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 08, 2007

SDPers for Harman

Anyone not sure who to put 6th on their Deputy Leader ballot has been given a pretty clear steer today. The ghastly Polly Toynbee has put the line out for Harman.

This is a little ironic as the then Bennite Harman would have been one of the reasons that Toynbee defected to the SDP in the early '80s.

Cosily, they almost became South London parliamentary neighbours when Harriet ran for Labour in Peckham in 1983 at the same General Election that her now cheerleader Polly was running against Labour and helping the Tories gain the seat in Lewisham East for the SDP.

Actually the two are flip sides of the same coin - chattering classes flip-flopers who say whatever won't offend the folks sat next to them at an Islington dinner party - the trajectories are different - Harman's was Hard Left to Kinnockite to New Labour and now back to Soft Left whereas Toynbee's was SDPer to New Labour to Soft Left - but they've ended up in the same place.

But what exactly qualifies a traitor who did their best to destroy Labour in the '80s by being involved in setting up the SDP to offer commentary on who should be Labour's next Deputy Leader, or gives them any expectation that people will do anything other than the opposite of what they recommend?

12 Comments:

Blogger Chris Paul said...

You might acknowledge that Polly's nose peg saved a number of seats fro NL in 2005.

She's all over the place but she has her moments.

10:22 am, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

OK I acknowledge that.

10:38 am, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Benjamin said...

You are so tribal, Luke! Try not to resort to personal insult.

I don't agree with Polly on all occasions, but she's been pretty consistent: always a social democrat. It's just that at one time she abandoned the Labour Party.

That might be traitorous to some, but the non-partisan majority would judge her on other issues.

The political landscape has changed; Polly less so. As the Labour Party has tracked right, she finds herself on the social democratic wing, which is now the soft left of the Labour Party, as the party is now also made up of soft Thatcherites and free marketeers, christian democrats and those tinged with neo-conservativism too.

10:39 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous fed up with useless hat said...

I have not time for Harriet, but she was never hard left - or at least not by the time she was an MP.

I also think it is a bit off (even if quite fun) to slag off ex-SDP people for backing Labour - we need their votes.

If polly cared so much though, why doesn't she join - we need the money!

10:46 am, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger Benjamin said...

I think Polly has been responsible for quite a few people voting Labour. Yes, she's critical of Labour (shock, horror!) but she's also written favourable stuff too. And from her perch in the pages of a national newspaper, she's repeatedly urged folk to vote Labour.

10:52 am, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Croslander said...

Incredible - the internicene (sic - probably)warfare continues. its the 80s all over again, but the aggressors are on the right!

Reality check - we are all supposed to be Labour - I thought the Blears claque we all about unity and loyalty?

12:28 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

Well, I have to say that "the ghastly" (as you for some unfathomable reason crudely put it) Polly Toynbee is someone whose arguments and material I'm happy to regulalry utilise.

As Chris said. she can be all over the place, but she has far more bottom, integrity and credibility that a few of the B celebs that Labour has in its front and second benchers.

She has a style in the media that can put across reasoned progressive arguments whilst retaining audience attention for more than 5 nanoseconds.

2:27 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger felix said...

I wouldn't call a 50per cent income tax, which "St Polly " calls for with great regularity, particularly left- wing. It would seem to exclude most of the chattering classes around their Clapham and Highbury dinner tables. Phew!
Sometimes she writes sense, sometimes it is a prejudiced ignorant and humourless rant. Patchy is my verdict.

3:21 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Anonymous Hovedan said...

to engage in a further personal attack on Harriet is sad. To describe her as the "Bennite" Harman, as you do, is about as far wide the mark as you can get. Lets go back to what Harriet stands for and what she has campaigned for over the last 20 years in Parliament..greater representation of women in public life and Parliament, affordable housing, better care for older people, better public transport etc
She has said some "revolutionary" stuff such as the need to address the gap between rich and poor (horror).

But here is the key issue - she is more popular, much more so, than the other candidates (good as they are).

As for Polly - she has done more for the New Labour cause over the last 10 years than most other broadsheet journos, she is a thoroughly nice women, whose book on poverty wages is a must read for any social democrat/labourite, she is a passionate suporter of the arts (she chairs Brighton arts festival), and she has done more than most to attone for past sins!

I assume your utter dislike for Harriet is more about her being the other women candidate - you know she is Hazel's biggest challenge - so you do all you can to undermine her. But Harriet, and those of us supporting her have never resorted to mud slinging or personal attacks, we will leave that to others, we will debate the issues.

8:28 pm, June 08, 2007

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Polly T has her moments as a soft-ish campaigning columnist, but for a change I do think Luke's criticisms have some substance. Toynbee's political judgement is notoriously poor, and that piece on Harman seemed rather credulous for a journalist of her experience. The trouble with Toynbee is that though she does have basic progressive instincts, they're undermined by her patrician high-handedness - she feels she's got a right to criticise New Labour, but no one else has. So she always recoils in horror when horny-handed sons of toil actually take on New Lab with actual political actions, strikes etc.

6:43 pm, June 10, 2007

 
Blogger Benjamin said...

It should be noted that Luke does not engage in any of the arguments that Polly puts forward in the actual article but instead simply engages in sectarianism.

Yes, I realise Luke is member of the Labour Party (not the first place you would think of if looking for civilised, open debate), but one would have thought he could engage in arguments based on the actual arguments offered (in this case Polly's article) rather than name calling and reliving past battles.

2:27 am, June 11, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Polly Tonebee and what was the SDP :-)

John H

4:08 pm, June 15, 2007

 

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