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.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Harriet and IT

The IT problems at Team Harman are going from bad to worse.

I'm lucky I've got a switched-on postman as the direct mail I got from her in London had no commas in the addresses, so Flat 1, 8 Beatty Road, became Flat 18 Beatty Road.

People that have contacted me from both Surrey and Hampshire say their mailshots from Harman had even worse address glitches: every single one had the had the wrong name for the address. A friend in that part of the world says "It looks as if on her list, the names had got out of step with the addresses, so that for our group at least, we all had what seems to be the next name on the list but our own address."

And she's compounded the earlier email problems with a follow-up spam email to councillors, repeating exactly the same text that we had all already read, but with no graphics and blind copied, saying plaintively "The message below was sent in error. Please delete all. We apologise sincerely for this technical error and are re-sending Harriet's message."


Blogger Theo said...

As a recipient of both of Harriet's spams, I feel the second one was even more cack.

9:49 am, June 05, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Harriet's letter arrived safely and correctly addressed to all the members at LOL HQ. As you will recall Luke the early start which the current Chair of the party made on the winning friends thing was the subject of rather a lot of commentary and debate, along with her merchandise procurement.

This is desperate stuff - attacking a candidate for some slip ups by volunteers - comes across like a graceless sneer. I'm not sure sneering with good grace is possible mind. Probably best to leave it out altogether.

10:29 am, June 05, 2007

Blogger Theo said...

It's still a bit rubbish, so Luke has a point.

10:38 am, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Harmanitarian said...

I have received nothing from Blears in the post, and I received my letter from Harriet, correctly addressed this morning.

As I presume all the candidates are using the same list of members provided by the Party, this smugness might be slightly premature.

If I were Harriet, with 65 MP nominations, 60 CLP nominations, top of three YouGov polls of voters - I would be pretty cheerful right now.

If I were Hazel, who has based her entire campaign on appealing to Party members and yet came bottom in the YouGov poll of members, got just 36 CLP nominations and 49 MP nominations, I would be finding it increasingly difficult to sustain that grin.

10:59 am, June 05, 2007

Blogger Citizen Andreas said...

The letter is obviously a mass mailing unsing some kind of data list, I would assume obtained from Labour HQ or similar.

This kind of mailing will consist of a very large list of addresses. The fault in the address may not have necessarily been introduced by Harriets team it could have already existed in the list itself.

When I worked with this kind of thing myself, errors such as confusing Flat 1, 8 and Flat 18 were extremly problematic since it is not possible to determine that the address is incorrect without knowledge of the actual local area. It is very difficult to go over a list containing thousands of names and addresses and determine if each one is correct.

This kind of problem is a common one, often experienced when dealing with large volumes of data and not necessarily an indication of IT ineptitude.

11:29 am, June 05, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

But the addresses are correct in the original data - so any glitches have been introduced by the way that data has been handled in the mail merge.

11:34 am, June 05, 2007

Anonymous wakemeupwhenit'sover said...


11:40 am, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Hovedan said...

why is this a serious issue? i thought the DL election was about policy issues; addressing stuff like affordable housing, social care, how to rebuild the party.. etc etc.. it does smack of desperation to attack Harriet over an admin mistake from her volunteers.. lets try and debate the issues.!

11:59 am, June 05, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It's not a serious issue or an attack. It's amusing that her team keep screwing up. Though the people who have had letters addressed to the wrong person are seriously unimpressed.

12:15 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

wakemeupwhenit's over said...


Quite, talk about out-of- proportion when there's bigger issues.

Maybe this lot collectively took their eyes of the ball over Iraq because they were fighting and bitching about mistakes in emails?

(Turns over and goes back to slumberings meantime)

12:28 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep screwing up? HARRIET keeps screwing up? Unbelievable, Luke.

Does the phrase 'Nuts about Hazel', a third world sweat shop and some gimmicky t shirts, followed by a full on media flap ring any bells?

3:31 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the answers the candidates gave to Campaign Group News. Guess who didn't reply.....

All credit to the others for answering.


3:38 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Dan said...

I gather that leadership and deputy leadership contenders weren't given membership lists by the party. Those with trade union support have been given the details of levy-paying members, but it's not clear how the other mailing lists have been assembled.

3:58 pm, June 05, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

I've received leaflets in the post from Harman and Benn, and bizarelly enough one from GB! (He needn't have bothered!)

But nothing from any of the other contenders for deputy ...

5:33 pm, June 05, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It's financially impossible for most (all?) of them to do a national mailshot - 200,000 x 23p for stamps + costs of envelopes (say £10k) + letters (say £600) = best part of £60k when we know from the donations reported to the Electoral Commission that the campaigns only have £25-£40k each to cover all costs.

5:43 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Harmanista said...

As Hazel continually appeals for unity, loyalty and solidarity, does anyone else find it ironic that the only people being divisive and nasty in this campaign is Team Blears?

The internecine warfare of the 80s inverted by a right wing cult, who share the bizarre and inexplicable belief that Hazel Blears appeals to ANYONE. Weird.

7:00 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Hovedan said...

Harriet's pledges are sound:

Tackling the rich poor divide, building more council homes, providing youth services in every neighbourhood, improving older people's care, clean, cheap public transport.

As somebody who sits comfortably on the moderate, even right wing, of the party, Im comfortable with all of that, but am happy to debate it (eg should we talk more about affordable housing rather than just council housing).This is the opportunity to debate key issues, not computer keying in!

8:47 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not as bad as that plonker who emailed all labour councillors in the country. She should be er 'sanctioned'... Tell L that she should count to 200 before doing such stupid things again. It did not help your cause...

11:46 pm, June 05, 2007

Anonymous Fed up with useless Hat said...

Do any of you harman supporters remember how awful she was when she was in the Cabinet? She couldn't run a bath. Forget policy, think competence.

11:01 am, June 06, 2007

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke, this is just about the most miserable thread ever started here.

Chris Paul said: This is desperate stuff - attacking a candidate for some slip ups by volunteers, and Hovedan said: it does smack of desperation to attack Harriet over an admin mistake from her volunteers, lets try and debate the issues!

And yet look at the recent postings by Anon (05.06.07) …. ‘not as bad as that plonker’… and Fed up with useless Hat said... ‘Do any of you harman supporters remember how awful she was’.

Either they are at the wind-up, or they just do not get the message and cannot help spouting the all-personalised-and-no-policy dross that they do

3:41 pm, June 06, 2007

Anonymous fed up with useless hat said...

ted, what policy influence does the deputy leader have? Answer: none. They don't appoint to the Cabinet or the NEC or the NPF. They might not even have a job in the government (ask JC). the idea that this election is about policy is rubbish. That was the election for leader and Gordon won, end of the policy debate.

4:27 pm, June 06, 2007

Blogger info junkie said...

Received the Harman letter, correctly addressed and I quite liked the contents.

She won't get my 1st vote, but she's the only candidate who bothered to write to me.

6:41 pm, June 06, 2007

Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Luke, this shallow nonsense that you started goes on. Most recent instance:

I said: "or they just do not get the message and cannot help spouting the all-personalised-and-no-policy dross that they do"

Fed-up-with returned to say: "the idea that this election is about policy is rubbish. That was the election for leader and Gordon won, end of the policy debate."

Elections for senior national posts in the Labour Party are "not about policy"? This may demonstrate what a lot of people have been saying (and, more importantly, what the increasing numbers of alienated members lost to the Movement have been long saying)

I suppose that if this thread has demonstrated that, then it has performed a service of sorts.

10:20 pm, June 06, 2007


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