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, March 14, 2007

Gerald Kaufman

I forgive him his role as a sidekick of the ghastly Harold Wilson in the early '70s after

a) his great speech in the Trident debate

and

b) his endorsement of Hazel Blears

9 Comments:

Anonymous Adrian McMenamin said...

That will be the same gastly Harold Wilson that won four out of the five elections he contested?

I'd be proud to be associated with a record like that, as I am sure GK is.

Unfotunately, your hero, Mr Gaitskell, has a 100% record - of losing :-)

10:30 pm, March 14, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

"Won" in the sense of 3 score draws and only one proper victory in 1966 - and downsizing a Labour vote inherited from Gaitskell of 44% to one bequeathed to Callaghan of 39%. The Wilson who was in power for 8 years and whose only substantive achievement was the Open University and whose economic record was a catastrophe. And the Wilson who was so desperate to appease the left he allowed the rise of Benn and ignored Militant entryism.

10:46 pm, March 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

"allowed the rise of Benn"?? Gaitskell had Tony write his speeches!!

11:00 pm, March 14, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

Kaufman's speech was the pits. Time he retired

11:54 pm, March 14, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Susan, why should Kaufman retire? And what exactly was wrong with his speech?

I thought it was great, Especially the bit about "returning to the scene of the suicide"! Genius from one of Labour's best backbenchers!

12:40 pm, March 15, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

Gerlad Kaufman is nearly 80 so it's time he stood down. If I hear that "suicide note" reference again I shall scream. Gordon Brown is writing an even longer one and he isn't leader yet......

4:20 pm, March 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

I think Kaufman's speech illustrates that we should have had the debate in the party (at conference last year for example) rather than letting some mad old duffer stir up twenty-year old arguments in parliament, before voting with the Tories!!!

6:05 pm, March 15, 2007

 
Anonymous adrian mcmenamin said...

By the way, Luke, won as in the sense of single party government. That's a win after all.

And I think that Harold Wilson's economic record was pretty good given the circumstances - esp after the Tories had indulged in boom and bust madness in the early 1970s.

The comparison has to be with the Tories when confronting much of the same global issues in 1980 - the Tories crashed the economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s. Neither Harold nor Jim would even have cntmplated such an approach because as Labour politicians such a divisive approach would have turned their stomachs.

A day of Labour government is always better than a day of Tory rule.

It's funny how your views of that Labour government seem very similar to Patricia Hewitt at 1980 Labour Party conference.

10:33 pm, March 15, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Yes I agree that the 1964-70 and 74-79 Labour governments were preferable to Tory ones. But I can't pretend I would have enjoyed Wilson's leadership. I would have backed George Brown, for all his faults in 1963. Wilson had been a pretty cynical pseudo-left resigner in the early '50s, and his leadership challenge vs. Gaitskell was disgraceful. Callaghan as a union rightwinger would have been far more to my liking but didn't have the time to turn round the mess he inherited.

11:05 pm, March 15, 2007

 

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