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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hazel ahead in Newsnight straw poll

I had to give up my ticket to tonight's Deputy Leadership hustings because my son was at home teething and took precedence.

So I've just watched Newsnight's coverage and seen Michael Crick say that Hazel was the candidate who impressed him and the audience most and then announce the outcome of a straw poll secret ballot of the 500 members in the audience for the debate:

Blears 26%
Benn 22%
Johnson 15%
Harman 14%
Cruddas 13%
Hain 10%

He said Cruddas was "obviously hampered by his lack of front line ministerial experience".

Line of the night from Hazel:

"I don't need a sociologist to tell me about the views of the white working class."

UPDATE: Crick says Hazel won after transfers of eliminated candidates too - and that he was surprised she did so well when the audience was London-based and middle class.


Anonymous coming round to Hazel said...

I was at the event last night and was surprised just how well Hazel did. She easily won the debate. As the person sitting next to me said - 'you can imagine her on a battle bus'.

On the others.

Hilary struggled. His opening and closing were good, but when having to think on his feet he was just all over the place. He even managed to get heckled.

Cruddas did himself damage. I am simply not clear what his campaign is about. He looked slovenly and lazy.

Harmen did ok with the audience but did not look like deputy leadership material at all. She reminded me of the LP in 1991 - kind of half getting it.

Hain was technically good – and made confident soft left points, but in my section of the audience there were groans every time he mentioned Northern Ireland.

Johnson was very relaxed and good on education. But perhaps a bit too laid back: more Minister than candidate.

6:56 am, May 17, 2007

Anonymous Hazel Supporter said...

Luke, although I agree it's a great result for Hazel, surely this is, if anywhere, where she'd perform best?

Isn't a Progress organised event likely to be her 'home crowd' bearing in mind that Progress is an oranisation pretty Blairite in nature?

Whatever the case, I think that the more people that speak to Hazel and the more people that hear her debate with the others, the more votes she'll get.

I reckon a really strong campaign will mean Hazel comes very close to winning.

9:27 am, May 17, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Actually it was a joint Fabians and Progress event. I don't really see the Fabians as her home crowd - probably stronger for Benn.

I'm convinced that whoever emerges as the leading candidate/one with most momentum from the moderate end of the party will win the contest overall.

I'm hearing loads of anecdotal stuff from friends - who will campaign not just vote - who were undecided between AJ, Benn and Hazel and after last night have gone for Hazel.

9:47 am, May 17, 2007

Blogger The Thimble said...

I agree that Blears performed the best. I'm not going to be voting for her but the candidates I was looking to, Hain and Cruddas, in particular, didn't really cut the mustard on last night's showing. This might be unrepresentative, of course. Blears' stupid response on climate change annoyed me though, probably excessively so, and beyond getting Labour people in local organisations she didn't appear to acknowledge that Labour might be unpopular in some quarters now and what we might do about that.

11:07 am, May 17, 2007

Blogger Dan said...

Benn was terribly disappointing - embarrassingly misjudging the audience on two or three occasions. He ended well, but that was only because the last question fell well within his ministerial brief. I can only assume people completed their Newsnight ballots before the hustings. He is also sounding more and more like a cross between his father and Bruce Forsyth.

And why did Jeremy Corbyn nominate him? Family ties? Or is he playing a long game, and assuming the son will follow the same political route as the father?

Cruddas confused me: all the braying of Neal Lawson & chums had led me to believe he was an anti-New Labour candidate. But his politics seemed indistinguishable from the other candidates. His presentation was strictly amateur-hour - the "slovenly" comment above is right on the money.

5:18 pm, May 17, 2007

Anonymous David Floyd said...

As a strong Cruddas supporter, I agree there's definitely more to come from Jon based on Wednesday.

Benn did bizarrely well in the vote given his shockingly bad performance. Some of his answers bordered on the other worldly.

I'd agree that Blears - although her politics are a long way from mine - was the most accomplished performer by some distance.

She was very successful in linking ideas to practical things in a few sentences, so often managed to communicate a lot very quickly without appearing to be churning pre-rehearsed answers.

On this evidence, I think she's likely to do well amongst non-aligned members.

12:42 pm, May 18, 2007


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