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.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Accidents of timing

Spring/early summer 2003 - Diane Abbott MP reselected in trigger ballot
October 2003 - Diane Abbott MP reveals she is a sending her son to a £10,000-a-year private school

Monday 16 April 2007 - Diane Abbott MP reselected in trigger ballot after softening reputation with centre ground in her CLP with constant hints at support for Gordon Brown
Wednesday 18 April 2007 - Diane Abbott MP breaks cover to endorse ultra-left candidate John McDonnell for Labour Leader

Winner, political chutzpah award 2003 and 2007

Question - how many votes did Labour Left Briefing trade her in the Hackney Downs and Leabridge ward trigger ballots in return for backing McDonnell?

It does seem oddly coincidental that just before the trigger process Briefing were muttering about deselecting her and she was very un-enamoured with comrade McDonnell. Maybe I am just an old cynic.

36 Comments:

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Diane is NOT backing McDonnell for Leader. Diane is backing McDonnell for being on the Ballot.

This is utterly different. You surely know that?

Diane is actually backing Gordon - see Metro this week - but wants a lefty in the contest.

She might even vote John 1, Brown 2 - assuming there are three or more turns in the show.

But as you well know she is a Brownie.

How can you come out with such silliness this early in the day?

10:13 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

PS Like LLB would rely on her word ahead of a trigger ballot. Didn't you say she was unreliable?

10:16 am, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"Wednesday 18 April 2007 - Diane Abbott MP breaks cover to endorse ultra-left candidate John McDonnell for Labour Leader"

Nominating McDonnelll doesn't necessarily mean voting for him.
I don't know if she wants to vote for him or not, but in McD's endorsement page she just uses the word "nominate"

10:18 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Seeing as he knows he can't win, a nomination to help get him to 44 is a lot more valuable to him than a vote.

10:24 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

A nomination is a nomination. We need 44 MPs. John has votes by the thousands out there in the unions and the constituencies.But we have to get him on the BALLOT. Can I place on record my thanks to Diane A. Now where are Neil Gerrard and Harry Cohen????
PS:Bit slow off mark there, Luke. The endorsement was announced Wednesday.

10:27 am, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

Do you think that if she had been endorsed McD's nomination before the trigger, she would have lost votes from the centre, but if she has done it, she could have lost votes from the Left?
In the end was she between a rock and a hard place?

10:28 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

But Luke, you have repeatedly supported the idea of getting John McDonnell on the ballot paper.

In fairness, your reasons for wanting this are different from my own.

However, in truth, is your position on this matter all that different from Diane's?

10:45 am, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McDonnell's candidacy will be a joke if he's put on the ballot paper by erstwhile Gordon brown supporters.

More seriously this sort of shenanigans will damage Gordon. It will look like he or his supporters have manipulated the process for the sake of a fake, Albanian-style election. I think he needs to let it be known that he has no time for it.

Personally I am not a supporter (much) of Gordon. But if he is going to be leader then he can ill afford idiots like Abbott messing about in this way. It's going to be tough enough for him without this sort of nonsense.

11:05 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

"This sort of nonsense" You mean, er, an election? The only Albanian-style shenanigans will be if there is NO election.And, no, it won't be a joke if McDonnell gets on the ballot. It will be a very interesting and positive few weeks in Labour's history.It will also be a big shock for New Labour.

11:44 am, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous not very machiavellian said...

Just out of interest, Luke, do you think there would be anything improper about LLB "trading" their votes for a McDonnell nomination?

Surely that would genuinely be quite a big issue for them when deciding whether or not to support her.

11:51 am, April 20, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

No - not improper- good luck to them if that is what they did. Clever use of one of few times in cycle when activists have leverage over MPs.

12:04 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who have forgotten what the Great Lady looks like she will be on "Play it Again" BBC1 Sunday 22nd May 8pm, oh is that another accident of timing that she is going on a reality TV show a week after her trigger ballot was announced.

1:04 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ grimupnorth

If you had bothered to read what I wrote then I would very much welcome an election. But not a farce where candidates are only on the ballot paper because the Big Chief decides 9or gives the impression of deciding) to let some of them on as a way of ensuring he wins 90% while the village idiot of the PLP wins 10%

1:44 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"For those of you who have forgotten what the Great Lady looks like she will be on "Play it Again" BBC1 Sunday 22nd May 8pm, oh is that another accident of timing that she is going on a reality TV show a week after her trigger ballot was announced. "

I think the Play it Again show and her appearance was announced some months ago (in late 2006). She'll try and learn to play piane IIRC

2:14 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

"anonymous" - charming.

Diane has actually made positive references to John's candidacy before (on an earlier This Week she said that if John were to get on the ballot paper he was likely to surprise some people - by which I assumed she meant the mainstream media - with his level of support). She hasn't said how she's voting, and she doesn't have to.

I think it's imagining a rather closer relationship between Gordon and Diane than exists to assume this is 'the big chief' letting his supporters back someone else, etc. (and works on an assumption that Diane is rather less independent-minded than she generally appears to be!)

Although I'm sure Diane, like others, will have been impressed by the amount of grassroots support for John McDonnell emerging from some of her constituency activists, I would be rather surprised if it took the form of the sort of horse-trading that Luke referred to (not that there'd be anything wrong with such horse-trading if its taking place elsewhere!!)

4:35 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous susan calder valley CLP said...

"the village idiot of the PLP"
Anonymous, what a despicable thing to say. Tell that to the many people in my constituency who wrote to my MP asking her to nominate John.ie after seeing him speak at a local meeting. Actually, I don't even know why I'm bothering to reply to your horrible venom.Such remarks are beneath contempt.

5:03 pm, April 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Angry Ox Lab said...

When is Owen going to reply to my questioning of whether he is happy with John McDonnell being "endorsed" by Peter Tatchell, who is apparently planning to stand as the Green Party candidate against Oxford East MP Andrew Smith? Doesn't he think this is a slap in the face for of all us hardworking Oxford Labour activists?

2:22 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Oh grow up Angry Ox Lab - while if the boot were on the other foot and Tatchell were a Labour member endorsing a Green candidate he might be chucked out, Tatchell does have a certain amount of credibility on e.g. Equality, Peace and Justice (though he is a complicated fella). There is nothing wrong with accepting and publishing an endorsement from outside the party. Grow up!

3:05 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Descartes said...

Exactly Chris:
A endorses B does not mean B endorses A. Don't they teach them anything up at Oxford these days?

3:07 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Luke - might I suggest you change the comment time line to include the date? It is hard to follow if comments stretch over a couple of days or more ...

3:08 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Very Angry Ox Lab said...

Ha.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with McDonnell being endorsed by figures outside the Labour Party. That's not my point (although I think it undermines his campaign when he is endorsed by people who, last time I checked, were members of Respect or crazed Trot groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty).

I would say there is something wrong with McDonnell being endorsed by a man who wants to try his best to contribute to Labour losing a highly marginal seat. Or perhaps you think it would be best for Oxford East to be Lib Dem rather than Labour?

Descartes - when B proudly displays A's endorsement on B's website, I think it is legitimate to ask questions.

I think Tatchell has done a lot of good work. I would have had no problems with Tatchell's endorsement of McDonnell were it not for the fact that he wants to deseat a hardworking Labour MP.

http://www.oxfordmail.net/news/headlines/display.var.1329213.0.tatchell_wants_to_be_oxford_mp.php

It's not even sensible. How is McDonnell supposed to increase his support in the PLP when he's happy to display endorsements from figures who are actively campaigning against Labour MPs? It is madness!

3:27 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"would say there is something wrong with McDonnell being endorsed by a man who wants to try his best to contribute to Labour losing a highly marginal seat. Or perhaps you think it would be best for Oxford East to be Lib Dem rather than Labour?"

Greens take away votes from LDs increasing Lab chances to survive

6:29 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ susan calder valley

hilarious to read you complain of "horrible venom" when the McDonnell camp wins all prizes for nasty sectarianism and slagging off good comrades like Jon Cruddas

6:29 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

I've never read any comments slagging off Jon Cruddas from McDonnell supporters. (I'm not denying they may exist, and nobody can be held responsible for the words of their supporters, but I've not read it). I've read people saying they haven't decided how to vote, and they're yet to be entirely convinced by Cruddas, but if that's slagging off, I'd hate to know what to call a lot of the comments that appear on these blogs!

Whoever it was that suggested that Brown was 'letting' Diane Abbott nominate John would appear to be undermined by today's story in the Guardian. Apparently Brown is trying to get ten of John's supporters to nominate him instead (for no other purpose than to ensure a coronation). Which personally I consider to be an affront to party and union members who would like to play a part in the process: even those who would like to vote for Gordon Brown.

6:55 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John McDonnell's entire campaign has been devoted to criticising everyone else in the party, and alienating anyone not quite as left wing as him who would actually like to use the leadership election to cast a left vote against Brown.

McDonnell himself is entirely negative about Cruddas in his blog in January.

The left deserves to lose if it puts up a candidate who sounds like they don't actually want to be in the same party as everyone else

8:19 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

You seem to be describing a completely different campaign from the one I've been watching (and, where possible, joining in with).

Surprisingly sensitive for someone using the sort of insulting language you engaged in earlier (assuming you're the same 'anonymous').

The campaign is very broad-based and welcoming. That's not to say policies or decisions haven't been criticised. That's part of politics.

9:23 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Well well, what a surprise, lots of anonymous comments attacking John McDonnell. What guts.

Just quickly: Peter Tatchell sent his endorsement to the campaign last December. He's there in his capacity as a human rights activist and campaigner for gays rights. I'm glad that we've received his endorsement and indeed I put his endorsement up. I would like to clarify that I don't actually possess psychic powers and had no idea he was standing against a Labour candidate in the upcoming general election.

If you see the John4Leader endorsements page, you will see growing grassroots support right across the Labour party and trade union movement: www.john4leader.org.uk/endorsements.html The _vast_ majority of these people are members of the Labour party.

Yes, some McDonnell supporters have asked questions in the past about Cruddas. That's not the same as "slagging off", is it? Are you so intolerant of debate that you won't allow any criticisms of your candidate?

The main two criticisms of Cruddas were thus:

1) In a pamphlet co-authored with John Harris, he advocated reducing the union vote at Conference from 50% to a third. I don't think it was ultra-left to criticise this given (frankly) it goes further than many Blairites (such as Hilary Benn or indeed Hazel Blears) have ever proposed. However, Cruddas clarified his position and made clear that he does not support any change to Conference. Therefore this is no longer a problem.

2) He voted for the war. Again, I don't this is really an ultra-left criticism - 139 Labour MPs voted against the war, and yet in the crowded deputy leadership race, not a single candidate did so. However, Cruddas has now said that his vote was a mistake and that he supports troop withdrawal.

On this basis I will have no hesitation in voting for Jon Cruddas and I know that the majority of McDonnell supporters will do likewise.

If you're going to throw these semi-hysterical "criticisms" about, maybe you should at least have the decency to say who you are instead of hiding behind "anonymous"? Just a thought!

10:07 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Still quite angry Ox Lab said...

"Just quickly: Peter Tatchell sent his endorsement to the campaign last December. He's there in his capacity as a human rights activist and campaigner for gays rights. I'm glad that we've received his endorsement and indeed I put his endorsement up. I would like to clarify that I don't actually possess psychic powers and had no idea he was standing against a Labour candidate in the upcoming general election."

That is fair enough (in that you didn't know about his parliamentary ambitions).

But maybe his endorsement should come down? Will it not embarass the campaign if he IS selected as the Green Party candidate in Oxford East?

p.s Whoever pointed out that a strong Green vote could weaken the Lib Dems - a good point that I had considered, but I really don't think Peter Tatchell is standing as part of a subtle strategy to ensure that Oxford East remains Labour...

11:04 pm, April 21, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

"That is fair enough (in that you didn't know about his parliamentary ambitions)."

Good. I hope in future you won't resort to such unreasonable attacks. Once again, I'm not psychic and when I put it up weeks ago I was hardly in a position to know this - indeed, it is still apparently conjecture.

"But maybe his endorsement should come down? Will it not embarass the campaign if he IS selected as the Green Party candidate in Oxford East?"

That's fair enough. Let me know if this is confirmed.

Maybe in future we can be a bit more comradely about this? Not only are John4Leader supporters overwhelmingly Labour party members - but the campaign has actually recruited thousands of ex-members (and first time members) to the party. Given our party has been dying for a decade now, I hope that we can at least be applauded for this.

I won't hold my breath, though...

2:53 pm, April 22, 2007

 
Anonymous newsflash said...

Michael Meacher claims '200 nominations in the bag'

Michael Meacher promised one of the biggest upsets in modern British political history when he claimed to have received the nominations of around 200 MPs.

"I can confirm that at least 200 MPs at last count have agreed to nominate me," he told reporters. "John McDonnell, on the other hand, has minus 5 nominations. If that."

If confirmed, the claims will spark panic among Gordon Brown's leadership team who had themselves claimed to have over 200 Labour MPs signed up this week. It will also spell disaster for John McDonnell's campaign.

However, doubts were raised over the claims when it became clear that Meacher was unaware that only members of the Parliamentary Labour Party were able to nominate candidates for the Labour leadership.

One journalist who was shown the list claimed that 197 of the names were members of the Opposition. Among them were David Cameron, George Osborne, Oliver Letwin and Kenneth Clarke.

Interviewed at one of his country retreats, Meacher struck back at suggestions that Tory MPs were not eligible to nominate candidates for Labour leader.

"Believe me, I've spent months reading over the rules and nowhere does it say that Tory MPs cannot nominate me," he responded. "It would be flagrantly undemocratic to prevent members of other parties from nominating candidates. That so many Tory MPs wish to nominate me simply reflects how much respect there is for my unparallelled experience."

"I'm always seen myself as a cross between Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee," he added.

He also repeated controversial claims that the CIA could have been responsible for the Norman invasion of England in 1066.

"They could have scrambled fighter jets, couldn't they? Why didn't they? We're a NATO ally, aren't we? I'm not saying that they were behind it - I'm just asking questions. The families of the victims of the invasion have a right to answers."

Meanwhile, police have revealed that 123 Labour MPs have taken injunction orders against Michael Meacher.

"If he f*cking rings me again, I'm going to f*cking lamp the stupid w*anker," said one MP.

3:30 pm, April 22, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

Good also to see Neil Gerrard backing John.....

3:48 pm, April 22, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McD is not ultra left or anything like it. He is a member of the Labour Party after all. Have you got so right wing in your middle age that you thing McD really is lefty left left?

10:23 pm, April 22, 2007

 
Anonymous Angry Ox Lab said...

Peter Tatchell has been confirmed as the Green Party's candidate for Oxford East.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6587311.stm

I think his endorsement should be removed from the John4leader site.

12:01 pm, April 24, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Thanks for letting me know. I'll take the endorsement down when I get in tonight.

All I'd say once again is that I'm not psychic!

12:39 pm, April 24, 2007

 
Anonymous Content Ox Lab said...

Thankyou, that is the decent thing to do.

Let's hope that a strong Green performance will undermine the Lib Dems and lead to Labour victory!

1:20 pm, April 24, 2007

 
Blogger Owen said...

Fingers crossed and best of luck

1:24 pm, April 24, 2007

 

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