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, May 21, 2007

Bullying backfires

This silly bit of political bullying is backfiring. I've just had a previously undecided party member tell me they are disgusted by it and are now seriously considering voting for Blears to try to rein in the anonymous MPs behind this story.


Blogger Bob Piper said...

You of all people, Luke, should know better than to read everything you read in the Independent. What is the evidence for this piece of nonsense? It is a typical piece of lazy-arsed journalism, with no attributed quotes and nothing to back it up. What is more, I don't think you believe it either, you are simply using this piece of trash to try to gather support for Blears.

11:13 am, May 21, 2007

Blogger Tom Freeman said...

I agree, Luke. If this story is accurate then it's stupid behaviour on any number of levels. I very much doubt I'll vote for Hazel, but at the Fabian hustings last week she got well-deserved applause for saying:

"I am sick and tired of people actually putting us into separate camps. So let's end it right here – no more Blairites, no more Brownites, just Labour... In case anybody hasn't noticed, Granita is shut."

Encouraging, at least, that Brown himself wants none of this nonsense.

12:08 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

Why are you surprised? Us on the left have been trashed by the Dour Leader and his bully boys.Now it's your turn....the clunking fist is clearly going ballistic.

12:12 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

If true this will backfire. It will polarize for blears and for the other five as the fracture line. HB could win at the first count. Aaaaargh.

12:24 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt this would ever come off even if they wanted it to. Trying to get the PLP all to transfer to other candidates and reach some kind of agreement would be a nightmare.

12:40 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

What's that phrase about being able to deal it out but not take it...

1:38 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Ian G said...

Well I was going to put Blears last without any prompting from Brown!

For once I agree with Owen, Luke is hardly in a position to complain about factionalism, considering he seems to spend more time attacking the left (be they of the soft or hard variety) than anything else!

1:58 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing that some people will see a conspiracy anywhere they were look. In terms of both policies and personalities, it is certainly obvious that Brown's supporters are going to prefer Harman to Blears. Or, indeed, any of the other candidates. Johnson has a track record of trying to forge consensus within Labour through comrpomise, Benn has voiced reservations about Blair's foreign policy, Hain has continued to straddle New and Old Labour, Cruddas has been openly critical of several government turns, and Harman is seen as a Brownite. Uniquely amongst the candidates, Blears is accurately seen as uncritically loyal to Blair and his agenda, and does not recognise the damage the out-going Prime Minister has done to the party in the eyes of both Labour supporters and floating voters.

2:22 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I'm not complaining, I'm pointing out it's backfiring and helping the candidate I support. Bring it on!

I think Brown himself understands that people like Hazel will be just as loyal to him as they were to Blair.

If Harriet gets knocked out in an early round I would expect many of the women MPs who support Harman (and some of the others) to have Hazel as their second preference.

Some of Harman's backers are far more obviously culturally New Labour than Hazel e.g. Hodge and Hewitt.

2:30 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

Brown clearly understands nothing other than his desire for absolute control.

2:40 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger Bill said...

They're positioning themselves well enough at the hustings - at the London Irish Centre Harman explicitly came out for equality of outcome (Brown's literature is for equality of opportunity), Blears was concentrated on winning the election, and her 'tour of the marginals' motiff.

2:50 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there is probably not much to this story but "not much" isn't the same as "nothing" I also know there is a little coterie of "Brownite" (more in their imaginations than in Gordon's views) mysogynists who are only interested in getting revenge for past slights and in doing down women. Hazel is only the first - wait for Ruth Kelly, Tessa Jowell, Patricia Hewitt, Margaret Beckett and many others all to get slagged off in the next few weeks.

3:53 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uniquely amongst the candidates, Blears is accurately seen as uncritically loyal to Blair and his agenda, and does not recognise the damage the out-going Prime Minister has done to the party in the eyes of both Labour supporters and floating voters.

The damage? Wot, like winning three elections?

Even if I accepted your argument - which I don't, it would merely show Hazel to be more honest and consistent that the rest who, let us remember, are all either serving government ministers who never felt so strongly about any of these things they were prepared to vote against them, or a former No 10 staffer who was deeply emeshed in the job of stitching up Labour Party conferences and selections to get these policies endorsed.

Honesty or opportunism, the choice is yours.

By the way, could somone please enlighten me as to when Benn has voiced reservations about Blair's foreign policy

3:59 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous duncan said...

Well as the New Labour factions joined forces on the leadership equivalent of this political bullying, it was more successful - I suspect you're right that this won't damage Hazel all that much. It does make you wonder whether some MPs around Brown really don't have anything better to do than scrat around for unneccesary leadership nominations and badmouth their ideological allies who happen to like Tony Blair. Not a group of people I'd like to see gain much influence.

I suspect the story itself is mostly inaccurate (as a surprisingly high percentage of political reporting has been surrounding these elections... sorry this election and the other... thing) - but I'm guessing there's some truth in it. I probably would have dismissed it completely if it hadn't been for last week's events. I'd believe almost anything of Brown now (anything bad that is!)

4:59 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous The Hard Left needs emotional support said...

still in the grumps duncan?

6:19 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Duncan said...

'In the grumps' is putting it very mildly.

7:16 pm, May 21, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

illegitimi non carborundum

7:44 pm, May 21, 2007

Anonymous Oratorhunt said...

Hazel was particularly poor on the subject of electoral reform at the first hustings. That not bother you, Luke?

11:12 am, May 22, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


Electoral reform cuts completely across every other political alignment. It's a single issue supported and opposed by ad hoc groups of people who would never normally be allies and there is no point judging people on their views on it.

Most of my closest allies disagree with my take on PR, and on the flip side I am happy to work with the likes of Neal Lawson, Ann Black and Ken Livingstone in Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform.

12:39 pm, May 22, 2007


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