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.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Peter Hain

Nice new website(s) - http://www.peterhain.org/ and http://www.hain4labour.org/ - from Peter Hain, though a bit fiddly to navigate, not least because it's not clear where one site ends and one starts.

He seems to have gone for a "I'll show you mine if you show me your's" strategy with his MP supporters, announcing all 33 declared ones in one go rather than dribbling them out as others are doing. My hunch is that 33 is the total of his support.

Having said that there's some quality in the 33 - a lot of whom are clearly there because of personal ties from working with him or because of the Welsh connection. Quite a few of them are not really MPs I ever saw as sharing Hain's politics - there is a pretty wide spectrum there from moderates like Nick Palmer, Jessica Morden, Mark Tami and Wayne David, through to Socialist Campaign Group members Mike Clapham, Dave Anderson and Bill Etherington ... and er... ex-Tory Shaun Woodward.

Speaking of ex-members of other parties, Peter's Liberal past is air-brushed out - I couldn't find any mention of the party he was in before 1977. Surely, given everyone knows he was one, it would be better to confront it and explain why he switched to Labour?

The organisational stuff on the site - e.g. email details for sub-regional, youth & student organisers, is good, as you would expect from a Phil Woolas-run campaign.

Should 33 supporters be it, and he fails to get selected, there could be a bit of a scramble by the campaigns that do hit 45 to sign up the candidateless Hainite MPs.

I can't help thinking that had Cruddas not run, Hain might have been in with far more of a shout - but a younger MP without frontbench baggage has managed to grab the soft left constituency - basically the Robin Cook vote - that Hain might have expected to be standard-bearer for.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Andrea said...

"He seems to have gone for a "I'll show you mine if you show me your's" strategy with his MP supporters, announcing all 33 declared ones in one go rather than dribbling them out as others are doing"

28 names were already out by some months. He added some when he launched the website this weekend (Campbell, Whitehead, Anderson, Hesford and Handrick).
He also tried to spin that he's the frontrunner because he has the highest number of public backers which is, well, just spin, because highest number of public backers doesn't mean highest number of backers overall (I think Johnson is said to have the highest number of backers so far).
Even Harriet H has 28 public backers...but no-one is thinking she's going to storm the contest

"My hunch is that 33 is the total of his support."

His camp is claiming he has 49 MPs

"Quite a few of them are not really MPs I ever saw as sharing Hain's politics - there is a pretty wide spectrum there from moderates like Nick Palmer, Jessica Morden, Mark Tami and Wayne David, through to Socialist Campaign Group members Mike Clapham, Dave Anderson and Bill Etherington ... and er... ex-Tory Shaun Woodward"

yup, he covers almost the whole Labour Party political spectrum: from Woodward to 2 McDonnell's supporters.

10:21 pm, March 19, 2007

 
Anonymous duncan said...

"to 2 McDonnell's supporters."

Two that are currently public...

10:57 pm, March 19, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"to 2 McDonnell's supporters."...Two that are currently public... "

Confess that you also have Woodward's butler support! :wink:

11:02 pm, March 19, 2007

 
Blogger HenryG said...

Do you think Harriet Harman will make the ballot Luke. And if not, why?

11:19 pm, March 19, 2007

 
Anonymous younger labour said...

It is intruiging he has organisers from both Young Labour and Labour Students.

Do they know Peter's views on the future destruction of the Party's youth sections?

11:50 pm, March 19, 2007

 
Blogger Adele said...

Both those people are active in Labour Students.

12:07 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Eddie Pringle said...

Interesting, though, that David Hanson, a leading Welsh MP and his own deputy at the Northern Ireland Office, told him to bugger off...

12:18 am, March 20, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Henry

no I think Harman is in a similar position to Hain, particularly since Hazel standing means she can't expect all the nominations of those who want to see a woman on the ballot paper.

7:34 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

Luke,

how do you think it's Hazel's position?
Do you think waiting so long before entering the race has "damaged" her?

8:41 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Cuddly Leftie said...

How can these people find Hain more inspiring than Cruddas? I find it hard to believe. It is a surprising list of supporters indeed - he's done well (though I'm really not sure having Woodward there helps his case in the slightest). He has been planning this for years though so has probably been pulling in the favours. Whilst I like his positioning, there is something slightly sleazy about him. Cruddas will still be getting my vote.

9:42 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Peter's collection reminds me of the quote that'all put together they amount to more than each one, but not quite enough for any one of them'

11:30 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous soft left said...

I really don't know who to vote for. Probably Cruddas, but I'm not sure. I just find Hain really annoying for some reason!

11:42 am, March 20, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

Peter Hain has,like John McDonnell, also been nominated by ASLEF. If the Cruddas camp does not declare for McDonnell then my guess is many on the hard left WILL vote for Hain because of his radical past, Northern ireland record, and the fact he's a traditional Labour guy.What's with the "sleazy" tag. OK, he's a bit OTT with the tan and wears expensive suits but on the couple of occasions I have methim he seemed sympathetic and prepared to listen.Also free of New labour gobbledegook.I saw him speak with Robin Cook a couple of years ago and he was clearly an ally.

11:54 am, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous soft left said...

grimupnorth, Hain seems to have found his conscience just recently, but where was he during the previous ten years? Up Bliar's arse, that's where! I really don't think I can trust him.

12:17 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous younger labour said...

Hain wants to destroy Labour Students and Young Labour and create a combined organisation that represents neither group. How can he therefore have a student AND youth organiser?

12:28 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Blogger jdc said...

"Quite a few of them are not really MPs I ever saw as sharing Hain's politics"

Well, I never saw Woolas as sharing Hain's politics either, really... which of the two am I completely wrong about?

12:53 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous not a hain supporter said...

"Hain wants to destroy Labour Students and Young Labour and create a combined organisation that represents neither group."

What nonsense. Hain proposed reforms to the party's youth structures a couple of years back which were welcomed by some young members and opposed by others on fairly predictable lines. Why the hysteria about 'destruction' etc?

1:51 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Blairite Socialist said...

"If the Cruddas camp does not declare for McDonnell then my guess is many on the hard left WILL vote for Hain because of his radical past, Northern ireland record, and the fact he's a traditional Labour guy.What's with the "sleazy" tag. OK, he's a bit OTT with the tan and wears expensive suits but on the couple of occasions I have methim he seemed sympathetic and prepared to listen.Also free of New labour gobbledegook.I saw him speak with Robin Cook a couple of years ago and he was clearly an ally."

What are you talking about?!

Firstly, Cruddas won't declare for McDonnell because Jon is a reasonably intelligent bloke.

Secondly, why would the hard Left support a government Minister rather than a backbencher? Cruddas has a much more sophisticated critique of where the government has gone wrong than Hain (who wants to champion equality by taking away City bonuses - a pretty gimicky policy suggestion).

Thirdly, what exactly is Hain's radical past? Remember he was originally a Liberal. Fine - so he was involved in the Anti Nazi League. But Blair and Brown were equally leftie back in the day (weren't we all, comrades?)

His record in Northern Ireland is nothing exceptional. Progress made there is not the sole result of Hain's presence. He's not more "traditional Labour" than Cruddas (not that I really think that comes into it). And as a loyal minister he is very closely associated with the New Labour government, which makes it harder for him to seem like a genuine 'renewal' candidate.

Cruddas actually has interesting policies for reinvigorating the party. Hain has a few soundbites. Maybe I'll give him a 3rd preference, but just can't understand him being anyone's first choice.

6:39 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous not a hain supporter said...

I basically agree with blairite socialist's points but I suppose susan meant Hain has longer standing credentials on the soft left than Cruddas so might gain trust/support from some on that basis. Not that it looks like it.

7:04 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous not a hain supporter or a cruddas supporter said...

Hain has longer standing credentials than Cruddas???!!!!

Is that becuase Hain is older than Cruddas or just because he's been an MP longer?

10:12 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Dan said...

"If the Cruddas camp does not declare for McDonnell then my guess is many on the hard left WILL vote for Hain".

As a Cruddas supporter, I am a little fed up with the hard left's constant bleating speculation about whether Jon will or won't back John McDonnell.

Let's get one thing clear, Jon Cruddas is running for DEPUTY LEADER.

If he doesn't wish to endorse a candidate for leader that is his choice.

Personally, I would be extremely disappointed if he came out for McDonnell. The reason people like me are backing Jon is because he is soft and centre left.

So please STOP harping on and semi-threatening not to support him because he will not endorse a leadership candidate.

If you don't want to vote for Cruddas fine, but please stop lecturing the rest of us.

11:24 pm, March 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Arnold Keswick said...

Something that struck me as specially entertaining about the Hain4Labour site, and which seems to have gone unremarked above, was the somewhat peculiar decision by his communications team that an excellent way of showing that Peter was reaching out to young people and understood their concerns would be to have a little video of Peter being interviewed by a man famous largely for portraying an irascible and cantankerous old man who is completely out of touch. Ho hum.

12:09 am, March 21, 2007

 
Blogger el Tom said...

I agree. I can't see why the McDonnellites (I would say Bennites but that's confusing these days) keep harassing me to be nasty to Meacher and nice to McDonnell, but don't expect these frequent hard left threats against the Crud to even mildly annoy. No sense of pragmatism or recognition of quid pro quo at all.

Dear hard left: vote for whoever you think is the best candidate, and so shall I. How does that sound?

As for Hain, he was my fave until Cruddas announced his candidature. I just feel that Hain is disingenuous about what he believes, having put up with policies he consistently, although in government, briefs against.

Furthermore, I think the amount of time he has put into this is a bit sickening. I was speculating about him standing a year and a half ago.

1:31 am, March 21, 2007

 

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