresh the list of calss traitors and sell outs he keeps under his pillow.

It's a transitional demand via a demand for a nomination

2:56 pm, December 21, 2006

Anonymous Duncan said...

What rot, 'anonymous'. For your information, we're getting very close to the necessary number of nominations.

Look, Alan is backing a different candidate, as he has every right to do. But when hundreds of people at the LRC, the broad left movements in most of the main unions, numerous CLPs, and local Campaign Groups up and down the country, John's declaration can hardly be described as unilateral, just because he didn't formally put it to a group of 20-odd MPs.

5:15 pm, December 21, 2006

Anonymous David Floyd said...

"John's declaration can hardly be described as unilateral, just because he didn't formally put it to a group of 20-odd MPs."

Well, no, 'unilateral' seems a fairly reasonable description for deciding for yourself rather than putting the decision to the group that your the chair of.

I'm not having a go at McDonnell, I think he's a considerably more credible candidate than Meacher but I think it might have been sensible to make sure his potential core supporters were behind him before deciding to announce his bid.

12:48 pm, December 22, 2006

Anonymous Duncan said...

I'm not too sure about having this discussion on Luke Akehurst's blog (!!) - but there was a lot of advice about, before the summer, to make this decisively a bottom-up grassroots campaign, and not go directly for a parliamentary lead. Apart from anything else, as one or two Campaign Group members had openly backed Brown, there was a desire not to split the group (that might seem ironic now, but the history which Harry Barnes refers to on another thread is relevent here). I still broadly think that it was the right strategy, although it was probably important to make sure that the biggest guns were on side (specifically Alan).

11:02 pm, December 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if a big gun like Alan Simpson wasn't onside, do what? Decide that the personal whim of this one man is more important than the wishes of thousands of trade unionists and grassroots activists?

12:22 pm, December 23, 2006

Anonymous Duncan said...

No, anonymous, you're quite right. No individual MP should have had the power to veto this campaign, I wasn't arguing that - just thinking allowed whether it might have been possible to get him on side (especially as the rumour now emerges that he might be planning on standing for deputy...) But I quite agree, and you couldn't find a much bigger supporter of John's campaign than me.

4:09 pm, December 24, 2006


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