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, April 12, 2007

Drafting candidates

According to today's Guardian a plot is afoot to run a "write-in" campaign for David Miliband - enough MPs publicly nominate him that he has to stand.

This is just cringe-worthy and desperate. You can't bully someone into running to be Prime Minister. It's not like twisting his arm to be CLP Treasurer.

The Westminster-centric nature of this is really alienating too - all of this is being conducted at a parliamentary level with no reference to whether anyone at a grassroots level in either the CLPs or the unions wants a non-left challenge to Brown. If there was demand for it it would be being expressed, in party meetings, in newspaper letters pages, in the blogosphere. But there's a deafening silence.

The Guardian cites a poll in "the Local Government Chronicle [that] showed 74% of council chief executives polled favouring Mr Miliband over Mr Brown as prime minister." So what? I would be more interested in what Labour Councillors, or shopfloor UNISON members working in councils, thought about this than the opinions of highly-paid and theoretically politically neutral local government civil servants.

Perhaps most irritating is the badging up that this is a"Blairite plot" - actually its a plot by a small - a very small - minority of Blairites. The rest of us want nothing to do with it.

I like and respect most of the people who are seeking an anti-Brown candidate. But as I've said before I think they have totally misjudged this both in terms of the appetite for it in the wider party and the strategic impact on Brown's positioning with the wider electorate and in the Party.


Anonymous reselect_diane_abbott said...

As someone on the left of the party, I am heartened to see that some on the right are also concerned about the Westminster cliquery surrounding this leadership election.

It seems to be something that all the media, but especially the Guardian, are guilty of.

What makes them think that Miliband can score a victory in the CLPs or unions, never mind the PLP?

11:27 am, April 12, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Meanwhile (in the same Guardian article) Gordon Brown's people are claiming he has 200 nominations in the bag. Meaning more than three candidates is arithmetically impossible. And is it a late April Fool's prank from New Labour HQ who say they are running the nominations like a gameshow! Mili Vanilli to win and then be exposed as a hoaxing mime artist? With svengali twiddler and fader Ablairio at the controls?

11:31 am, April 12, 2007

Anonymous stevemilligan said...


Is that you?

1:38 pm, April 12, 2007

Blogger El Dave. said...

Don't knock CLP Treasurers...

1:57 pm, April 12, 2007

Anonymous Duncan said...

It's ridiculous, isn't it. I was going to say it reminds of me student politics but actually, that often managed to be a bit more serious than this.

On a serious point: the party has been marketing its membership drive as 'Join Us to Join In: Elect the next Prime Minister' and new members have been coming in. There has to be a contest. But it has to be a contest about policies and not about cliquery and personal gripes. I've no objection to Gordon getting 200 nominations; but a candidate who challenges that policy programme should be nominated too so the party gets to have contest and a debate. For me, that candidate is John McDonnell.

2:02 pm, April 12, 2007

Anonymous EdWrite said...

Quite agree that the Milliband 'plot' is another example of Westminster alienating the general public. With today's "I'm not a candidate" statement, it seems this story ought to be put to bed.

The left-green alternative to Brown - a candidate most able to put those issues on to the leadership agenda - is Michael Meacher. As it stands, he still has more PLP support than McDonnell.

We don't want a coronation, we want an election and a debate. Michael's wealth of experience and second-to-none green credentials will offer a real alternative to Brown.

9:05 pm, April 17, 2007


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