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, November 08, 2007

That resignation

No not Lord Drayson.

Last night Hackney Town Hall was rocked by the sudden resignation from the council of Tory Group Leader Eric Ollerenshaw OBE, announced by means of a note slipped under the door stating he was no longer a councillor effective from midnight.

A shame he did not tell us last Wednesday at full council as it would have been good to say goodbye formally.

Eric has been a councillor for 17 years and led the Tories since the elevation of "Tory Joe/Mr Hackney" Lobenstein to the Mayoral chair in the mid '90s. The Tories in Hackney are not awash with talent so his departure leaves a bit of a gap for them. Rumour is that Harvey Odze and Maureen Middleton will compete for the leadership of the group in a clash of the municipal titans...

Eric, to his credit, always tried to stay on friendly terms with opponents even whilst enjoying a knockabout style of debating in the chamber. Again to his credit when Hackney was threatened with Government intervention if we did not appoint a stable leadership in 2000, he did the right thing and worked with Labour. To his discredit, much of the chaos that created that situation had been made worse by his "it's all a big game" attitude and willingness to take defectors from other parties of any calibre, however low, down to and including Isaac Leibowitz, who ended up as a convicted vote rigger.

Now there's going to be a council by-election in Eric's Springfield Ward in Stamford Hill - won by under 200 votes in 2006 and by only about 30 in the 2001 by-election - on better boundaries for the Tories - following Leibowitz's conviction.

Should be a competitive one, but a bit disruptive of my Xmas shopping. Apologies if it distracts me from blogging.

Eric is off to fight marginal Lancaster and Fleetwood for the Tories in the next General Election.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont know what eric is like as a local councillor - but on a personal level hes always likeable and whilst robust - he describes me as his "communist" friend!! ( abit odd that since most of my other friends think i am too right wing!!) he is one of those politicians who, whilst often wrong, at least seems to be believe in what he says..which is too rare in politics

10:20 pm, November 08, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Labour will and should fight the by-election. But you shouldn't work it too hard 'cos Hackney badly needs a few more opposition cllrs. It's not a good thing to be in a one-party state - agree?

1:02 am, November 09, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

On the contrary it's not good for folk in Stamford Hill to be taken for granted by the Tories. It will do Springfield Ward good to have a really competitive election as normally in borough-wide elections it is not a key seat so not that hotly contested. There are lots of potential Labour voters there, particularly on the estates who want and deserve a Labour councillor.

I was appointed Agent for the by-election last night and we will be fighting it extremely hard.

8:03 am, November 09, 2007

Anonymous David said...

I don't understand your comment anonymous. I'm a party member. I'd prefer it if we won every seat we contested! If we don't wish to compete, we shouldn't put up a candidate.

Secondly, win or lose, there are benefits in running a strong campaign and identifying Labour voters. We have a tough fight coming up to hold the marginal GLA seat for Hackney / Islington and Waltham Forest and for the Euro elections every vote counts due to the electoral system. A by-election is an excellent opportunity to do some ground work ahead of those elections.

Luke - are you setting up a facebook or similar group to disseminate information on campaigning?

10:02 am, November 09, 2007

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

My dad, who was a Labour voter all the time he lived in Hackney, nonetheless had time for Ollerenshaw as that rare thing in his eyes - a decent Tory. I couldn't possibly comment as my knowledge of the man goes no further than his occasional columns in the Gazzetta della Hackney.

Who's the Labour candidate likely to be?

11:04 am, November 09, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke your comments are very gracious and undoubtedly true, in fact you and Eric share that sense of fairness without loosing your commutative edge, many local “politicians” can and should learn from you both. Maybe that’s why sadly labour has not selected you for a winnable seat yet!
Though I have known about this for some time, I made strenuous efforts to convince Eric to stay on. For me Eric was a mentor and a good friend and now he is closer to me (near Manchester where I live) conversely he feels much further. Evan though he will we retain to place in his heart and he will continue to stand up for Hackney, No doubt Hackney will be the pooper I have written more extensively about Eric on my blog www.odze.wordpress.com.
PS Luke where do you get your information about a leadership challenge in good old Hackney Tory style I understood and was led to believe it is sawn up already.

1:25 pm, November 09, 2007

Anonymous Steph said...

What's the date for the election Luke?

1:30 pm, November 09, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Election date is 20 December.

There's a Hackney Labour facebook group people who want details of campaigning can join.

Candidate still to be selected.

8:15 pm, November 09, 2007

Blogger Andy Howell said...

Eric deserves a lot of credit in helping pull Hackney around a few years ago. He realised that there was no way he could do business with those loony Libs and that he had to work with Labour.

My small dealings with Eric were incredibly positive. Life would have been very different with another Tory leader.

Just goes to show, there can sometimes be a use for a Tory!

10:12 am, November 10, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

Candidate not selected? Really? I've heard there is at least one person walking round telling people they've been picked already.

1:06 pm, November 10, 2007

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

And also, whilst I'm here, won't Cllr Parker be taking the opportunity to do the decent thing? At least the ensuing difficult by election could be on the same day that way and keep those pesky tories out your hair.

1:13 pm, November 10, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Would this Eric the Eel be in any way related to Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw a long time Conservative Councillor in the fair City of Manchester, for the home of the Rusholme Ruffians and the Curry Mile as it goes, and scientist and what have you?

8:32 am, November 13, 2007

Blogger Munaf Zeena said...

In response to anonymous, (10:20 PM, November 08, 2007, i would say that when Labour fought the local election in 2006, we rightly identified how the Liberal Democrats in Hackney had totally excluded a large section of the community in the Cazenove Ward, a award that the LD's held for a couple of terms mostly representing the elites. Asked if the voters in the estates had ever seen the Lib Dem councillors, the simple answer was "no". This was surprising considering that those in the esates were perhaps some of the most vulenerable and most needy people.

By fighting the election and identifying a big in-justice, at least the community in the area now have some represntation as the Lib Dems now have a surgery in the Stamford Hill estate. There is no doubt that without the Labour campaign a Lib Dem surgery would not have happened in Stamford Hill Estate.

So our role is to help the electoral process and provide a viable alternative. An alternative that represents all sections, not just some, of our dverse and cherished communities.

12:54 pm, November 13, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the press release from the Council? Is a by-election not worth bothering about or are officers not interested in letting the electorate know?

5:17 pm, November 13, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Luke: by all accounts the recently selected Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood is on the Left of the party.

You bare going to recommend that Labour supporters vote for him, yes?

6:26 pm, November 13, 2007


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