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.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

More reasons to vote Hazel

In today's New Statesman she says:

"Loyalty is an underestimated quality. I've been loyal to the Prime Minister for ten years and I'm proud of what we've done. When we get a new Labour prime minister, then I will be loyal to our new prime minister and then I'll be called a Brownite loyalist."

Good stuff. I await a full range of jeering comments from the usual suspects.

30 Comments:

Anonymous sarcastic git said...

"When we get a new Labour prime minister, then I will be loyal to our new prime minister and then I'll be called a Brownite loyalist."

Silly woman!

Everyone knows John McDonnell's going to be the next Prime Minister!!!

La la la la la la, I'm off with the fairies again, time to send for the men in white coats ...

7:57 pm, March 08, 2007

 
Anonymous boredwiththedeputyleadership said...

Hazek probably would be a McDonnell loyalist. She would just re-discover her left-wing roots in an amazing 180-degree about-turn.However, I don't think she'd quite make his Cabinet.

10:07 am, March 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for some historical counter-factual speculation. I wonder at what point would Hazel have decided that loyalty to PM Ramsay MacDonald basically meant being disloyal to the Labour Party and everything it stood for. Loyalty is a virtue, but having a critical friend is more useful than a Blearsbot.

11:27 am, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous
As my grandad was denied the place at university he had won because of Ramsay MacDonald's 1931 cuts package I really, really resent the idea that there is somehow a linkage or analogy between the kind of politics people like me or Hazel Blears represent and the kind of politics Ramsay MacDonald was responsible for.

There are many legitimate disagreements you can have with Blair and Blairites but the comparison with MacDonald is moronic. He went into coalition with Tories, cut public spending, presided over massive unemployment and split the party. Blair has won as 3 overall majorities, virtually eliminated long-term unemployment and presided over massive increases in public spending.

12:27 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Peter said...

Dear Luke

As you know, I'm reluctant to stray into the policy arena, which invariably divides us, prefering to focus on structure and process, which mainly unites.

But the Labour Party is being faced with a vote in the House of Commons on Trident shortly in which it appears the Blair government is yet again prepared to defy Party and win with Tory support. As for your Blair victory claims, it could be argued the Tories just lost in 1997. We both know we would have won under Smith or Kinnock or Brown. Talking of whom, wasn't it Brown, rather than Blair, who gave us policies to eliminate long-term unemployment and increase public spending?

Surely, extravagent and inaccurate claims for Blairism are not likely to aid your search for a seat. Wouldn't a more sensitive appreciation of political reality be more befitting?

To clarify your 'kind of politics', I'm still eagerly awaiting details of Hazel's role in secret talks with Hayden Phillips between Conference and the emergency NEC on 14 December last year....a reason for abandoning Hazel?

12:51 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Peter

it will not be necessary for the Tories to vote in order for the Government to win the Trident replacement vote. Even if the rebellion is as large as the 100 suggested in the press, that + LIb Dems + Nats + SDLP + independents = about 170 votes, whereas the Government minus 100 rebels = 252. So victory is not dependent on Tory votes. I would have hoped that you would think that even MPs who disagree with the policy would feel honour-bound to vote for a Manifesto commitment.

As for "extravagent and inaccurate claims for Blairism" being "not likely to aid my search for a seat" I am content to be judged on my political record and views which are public. I beat local councillors in both the Aldershot and Castle Point selections with the same views I have now - indeed in Castle Point I beat a field of over 30 people who applied. I see no selectoral advantage in tacking, spinning or hiding my politics and even if I did see an advantage I wouldn't do so because I'm trying to get selected to advance the politics I believe in, not to win a popularity contest for who can say loudest what they think people want to hear.

1:06 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

P.S. the politics I promote seem to be reasonably popular with the London CLPs who are deciding who to nominate for the NPF. Many thanks to members in:

Bromley & Chislehurst CLP
Camberwell & Peckham CLP
Carshalton & Wallington CLP
Croydon C CLP
Dulwich & W Norwood CLP
Hornchurch & Upminster CLP
Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Vauxhall CLP

for nominating me so far.

1:09 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As my grandad was denied the place at university he had won because of Ramsay MacDonald's 1931 cuts package I really, really resent the idea that there is somehow a linkage or analogy between the kind of politics people like me or Hazel Blears represent and the kind of politics Ramsay MacDonald was responsible for."

Not a linkage with what Ramsay MacDonald went on to do, but certainly a similarity in the tribal loyalism which seems to produce almost unquestioning devotion to the leadership. Many in the 1929-31 Labour Cabinet were extremely distressed by the inability of the government to bring about the progressive social change they had hoped for, but few (apart from maveriks such as Maxton and Mosley) actually had the courage to challenge the Prime Minister. And then he deserted Labour, even taking a few leading 'moderates' (crypto-Tories) with him. I guess it all comes from the trade union ethic of collective solidarity. A worthwhile ideal, of course, but it should not be allowed to get in the way of free-thinking, open debate, and willingness to question the leadership's wisdom. Blears' identification with this sort of loyalism is surely not encouraging for people who appreciate that Labour needs to truly renew itself if it is to reconnect with the voters and maintain itself in power. We have to accept that Labour governments are far from perfect and present constructive suggestions as to how they can be improved. I do not trust Blears to accept that diagnosis.

1:33 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Wrong.

The "trade union ethic of collective solidarity" was what motivated men like Bevin to stay loyal to Labour in 1931 rather than throwing their lot in with MacDonald. Many of them lost their seats in consequence of their loyalty to collective decision-making and to the party. Outside Parliament in the '30s they rebuilt the party from the unions, or in Morrison's case a base in local government.

1:38 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Peter said...

Dear Luke

Trident and the Manifesto - if you can show us the audit trail of debate through members, the National Policy Forum, Conference into the Manifesto, then yes I would expect Labour MPs to support the Government.

But let's stop deluding ourselves that because No. 10 slipped nuclear deterrent renewal into the 2005 General Election Manifesto every member of the Party is obliged to support the government's current position.

2:12 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

"I would have hoped that you would think that even MPs who disagree with the policy would feel honour-bound to vote for a Manifesto commitment."

This is really disingenuous Luke. I know it's your big issue, but this is pretty cheap. The manifesto did not commit the government to spending this sort of money on new nuclear weapons: that would have required an enormous debate in the party. There is absolutely no reason to be taking this decision at this time (other than to try and tie people into voting for this absurdity, because of this 'manifesto commitment' claim).
When the government promised a debate about this, let's be absolutely frank about it, it wasn't a debate with the Tories (although there are now even some Tories who appreciate the nonsense of renewing) but a debate within the party. The fact that they've tried to avoid us having a debate doesn't remove that fact.

I don't think any MP should feel bound by the sentence in the manifesto when they vote on this, because this decision does not need to be taken, so the government has forced people to rebel unneccesarily.

4:45 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Anonymous grimupnorth said...

Peter and Duncan have said what I would have said....as far as I'm concerned Blair has engaged in coalitions with the Tories to get unpopular policies through (Iraq,top-up fees, and now Trident).Had he carried on , he would have presided ovver the public spending cuts which Gordon B has just announced, wicked immigration policies, and imperiaist claptrap abou Britishness. The Ramsay MacDonald analogy is pretty spot-ob,m I'd say,Oh yes, and Blair's also split the Party big-style.

5:16 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Anonymous james said...

I don't think anyone's proposing we disarm Trident before the next general election, so no one is suggesting that we break the manifesto commitment to retain our nuclear deterrent. Furthermore, the immediate decision is on the renewal of the Vanguard submarine, which is the launch platform not the nuclear weapon in itself. This is a non-argument.

5:38 pm, March 09, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

MPs would feel more bound by manifesto commitments if these had been properly arrived at by the party at large or the PLP at large.

Loyal MPs are vitally important and a treasure. But there is loyal and there is loyal.

Hazel might just make it into a McDonnell cabinet because she is so loyal it hurts, and that can be a good thing.

Perhaps Number Two to JC at the Foreign Office?

12:15 am, March 10, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hazel Blears: a number two in every sense!

Dopey tart, she's a disgrace to the sisterhood.

5:07 pm, March 10, 2007

 
Blogger el tom said...

'I try my best in all circumstances not to have my own views or think for myself.

Except when we're talking about my local hospital.

Er...'

2:46 pm, March 11, 2007

 
Anonymous el tosser said...

"I think only Neal Lawson and Jon Cruddas should be allowed to debate the future of the Labour party, NOT Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke ...

"Er, oh dear, seems I'm a hypocritical little shit. Never mind, eh?!" :/

8:53 pm, March 11, 2007

 
Blogger HenryG said...

I'm interested Luke why do you prefer Blears over Benn? Hilary worked for years in the old MSF and is centre-right. I thought he would have been your cup of tea.

10:22 pm, March 11, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lukey-poo, what was so great about Blair and New Labour in the 90s was the determination to challenge all accepted orthodoxies in the party to ensure that it was turned into the incredible electoral machine that won 3 general elections. That kind of revisionism was necessary and useful for Labour. I think revisionism is useful and necessary now as well. When millions of people have stopped voting Labour since 1997, half the party's membership has left, and the Tories are enjoying a resurgence, the Blears' analysis of trying to assure everyone that all is OK as it is will no longer be sufficient.

11:21 pm, March 11, 2007

 
Anonymous victim of Blair's cuts said...

"As my grandad was denied the place at university he had won because of Ramsay MacDonald's 1931 cuts package I really, really resent the idea . . ."

As I was denied legal aid to sue my employer when I was injured at work because of Tony Blair's cuts to legal aid packages I really, really resent ...

As I was denied a place at a further education college because of Tony Blair's cuts packages I really, really resent ...

As I was denied physiotherapy when I was injured because of Tony Blair's cuts packages I really, really resent ...

As I was denied high grade career guidance because of Tony Blair's cuts packages I really, really resent ...

As I was denied a grant to higher education because of Tony Blair's cuts packages (even though he was able to take advantage of them) I really, really resent ...

I'm sorry your grandfather was denied a higher education because of MacDonald's cuts package, sincerely. But don't you think you should concern yourself now with the people who are currently being denied what should be there for them - but are being denied them because of Blair's cuts (such as to legal aid, health and further & higher education)?

7:21 am, March 12, 2007

 
Anonymous dan said...

Oh look, now Sham is ripping into Tom Miller.

9:18 am, March 12, 2007

 
Anonymous Steve Terry said...

Glad to see you're getting a good debate going there, Luke. That's what we'd like to see more of here in Walthamstow.

10:19 am, March 12, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Hopefully the debate in Walthamstow will be conducted in slightly higher-minded way than the comments here. I think the rules for selections ban personal abuse ...

10:31 am, March 12, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Sham fella is bit demented, aye?

11:24 am, March 12, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Well Luke, don't you have to accept that you helped set the tone on responses in your remarks in an earlier thread in response to my initial points about the Trident replacement and the Scottish vote?

And isn’t it positively encouraging the lowest common denominator by starting this thread with “I await a full range of jeering comments from the usual suspects”

But I agree with you if you are saying let's try and aim for a bit of a quality debating standard on your blog - that is generally of a good standard.

11:27 am, March 12, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Dan, what the fuck are you on about?

This is the first time I've been online since last week.

You best apologise, boy.

11:37 am, March 12, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Sham

please do not swear or I will put on comment moderation.

11:51 am, March 12, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Sorry mate!

11:53 am, March 12, 2007

 
Blogger Jonathan Wood said...

This is a typical New Labour MP statement. It wouldn't matter if Thatcher switched side and became a Labour leader. They have blind loyalty and no conscience. That's why I'm voting for McDonnel, a real Labour MP supporting real Labour issues and not fighting for the Middle ground like Blair, Brown, Hazel Blears, Milliband and the rest of the cabinet.

1:20 pm, March 12, 2007

 
Anonymous victim of blair's cuts said...

I should like to apologise too. Your post was about mindless loyalty (i.e. obedience regardless of the moral issues involved). So of course you will not concern yourself now with the people who are currently being denied what should be there for them - but are being denied them because of Blair's cuts (such as to legal aid, health and further & higher education). Wonder what grandfather would think of that?

5:39 pm, March 12, 2007

 

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