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.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I'm trying to work out why Cruddas is bothering to concentrate his fire on Hazel.

I think he's rattled.

He's boxed himself into a position where he keeps saying things that will upset Gordon Brown, who is determined not to allow the Tories to portray him as tacking leftwards. It's probably not very clever to distance yourself so much on policy from a guy who has just become Leader by the most overwhelming parliamentary mandate in the Party's history, when you aspire to be his deputy.


Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Are you sure you are on the right tack?

I came across this rather belatedly:


It is headlined "Brown backs Cruddas revolution of Labour party"

12:48 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You yourself admit that Brown has clearly adopted some of the Cruddas campaign programme. Cruddas is clearly not a lunatic leftie. Everyone knows that.

Blears' intellectually-lazy attacks on 'lurching to the left' and 'returns to the 70s' are legitimising the inevitable Tory accusations. It is stupid. I don't think many people would listen to the Tories waffling on about the DL candidates being dangerous leftists when they clearly aren't, but Blears joining in will surely encourage people to think the Tories are correct.

We know that the only reason Blears is doing this is because she essentially depends on winning support from hardline Labour right-wingers such as yourself and is keen to proliferate the impression that some of the other candidates' programmes represent electoral suicide. Perhaps she believes it herself, but I think she is relying on simplistic politics for her own advantage.

12:50 pm, June 15, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I back some of his ideas for reforming the Party!

There's no problem with his party reform proposals, it's the policy stuff that is alarmingly at odds with everything Brown stands for.

12:50 pm, June 15, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I'm sorry, but if you support scrapping Trident, you support increasing taxes and you speculate idly about renationalisation, you are a "dangerous leftist" in the sense that you represent a danger to Labour being electable. Cruddas' approach is reversing off of every hard-earnt inch of centre ground territory won not just by Blair but by Smith and Kinnock.

12:54 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand where you're coming from but I suspect some of Cruddas' more "leftie" statements are simply him posturing to a large section of the party membership. Whilst I still think lefties should support him I also think that he is a bloke of sense and pragmatism who moderates can also trust.

Trident - well, I'm not convinced that it is the same major issue to the public as it was during the Cold War. Personally as a democratic socialist I'm pleased to hear some of the candidates talking about how taxation can be used to create a more equal society. I know it's a bit old fashioned but I think it's right for the candidates to debate these ideas - obviously Hazel disagrees. Didn't Labour enter the 1997 election with a commitment to renationalising the railways? Again, I think your rabid fear of even mentioning some of these policy ideas is unwarranted.

Your argument relies on the centre ground being a static policy area. I don't think it is. Your argument also rests of the assumption that this ultra-moderate Labour government is popular and on course to continue winning elections. I really don't think this is true. The party needs to be seen to change and needs to come up with interesting new policy ideas to inspire the electorate. Fear of debate and fear of change could well be our downfall.

1:07 pm, June 15, 2007

Blogger kimmitt said...


What gives you the idea that Labour had a commitment to renationalising the railways?

Take a look at this and you can see exactly what Labour's manifesto commitments were

And this is what we had to say about transport:

"The process of rail privatisation is now largely complete. It has made fortunes for a few, but has been a poor deal for the taxpayer. It has fragmented the network and now threatens services. Our task will be to improve the situation as we find it, not as we wish it to be. Our overriding goal must be to win more passengers and freight on to rail. The system must be run in the public interest with higher levels of investment and effective enforcement of train operators' service commitments. There must be convenient connections, through-ticketing and accurate travel information for the benefit of all passengers.

To achieve these aims, we will establish more effective and accountable regulation by the rail regulator; we will ensure that the public subsidy serves the public interest; and we will establish a new rail authority, combining functions currently carried out by the rail franchiser and the Department of Transport, to provide a clear, coherent and strategic programme for the development of the railways so that passenger expectations are met.

The Conservative plan for the wholesale privatisation of London Underground is not the answer. It would be a poor deal for the taxpayer and passenger alike. Yet again, public assets would be sold off at an under-valued rate. Much-needed investment would be delayed. The core public responsibilities of the Underground would be threatened.

Labour plans a new public/private partnership to improve the Underground, safeguard its commitment to the public interest and guarantee value for money to taxpayers and passengers. "

1:23 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Jim said...

Actually I think it's you that's rattled. You wouldn't be so obssessed with Cruddas otherwise!

2:03 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Thomas said...

Scottish Labour made a committment to look at bringing Scotrail back under public control on a not-for-dividend basis, which is what Cruddas is also saying should happen.

"The case for running the Scottish franchise on a not for profit basis needs to be fully examined as part of the preparation for the next franchise."

Although I guess some clown will now say this was why we lost Scotland.

2:15 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't actually think Cruddas did name Blears - I think ePolitix just made that assumption for the purpose of having an attention grabbing headline. Which obviously worked on Luke!

3:13 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Ian G said...

"I'm sorry, but if you support scrapping Trident, you support increasing taxes and you speculate idly about renationalisation, you are a "dangerous leftist" in the sense that you represent a danger to Labour being electable."

Right, so well over half the membership, and all our trade union backers (who are the are only reason we're not bankrupt) are a danger to us being electable. It seems to me if we accept that as being true, we all may as well hand over Number 10 to the Tories now.

3:56 pm, June 15, 2007

Blogger el Tom said...

Perhaps he's just a bit less worried about all them asians urinating in our postboxes.

4:05 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous catatonicwithboredom said...


4:52 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous Graham said...

It seemed to me that he was responding to attacks on him.

I personally think that it's a bit irresponsible to feed into the Tories' narrative just to bolster support for a part of the party that is becoming increasingly isolated in the post-Blair era.

4:58 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous watcher said...

"What gives you the idea that Labour had a commitment to renationalising the railways?"

It didn't make it into the 1997 manifesto in the end but it was talked about by Blair during 1995 and 1996. At the 1995 party conference he said:

'To anyone thinking of grabbing our railways . . . so they can make a quick profit as our network is broken up and sold off, I say this - there will be a publicly owned and publicly accountable railway system under a Labour government.'

5:17 pm, June 15, 2007

Blogger Dave Brinson said...

According to my local Tory MP, it is Hazel who is the dangerous leftie. Referring to a recent interview, he accuses her of engaging in "vying for who can be the most absurdly extreme and left wing"

Article is reproduced on my blog, or at the Eastbourne Herald website...

7:37 pm, June 15, 2007

Anonymous observer's friend said...

Luke Akehurst said...

"I'm sorry, but if you support scrapping Trident, you support increasing taxes and you speculate idly about renationalisation, you are a "dangerous leftist" in the sense that you represent a danger to Labour being electable."

I say . . .

I'm sorry, but if you support the wasting of billions of pounds on Trident, you object to the fair distribution of wealth and don't want to fight poverty and you object to people speculating about an affordable and effective transport system, you are a "dangerous rightist" in the sense that you represent a danger to Labour being electable.

You are more right wing than my father - and he's a bleeding Tory!

1:07 am, June 16, 2007

Blogger Benjamin said...

Where do you start with Luke's post?

Cruddas is well ahead of Blears and consistently impresses in hustings (see various polling.)

Luke then tells us Brown has an "overwhelming parliamentary mandate".

Luke knows full well that no election took place but instead a nominations process was initiated. The parliamentary party was pressurized to nominate Brown to such a degree as to exclude another nomination, and hence forestall democracy.

The PLP previously did elect the leader, and in such a process a secret ballot is required between declared candidates.

Instead Luke pretends that the process of nominations (and the exclusion of democracy) is somehow a mandate.

My advice is this: stop sounding like a commie, Luke, it doesn't suit you.

2:58 am, June 16, 2007

Anonymous hovedan said...

well i dont know about rattled - but the chatter in westminster last night was that Hazel and Peter are out - with the other 4 in contention - and if westminster gossip is not your thing - then check out the betting odds - Hazel now on 25/1 and peter on 33/1. AJ and Hilary Benn are odds on at 5/4, with Harriet and John trailing slightly (7/1 and 5/1).

10:15 am, June 16, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I think this is the most hilarious post/thread on the deputy leadership yet, and it's almost managed to wake me from my extraordinary boredom with the whole pointless farce.

The most overwhelming parliamentary mandate? Hahaha! Is that an imaginative way of saying no mandate whatsoever?! I never saw you as a spinner, Luke, but if you can turn the mandate of a leader less democratically-elected than Michael Howard 'overwhelming' - watch out Mandelson!

And then there was one of you anonymous posters who let the cat out of the bag, saying Cruddas was just posturing left to get the votes of significant proportion of the membership... followed by a pathetic, 'I still think lefties should support him'. Well yes. I think people on the Labour right should have supported John McDonnell (i.e. they should get some sense and stop being on the right) but we can't have everything we want!


Oh this has cheered me up enormously!

10:40 am, June 16, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Blears gives up hope of victory'


5:41 pm, June 16, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brown's mandate is absolutely in line with the principle on which our Parliamentary democracy has successfully run for centuries.

The monarch's choice of Prime Minister is based on that person who can hold a majority of the members of the Houses of Parliament. Nomination by MPs is absolutely in line with that principle.

The worst situation in our democracy would have been the vast majority of MPs nominating a then losing candidate ...

7:02 pm, June 16, 2007

Blogger el Tom said...

On that, I echo anonymous. Britain elects parliaments, not presidents; and rightly so. Brown's mandate lies with a majority of Labour MPs at the last election.

Doesn't mean that the situation is the most desirable. I actually think a challenge would have made Brown look good, as well as perking things up for the left; both of which are needed.

But I can't say that what has happened is undemocratic. Further, if it is, why endorse the process by running a candidate, instead of boycotting?

8:30 pm, June 16, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Tom - you've missed the point (anonymous didn't miss the point, but just seems to have missed the last twenty years or so of party democratisation). The question mark is not over Brown's legitimacy as Prime Minister (I'm hardly somebody who is going to argue for a more presidential system!!) but with his legitimacy as leader of the Labour Party. The best he can claim is that he is leader of the PLP, by default. Hardly a ringing mandate.

8:58 pm, June 16, 2007

Blogger Sham said...

Hardly a ringing mandate.

Well, it's at least as much of a mandate as any other Prime Minister who's entered number 10 without having to fight a General Election, and 90% support among his Parliamentary colleagues ain't too bad an endorsement.

4:57 pm, June 17, 2007

Blogger el Tom said...

Dunc, I'm pretty confident that he did everything required by the rulebook...

8:28 pm, June 17, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

Tom, a challenge from John would not have made Brown "look good." It would have challenged him. Ergo he stopped it via the PLP.Let's see how you feel when Cruddas loses.

10:10 pm, June 17, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

Tom, I'm confident of that too.

Sham - again, the point was about the party leadership not the prime ministership. With regards to a party leadership, the only recent parallel is Michael Howard, where the conservative MPs decided not to bother with an election.

12:42 am, June 18, 2007


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount