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 12, 2007

Purgatory exists

Not being religious, it never crossed my mind that purgatory actually exists.

But I've now found out it does, and the venue is Euston Road on the last Saturday in March:

"John4 Leader
National Rally
Saturday 31st March
Shaw Theatre, Euston Road, London


Palme-D'or-winning director Ken Loach with an extract from his new film, yet to be seen in cinemas
Sheik "Crystaltones" Thompson – jazz legend known for playing with Courtney Pine, Branford Marsalis & Queen Latifah and leading his own bands "Dedeh" and "Cue Ensemble"
Steve Gribbin – popular comedian/satirist formerly of Skint Video
1st of May Band – music from Banner Theatre: political theatre and music entertaining and challenging for over 30 years
Dave Sharp – folk/blues/rock country/punk from the co-founder & lead guitarist of British rock band "The Alarm" and collaborator with Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson
Lost Marbles String Band – Appalachian blues
"Jago" Panjabi folk & dance
Rob The Rub – acoustic guitar with a political edge

Plus speakers including:

John McDonnell MP
Tony Benn
Jeremy Dear
Matt Wrack
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Mark Serwotka
Andy Reed
Doug Nicholls
John Leach
Jim Mortimer
& a range of community and grass-roots activists"

How many speakers? Ten, not including the "range of community and grass-roots activists".

It could be less a case of "were you still up for Portillo" than "were you still awake for Jim Mortimer".

Incidentally, Jim, who I used to be a member of Browning Ward Labour Party with in Bermondsey, should be able to use his speech to tell people about the kind of election results Labour can expect under McDonnell, having as General Secretary masterminded Labour's 27% effort to come third in 1983.

The invite says "Be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment if travelling from afar". And be sure to leave the Labour Party early to avoid disappointment if you think John McDonnell actually has a chance of winning.


Blogger Owen said...

Free publicity! Brilliant!

9:57 pm, March 12, 2007

Blogger Harry Barnes said...

With all those turns and speakers, at least there won't be time for John to deliver his own Manifesto at Euston.

10:42 pm, March 12, 2007

Anonymous Andrea said...

"having as General Secretary masterminded Labour's 27% effort to come third in 1983"

do you mean the GE? Labour was still second...by a thiny margin, but still second

10:43 pm, March 12, 2007

Anonymous duncan said...

Thanks Luke - I was going to post that as a comment anyway :o)

(without the predictable left-bashing coda)

10:51 pm, March 12, 2007

Anonymous theholyghost said...

What was Gordon's figure in the last opinion poll,Luke?
Purgatory? How about an all-day rally with Hazel Blears, John Hutton,Chris Bryant, Tom Watson, and all the other wretched creeps, yes-men and bag-carriers we usually have to put up with at Labour Party "conference."
Don't think your cheap dissing of this event is going to boost your chances in Walthamstow, Luke.They have a bit more respect there for left ideas and socialist MPs.

11:15 pm, March 12, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I am not seeking the support of the tiny number of people who want John McDonnell as leader of the Labour Party. I gather they are backing John Cryer anyway.

7:33 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

With all due respect, I'm sure that they're backing "Anyone But Luke"!

By the way, I'll save a seat for you on 31st March. You can sit in between me and Graham Bash. How does that sound?

8:16 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I see enough of Graham at CLP meetings anyway ... won't he be watching West Ham at that time on a Saturday?

8:32 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

On a more serious note whilst I don't expect hard left votes in selections I go for I can produce active members of CLPD etc. from both CLPs where I've been a PPC who once I was selected enjoyed campaigning with me and would be extremely complimentary about the kind of candidate I was.

8:45 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

West Ham? Pah. It's a three-line whip. No excuses.

I'm sure that you were a very dedicated, hardworking candidate. However, the issue is that we don't want someone who puts slavish loyalty to the leadership (and policies cooked up by a few unelected and unaccountable advisors in Blair's living room) above loyalty to the labour movement in a seat held by an extremely hardworking and respected 'Real Labour' MP.

It's nothing personal!

8:56 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

That would be the "slavish loyalty" that saw me oppose top-up fees and foundation hospitals last time I was a PPC!!!!

9:03 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

Luke, you spent most of your time attacking the left and members of your own party on this blog. There's nothing you like better. I think that's a pretty good indicator of what you'd be like as an MP. Thanks, but no thanks.

9:35 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Owen: yes. And with Luke's stat-wanks you'll know this is getting hundreds of unique visitors and hard won page impresssions as I write.

But writing as someone who used to organise a lot of benefit entertainments for worthy political causes it has to be said that this showbill is overpacked with both "talent" and "me too" speakers. There is enough on the bill to have THREE shows not ONE.

Three to five turns of each sort is plenty. So if any one scratches do not replace them.

9:38 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

Don't worry Chris, attendance isn't compulsory

9:40 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Luke: can you tell us your CURRENT line on Top Up Fees and Foundation Hospitals?

We know about your lines on Trident (lies!!), War, Nuclear Power, Triangulation (mistaken!!), Hazel Blears (mistaken!!), the Brown Bomber, anyone-who-disagrees-with-you, false dichtomies (we have them!!), polls that agree with you a bit, party history, sectarianism, malice, mayhem.

9:44 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

OK Owen. Practical tips. Two stages. As used on the awesome Rock Against Reagan entertainment at the Mandela Building (raising funds for toilet paper and san pro in Nicaragua and protesting at the bombing of Tripoli) but also if the top of the bill insists on going near the middle of the bill make sure they don't introduce an hour's gap into the programme.

Bill: A Certain Ratio, Jazz Defectors, Bogshed, Distant Cousins, Biting Tongues, Steve Diggle's Flag of Convenience ... and no speakers at all.

Timings in odd minutes. As used on the cuddlesome hug a seal Greenpeace do. Line up: too many very disparate acts headlined by John Martyn. Funnily enough on stage at 7:43 commands ten times more respect and punctuality than 7:45.

Two sittings. As used at an awesome Manchester Against Aparthied gig at the Free Trade Hall. Twice as many tickets sold!! First instalment Frank Chickens, Railway Children, Lemn Sissay, Potato 5. Second instalment Bhundu Boys, Distant Cousins, Microdisney, Tippa Irie and Pato Banton. AA Youth last seen disappearing stage left with wads of fivers.

I could go on. But that would be tedious.

I know it's not compulsory Owen. that only comes after the succession. But let's keep that on the QT.

(Only joking, and good luck with the event)

9:56 am, March 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Luke, you spent most of your time attacking the left and members of your own party on this blog."

Without wanting to defend Luke the Nuke too much, don't you and your SYN comrades spend most of your time whining about 'Blairites' (i.e. everyone who disagrees with you in the Labour Party)?

Vote John McDonnell
Because A Nutter's World Is Possible

10:01 am, March 13, 2007

Anonymous David Floyd said...

I'm tempted to go to this rally on the grounds that it's the sort of thing that'll never happen again.

A bit of time travel without the need for a time machine. Living history.

11:49 am, March 13, 2007

Anonymous Miles said...

Admit it.
You think McDonnell might win.
You are publicising his event so you can claim later that you supported him.

11:54 am, March 13, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

Anon 10:01 - quality!

Great to see I'm not the only one who thinks McDonnell's a nut!!!

1:17 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous Duncan said...

Oh John Cryer would be excellent :o)

1:38 pm, March 13, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

Oh come on Sham, posting anonymous comments and then praising them - a little bit sad, don't you think?

Deny it all you want but it's typical "Sham-ese" - including that tagline which you've used repeatedly.

But anyway, keep up the good work - you discredit Blairites far better than I ever could!

1:50 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous BigIssues said...

Well, before all the Hazel Blears and John McDonnell supporters fall out, here’s someone's campaign that we can all agree to disagree with…

Nic Careem, a Labour party member in Camden, sent an email round robin yesterday about why he is going to be organising John Bird's campaign for mayor of London:

From: NicCareem@aol.com
Date: Mar 12, 2007 11:36 AM
Subject: John Bird for Mayor of London? The facts
To: NicCareem@aol.com

'Dear Friend (sic)

'My friend of many years John Bird, founder the Big Issue and prospective London Mayoral candidate, has invited me to become his Campaign Director and Policy Advisor when he officially declares his intention to run.

'I have given his offer a great deal of thought and have decided to accept it.'

He says:

'It was reported last week in some newspapers that John Bird was desiring to run as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London. This is not the case, while John is flattered to be considered by David Cameron and co he has not made up his mind as to which banner he will be running under...if any! I have heard that The Lib/Dems have also made overtures.'

So whilst Bird may run as an independent the only two parties he has stated he has had any contact with are the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. And he is actually flattered to be considered as a potential Tory candidate and is willing to consider this as an option. This shows that under all the populist rhetoric this is basically a right wing campaign.

So all you Hazelnuts and McDonnellistas, let's agree to disagree over many things, but not the essentials. We're a year away from the London elections – something for us to unite on.

2:13 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous Anon 10:01 said...

But John Bird is bonkers. Big respect to him for founding the Big Issue, but the man is a certifiable loon. He will make Red Ken seem like the 'sane' candidate! Wahoo!

Why would Sham post anonymously? Why would he miss the opportunity for some McDonnell-bashing? Face it, wee Owen, you don't have to be a deranged Blairite to think that McD has had one too many slices of fruitcake.

2:22 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous Andy said...

I suppose one should be grateful that Pat Mortimer isn't speaking....

3:18 pm, March 13, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

Owen, Owen, Owen, what's really sad, not to mention slightly demented, is your unbridled devotion to John McDonnell, quite possibly the worst Labour MP in history. Come on, do you seriously, seriously believe such a cowardly, treacherous little cretin could ever become the Prime Minister of Britain? Seriously ...

There's no need, absolutely no need for me to attack the dishonourable member for Hayes & Harlington anonymously; I'm proud to do so, and I'd tell him to his face if the opportunity arose.

Government's about being strong, not weak, doing what's right, not wrong.

ps. How many times has McDonnell voted against the Government? And how exactly would he expect loyalty given how shamefully disloyal he's been!?!

pps. The tagline? Yep, I did think it up a while back, and I'm delighted anon 10:01 has reached the same conclusion.

John McDonnell
A nutter's world is possible


4:29 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous an historian said...

"quite possibly the worst Labour MP in history"

Really showing yourself up there, Sham.

5:04 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous socialistinlimbo said...

Is John Cryer on the list for Walthamstow? Look forward to his return to the Campaign Group.

5:10 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous cryer4MP said...

Hang on a minute.Andy Reed????? Has anyone told Kerron Cross??

5:12 pm, March 13, 2007

Anonymous David said...


Whilst I would characterise myself on the modernising wing of the party, I spent most of teh 1997 campaign working in John McD's seat as it was my local key seat.

Throughout that campaign john's obvious sincerity, devotion to his community and to the party shone through. Hence his above average swing.

You may not agree with all of his policies and his actions, and I'm not convinced he should be leader on many levels but what you can't say is that he "is the worst Labour MP in history." It's unnecessarily offensive and frankly lessens people's view of you.

9:18 pm, March 13, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

David, likewise I get annoyed when people describe Tony Blair as the "worst Labour leader in history" and the "worst Prime Minister since Neville Chamberlain" - the latter being a quote from Bob Marshall-Andrews, a current Labour MP!

As you'll no doubt have noticed, the tactics and vitriol of McDonnell's own supprters are no less extreme than my own views.

10:16 am, March 14, 2007

Anonymous rose hill said...

David wrote: "You may not agree with all of his policies and his actions, and I'm not convinced he should be leader on many levels but what you can't say is that he "is the worst Labour MP in history." It's unnecessarily offensive and frankly lessens people's view of you (Sham)."

Don't worry David. Our view of Sham couldn't be lessened!

7:29 am, March 16, 2007


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