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.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Words fail me

... at the latest gem from Harriet Harman in the Sunday Times:

"Last week Brown declared health would be his “passion” when he takes over as prime minister. However, Harriet Harman, a deputy leadership contender, has said it is acceptable for cabinet ministers to opt out of the NHS.
In an interview in The Sunday Times she argues ministers should be free to use private health insurance and send their children to selective schools if they wish, saying that politicians are no different from other parents faced with such decisions.
“Parents make their own choices, whether they are politicians or not,” she said."

Er... aren't there a couple of other principles involved like politicians using the services they preside over rather than opting out of them, and democratic socialists being opposed in principle to selection in education or queue-jumping with private health care?

This is headlined, presumably by a subeditor with a good sense of irony, "Because I’ll make Gordon look good".

The whole article is here.

It quotes ministerial colleagues saying Harman is "Crap", "desperate" and "bloody incompetent". I would add "hasn't got a clue about the basic principles of the Labour movement regarding education and the NHS".


Anonymous Jane said...

I have listened to her for many years and to be honest I do not know where she stands on many issues as she changes her stance from time to time.

I was once an admirer but this was years ago. I can remember after the last party conference when there was speculation about the PM's departure. She kept telling her colleagues to "shut up" because of the damage to the party. However, she was doing the media rounds spouting off her views. She has been politely disparaging of the PM for a couple of years in much of her comment - foreign policy etc. I saw this as an attempt to ingratiate herself with Gordon Brown.

Whilst one cannot take blame for one's partners' actions, I do not forgive the astonishing media interviews by Mr Dromey either. This has also influenced my negative views.

Sorry - she is not my favourite person. Neither is our new leader as nothing will make me believe that he was not complicit in the PM being forced to go early. (I am a supporter of the PM).

I am despondent! I have supported the party for 42 years as well.

1:03 pm, May 20, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

jane, I'm despondent too.From an entirely different wing of the Party but frankly Brown's tactics this week make TB seem like a pussycat.We should have had a contest with ALL sections ofthe Party represented.My condolences.And,yes,Harman is rubbish.

1:59 pm, May 20, 2007

Blogger parburypolitica said...

My preferences for the deputy leadership go like this

1) Cruddas - what a star, has the most well thought through analysis of where the Labour party is. Will also do full time which makes a big difference for me.

2) Blears - My favourite chipmunk. Should concentrate on running for leader in a few years time rather than deputy. I'd put her in one of the two former home office departments. Should do a tv doc to let people know the real hazel as people think she is a bit of a robot.

3) Benn - Nice chap, gives lots of money to poor people in the third world, does a good speech or at least sounds like his dad.

4&5)Hain and Johnson - I don't mind these two but there are 6 candidates and they can't all be first.

6) Harman - If Harman gets it i'm going to throw up and Gordon will also have to have surgery to remove her from where the sun don't shine.

2:48 pm, May 20, 2007

Anonymous jane said...


I would have loved a contest too. Not just from the right and left of the party but a contest with several heavyweight candidates - ie cabinet ministers. It seemed inevitable this was not going to happen - after all the PR campaign behind the Chancellor has been gathering momentum for many years. Difficult for other candidates to compete and suffer humiliation. Careers matter and no doubt a lot of trading has been going on. I can think of a few principled MPs at the moment - Frank Field and Charles Clarke immediately spring to mind.

I have always appreciated loyalty and support particularly when the going gets tough. This has never been available to the PM from the Chancellor. No person should think they somehow have the right to be leader - sadly, I think Gordon Brown believes this and he has sulked for 13 years because he did not get the top job. There is something not quite right for me that he did not seek to broaden his experience at other departments to improve his skills. I do not like him but hope he succeeds and becomes a more inclusive personality. I still want a Labour Government.

4:06 pm, May 20, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She didn't say anything of the kind - read the quotes. This article is clearly a hatchet job. It was probably already written before Isabel Oakeshott stepped foot into Harriet's Office - we on the left need to read the right wing media more carefully than this or the bad guys will win.

4:56 pm, May 20, 2007

Blogger Theo said...

Hatchet job it may be, having re-read the article as you suggested anon, does it not highlight the problem that Harman has? It shows, starkly I admit, that there is little more to her campaign than to position herself as the 'Southern Discomfort-lite' candidate. Other than that she's pretty mich a moving target in terms of following her views over the years.

12:16 am, May 21, 2007

Anonymous redstar over london said...

A hatchet job or not, there is no point in applying to Deputy is you can’t manage the press!

I’m still trying to work out the logic of HH. Last week HH said she wanted to reach out to Muslim communities in the UK. A few days later at the Fabians / Progress hustings in London that she would oppose the opening of any new state funded religious schools – clearly disadvantaging the very people she is seeking to reach out to. I am very aware that not all Muslims seek or desire specific schools. However being told that existing religious groups can keep their existing school but the Muslim community will have to without is not inclusive. I sense Michael White tried to pick HH up on this to no avail. Thought that AJ and PH gave a far more thought out response to the education questions at this event

It is pity that voting will start whilst the hustings are still taking place If voting started only after all the hustings have taken place, we the Labour electorate could check for consistency across the different husting events.

9:00 am, May 21, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Hee hee hee. I think it was Dennis Healey who revealled that he was paying for his dear old mum to go private for her hip as he had the money and the system was mixed. He would continue to fight for equality but in the meantime it was foolish to let his old mum suffer for two years.

Harriet is all over the place but may still be more left wing than Jon.

9:44 am, May 21, 2007


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