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, May 31, 2007

Not very obsessed by Ken at all, actually

All the comments on previous posts made me embark on some self-criticism. Had I really, as the commenters suggested, got a history on here of unfairly criticising Ken Livingstone?

I’ve done a quick check.

I’ve actually only ever mentioned the guy 14 times out of 506 posts in a year – 2.7% of what I’ve written.

Of these:

This week – pointed out twice that he supported Jon Cruddas – I suppose that could be interpreted as criticism
May – mentioned he had tried to stand as Party Leader in 1992
May – mentioned he had sacked John McDonnell as Deputy Leader of the GLC
April – reported CPGB’s attack on him
April – mentioned his time as Camden Chair of Housing in a tribute to Roy Shaw
January – mentioned he appointed Len Duvall to MPA
December – explained relevance of a new clause in the Code of Conduct to the Finegold case
October – described him as “the one Campaign Grouper who did have the charisma and appeal to be a credible leader”
October – a post criticising the Labour Party (not Ken himself) for not running an internal investigation into the Finegold case
October – criticised his deselection of Reg Freeson in Brent East
September – criticised his attack on Trevor Phillips
August – criticised Emily Thornberry for preferring Nikki Gavron to Ken
May – link to a letter I wrote in 2003

So anyone at the GLA of any party wanting ammo to use against Ken would have to wait sometimes as long as 4 months to find me even mentioning him, and would have found about 5 instances when I’ve directly criticised him, 2 of which referred to events 3 and 20 years before I started blogging.

It must be very dull for them having to read all the other stuff in the vain hope that I’ll get excited about events at their workplace.


Anonymous Kevin F said...

So in fact, those weren't "rather hysterical anonymous attempts to police anything mildly critical from my commenters - or me".
Just your own paranoia Luke?

5:17 pm, May 31, 2007

Anonymous Once a scab, always a scab said...

How anyone who supports Ken "if you don't make me candidate I'll get a skin disease" Livingstone has the balls to attack others for paranoia is beyoned me

6:07 pm, May 31, 2007

Anonymous StringerBell said...

Luke wrote of the Tories in City Hall:

'It must be very dull for them having to read all the other stuff in the vain hope that I'll get excited about events at their workplace.'

In fact it would be a real contribution over the next few months if your blog took a very keen interest in the activities of the Tories in City Hall with the aim of getting out a coherent and effective criticism of them.

Whilst Luke's obviously right that the Dean campaign didn't win, it did demonstrate that the internet and blogging can be useful campaigning tools. Getting information out rapidly and unmediated is one of the great strengths of this kind of campaigning. Blogs like Luke's could be a useful tool for getting information out explaining what the Tories really stand for during the pre-election build-up in London.

The Tories are hiding behind Cameron's softer image but in London the positions they take and the general line of the London party is unchanged. They stand for removing free bus and tram travel for children, halting policies to combat climate change, removing half-price bus travel for people on Income Support, curtailing measures that guarantee more affordable housing, opposing the Low Emission Zone which will help reduce harmful pollution and so on. Norris stood on a platform of cutting the bus subsidy, ending most of the transport infrastructure projects, and no more resources for the MPA. In London Councils and in Parliament they are fighting to remove the mayor's power to guarantee the Freedom Pass. The Tory vice-chair of the Assembly has recently been criticised for making insensitive remarks about the McCann family, for calling for a park to be concreted over and turned into a multi-storey car park, and for slating the Israeli ambassador's grasp of English. He has previously attacked foreign students and Somali asylum seekers.

Colleagues in London local government where the Tories have now returned to power either with an outright majority or in coalitions like Camden or Brent have plenty of stories about what's happening there. Hammersmith's cuts for example are causing a great deal of controversy locally, as did their attempt to reduce the amount of affordable housing for rent in a new housing development.

A lot of this information is out there, but rarely pulled together with sources. Labour blogs like Luke's can help fill this gap.

Labour not only has to win another term for Ken Livingstone, which is essential to maintaining continued investment in policing and transport, but also to hold marginal Assembly seats, and take new seats. Labour went down from nine members to seven last time. That's the absolute minimum (along with the two Greens) that Ken needs to prevent the Tories and LibDems being able to overturn his budgets. Labour therefore also needs to fight hard to win back Brent and Harrow, which the Tories seized from Toby Harris in 2004.

Both Barnet and Camden and Ealing and Hillingdon are seats held by the Tories where Labour could do much better and where a strong campaign this time would galvanise the party. In a good year Labour could win these seats. Brian Coleman and Bob Blackman are especially vulnerable to high profile Labour campaigns.

The Tories and LibDems are in disarray over their mayoral selection but they will fight hard once they have candidates in place. The Tories in particular will fight like hell to dent Labour in London as it their last test before the general election. It is no secret that they are fundraising like mad.

The Conservative group in City Hall are a rich source of information about the true nature of the Tory party. They say they're reading Luke's blog. I look forward to Luke's blog getting stuck into them!

6:36 pm, May 31, 2007

Blogger Kris said...

it's not quantity- it's the quality of your comments on the matter.

7:14 pm, May 31, 2007

Anonymous hovedan said...

We can see the Tory education "policy" falling apart, the sheer lack of any coherence over grammar schools and the splits rights across the party ~(read `conservative home' to witness the internecine war thats this caused). Meanwhile today's education results show more pupils doing better than ever. The tories have opposed Labour's plans for education and Cameron's attempts to divide labour over schools policies have exposed their own tory divisions. But then again if the new modern looking Tory party is built around image and very little else, it was only a matter of time before the splits and incoherence began to show. A very senior Tory friend of mine admnits that they are "frit" of Gordon, and their attempt over the last year to paint Brown as some sort of hard left winger has utterly failed. Substance over spin - Brown Versus cameron.

8:47 pm, May 31, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Stringerbell - if people email me the anti-Tory stories, I'll happily post them. I've already posted about their attack on Freedom Passes.

11:40 pm, May 31, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberal Democrats in London have now selected their candidates for the Assembly list seats. These are the only seats the LibDems can feasibly win.

Here's the result: http://www.libdemvoice.org

It shows that of the top seven candidates every single one of them is white. As they currently have five members, their highest yet, this means effectively that they are standing an all-white list of candidates for the winnable seats.

If you scroll down the comments you'll find plenty of outraged LibDems.

1:25 pm, June 01, 2007


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