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, February 11, 2007

Hangover cures

There's nothing like waking up to an opinion poll showing Labour up and the Tories down and most of the papers starting to pick away at the story of exactly what David Cameron's lifestyle was like before he became an MP to put a spring back in your step. Maybe next they could look at what his politics were before he became leader too - which is of rather more importance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC's statements on drugs are intriguing. You may recall a few years ago the confessions that half of the Tory shadow cabinet had smoked cannabis. If that was all DC had done, then it's no big deal and why not say so. To me, refusing to confirm or deny suggests there is potentially more serious drug usage beyond the midnight dope parties!

Agree with the substantive point that his views pre-elevation to shadow cabinet should be more widely discussed. Leopards don't change their spots (might be better than the chameleon)

11:51 am, February 12, 2007

Blogger Manchester University Labour Club said...

Does anyone actually care whether he took drugs? Its not exactly uncommon.

2:15 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I think a lot of traditional older Tory voters would care. Think Daily Mail readers and how they would react.

2:54 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

I'd prefer the Tories to be destroyed on political grounds rather than on the basis of whether or not Cameron (like the vast majority of people in their teens) had dabbled with a bit of wacky backy.

I think it will be sad if we get to the stage where we abandon trying to win back those who have been driven away from the fold by changing the policy direction of the party (e.g. Iraq, privatisation, civil liberties) - and instead hope to stay in power by waiting for the Tories to discredit themselves because of the alleged foibles of their toff leader.

That, comrades, is called "the death of politics". I personally hope we can move on from this absurdly irrelevant distraction and actually get back to the issues.

Granted, that's pretty tough given the paper thin differences between the policies of the New Labour faction and the Cameron Tories...

3:09 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

If you really think there is only a "paper thin" political difference between life under this new Labour government and under even the most faux-leftwing Tories you must have been smoking the same stuff as Cameron.

3:26 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Owen said...


Explain to me the key political differences between the New Labour clique and Cameron's clique.

Blair listed a few at Labour Party Conference - by attacking Cameron from the right ("anti-Americanism", soft on crime etc).

3:32 pm, February 12, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its so easy to do a list off-the-top of your head its hard know if you are serious.


1. Huge reductions in poverty (especially child poverty and pensioner poverty), and this on relative not absolute measurements.

2. Huge increases in investment in public services (eg. so now we spend more public money on health than most comparable countries)

3. A massive increase in income for the poorest in society (the only other times this has happenned other than the late 1940s and late 1960s).

4. A narrowing in social inequality (despite misleading claims otherwise).

5. Huge redistribution of resources into poor communities (through factoring in deprivation in health spending which the tories and liberals complain about incessantly).

6. Massive school and hospital building programmes.

7. The highest level of managed migration in this country's history, and beating the Tories in a GE on the issue.

8. Gay equality.

There is nothing wrong with being a left-wing critic of Blair(ism), there is something wrong with being a stupid one.

4:26 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Thanks... you beat me to it.

4:45 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Owen said...


You've answered a question that wasn't even asked. I didn't ask for a list of policy achievements since 1997 (which, where genuine, I wholeheartedly applaud). I asked for the "key political differences" between the New Labour clique and Cameron's Tories. What substantial political disagreements are there between them in 2007?

Of course, you could always resort to giving a completely irrelevant answer again, but I'll leave that with you.

5:02 pm, February 12, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owen, do you have anything better to do than constantly attack your fellow Labourites? You're not exactly helping to portray the John4Leader campaign in a positive light when all you do is post irritating comments about how much you hate Tony Blair and everyone who disagrees with you in the Party. This is a thread about the Tories - remember them? The REAL ideological enemy - so perhaps you should dedicate your charm and intellect to explaining how you think Labour can beat the Tories in the next election.

5:09 pm, February 12, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

owen, does blair want to "share the proceeds of growth"?

8:54 pm, February 12, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

I have absolutely nothing but burning hatred for the Tories and everything that they stand for and represent. I'm from Manchester - and up there, hatred for the Tories is in the blood.

But I'm determined to take on the Tories both outside and inside our party. Margaret Thatcher famously described the Labour party as her greatest conquest. She was over-egging the point - for so long as the union link exists, Labour remains a party representing (in some form) working class people.

The Tories outside the party are unable to directly destroy the Labour party. It's those such as Stephen Byers and Alan Johnson who want to severely curtail or even destroy the trade union link who have that capability. Those such as Blair wish to create a "virtual party" based on a network of supporters. If victorious, this would mean the liquidation of the Labour party and the effective creation of a new party along the lines of the US Democrats. The Tories within our ranks are determined to liquidate our party - it's as simple as that. Treachery doesn't even cover it.

I don't agree with "my party leadership right or wrong". I'm loyal to the Labour party - a party whose policies include an end to privatisation of the NHS, an end to PFI, direct investment in council housing, the immediate restoration of the link between pensions and earnings, the renationalisation of the railways etc. The New Labour clique has no such loyalty and completely ignores Labour party policies. Instead, they implement policies cooked up by unelected advisors in Blair's living room who (like Lord Adonis) cut their teeth in the SDP. Indeed, Adonis' education policies were carried on the back of Tory votes (as, even more catastrophically, was the war against Iraq). How is loyalty to that loyalty to the Labour party?

Neither is loyally parotting support for policies that have driven away hundreds of thousands of party members and millions of supporters loyalty to the party. That is loyalty to the destruction of our party. No thanks.

Finally, I note that noone has answered my question - what substantial ideological differences currently exist between Cameron's Tories and the New Labour clique? There's a fairly obvious explanation - there isn't any. Except, of course, Cameron is able to posture to the left of Blairism on so many issues (which is hardly difficult). We've done the impossible - make the Tories look progressive on issues like civil liberties. We've made it easy for them to posture to the left when it comes to anti-big business rhetoric, foreign policy and even social inequality.

Our vote was collapsing before as millions of working class people deserted the party and stayed at home. However, many others carried on voting because of their terror at the prospect of the Tories returning to power. Now that any political difference between New Labour and Cameron's bunch of Etonians has vanished - and the belief that "better this shit than even worse shit" has vanished - what is going to drive them to vote?

Once again, unless there is a change of direction, the Labour party faces oblivion - organisationally and electorally. You can go loyally over the edge of a cliff if you wish - but I'm having none of it.

10:33 pm, February 12, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God forbid that the Labour Party (or any party for that matter) has a network of supporters!!

And how is the level of public spending/taxation/the size of the state not ideological.

Whatever you want to say about the Labout Party since 1997 it has increased taxation and the proportion of the state and the Tories would reverse this!

12:25 am, February 13, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Perhaps a tale or two of his restaurant smashing prowess would be of interest also. As David says we need to know about the Class As now the A List is dead and gone.

And it would be as well to point out how little Dave and his Eton chums actually do have in common with the street corner youth and there little bit of spliff her and there.

With money behind them they can "handle" a whole lot more recreational drug use than the poor. They don't have to go out and perform street robberies and burglaries to finance the next baggie.

I have some sympathy for the trot Owen on the "political differences" question. Clearly Better schools, better hospitals, better buses etc etc are all slogans that everyone, but everyone can rally round. There used to be more difference in the means to these ends than there is now.

Is pregethwr saying the the IFS and the JRF and CPAG and etc etc are all misleading about the opening of the gap between rich and poor? Absolute poverty on the ropes. Relative poverty alive and well and living in Manchester, Hackney and all over.

The IFS chart published by the BBC and others in early 2005 showing the deciles and how their tax and income lot had changed under Labour was very welcome. The lowest four deciles had improved their lot by 11, 11, 8 and 8 percent as I recall. But most of the others were unscathed with just -1 and -3 for the top two deciles. And I suspect the methodology will have missed the runaway wage inflation of "the few" in the top category.

It doesn't do to exaggerate the differences, which are there, any more than to exaggerate the simularities, which also are there.

The ends are mostly fine. The means are where the debate should be.

9:31 am, February 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

the trot Owen
Well, that makes a refereshing change from being called a McCarthyite or an anti-Communist witchhunter,, I suppose.

10:04 am, February 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Stephen Byers and Alan Johnson are Tories are they?

Owen has officialy self-destructed!

If anyone's seen his brain or his moral compass, please return it to:
Rat Boy,
c/o John McDonnell MP,
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA.

3:03 pm, February 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, just come up with a new slogan for McDumbo's campaign:

Instead of "Another world is possible", how about
"A nutter's world is possible"!

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

3:05 pm, February 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...


It's always a pleasure, never a chore.

3:15 pm, February 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...


for trot read McCarthyite or an anti-Communist witchhunter.

By the way...any answer for the proceeds of growth conundrum?

10:56 pm, February 14, 2007


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