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, December 06, 2007

Alternative ways forward

Just what the Labour Party needs to regain its lead in the polls - a proposal from Peter Kenyon for a meeting - as though we didn't have enough of those already - where "Party officials, and advisors" would be subject to well meaning ideas from the Fabian Society, and whatever nonsense Compass and the LabOUR Commission are offering this week.

I thought Peter was into governance and probity and the neutrality of party officials. If this is the case why would he expect them to engage formally with one of the Party's leading factions, particularly one critical of the policy stance of their elected bosses?

Can we have an equivalent gathering where Progress and Labour First get to lobby Party staff about our vision for renewal? - the Fabians would be welcome to our one too I guess.

And just in case Gordon wasn't getting enough unsolicited advice from Peter Kenyon, the two Jons (Cruddas and Trickett) want us to trash the achievements of the last ten years and embrace ... actually having read the article I can't work out what they want to embrace apart from not tolerating illegal behaviour and safeguarding the union link, both of which are statements of the bleeding obvious. Oh and be in favour of more equality and democracy. And motherhood and apple pie. And they want the next General Secretary to be more autonomous and powerful. Which under the circumstances of what happened to the last one is blissfully unintentionally ironic. And we should have an elected Party Chair apparently - that'll have the swing voters returning in droves and the poll lead returned pronto.

Alternatively we could just get on with delivering a strong economy and improving public services, and spend a bit less time navel-gazing.


Anonymous Gus Mears said...

I thought Peter Kenyon was that useless northern twat who pretends to run Chelsea Football Club

3:52 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger Hughes Views said...

I'm warming more and more to the view expressed by Alan Sugar amongst others that the world is awash with people who can generate no end of "good ideas". It has a sad shortage though of people who can cope with the hard, tedious slog of turning ideas into real, workable solutions. GB would do well to fill his ears with wax for most of the time....

5:43 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Gosh, what an excitable chap you can be.

If you know of any evidenced based work on Labour Party renewal by either Progress or Labour First that has passed me by please send me a copy.

We would be happy to include the authors in our work.

6:11 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

The acceptability of 'naval gazing' all seems to stem from who's doing the gazing! After all, scrapping clause 4 was a classic exercise in naval gazing - it really wasn't something which kept swing voters awake at night, and as no Labour manifesto has ever committed a government to the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, there was really no reason why Blair should have felt bound by the clause! Partnership into power - naval gazing! Brown's changes this autumn, getting rid of emergency motions - naval gazing.

Or we could conclude that there is a place for party reform, and considering the ways in which we do things. And there are different views on it and, as a mature party, we can discuss them and come to a conclusion.

An elected party chair isn't an election winner. But being able to vote for a party chair might reinvigorate a few activists, and that's not a small thing at this point of time.

I don't think the two Jons' article is especially exciting, and your parody isn't entirely unfair: and their joint decision to avoid a leadership election in the summer, and JC's recent enthusiasm for the deputy leadership-party-chair position, does all undermine the strength of their points. But the actual proposals are quite good.

7:53 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger Steve Horgan said...

You think that you are 'delivering a strong economy'? Don't you watch the news?

10:13 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

Unfortunately, the improvements in public services are patchy at best, and the reliance on PPI means that the economic effect has not been realised. The outcomes simply do not match the investments. More marketised reform is the very last thing needed!

More of the same? Go ahead, and watch the Tories win the next election.

The problem is that you remain entirely free of self-criticism - and now the Tories have shifted their public profile to the centre, you are indistinguishable from them other than on marginals. At least on the surface, and few will bother to look deeper.

10:14 pm, December 06, 2007

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Because New Labour is a fundamentalist Cult of Winning, its disciples are incapable of introspection and self-reflection. This is why their only response when they find themselves in a hole is to take out that spade and just carry on as before. Luke, it's not 1997 anymore. Stop living in the past.

12:56 am, December 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How strange to see Cruddas the man so heavily backed by Unite bemoaning the death of resolutions. As far as I remember the unions were fully behind the change

1:56 am, December 07, 2007

Blogger Merseymike said...

e10 - yes, I agree. You know, the Blairite fundamentalists are starting to look ever more like the Thatcherites stuck in 1979, not realising that things have moved on.

The fact is that this isn't 1979. The public have become bored with Labour: typical of third-term governments. The other issue is that the Tories are credible again. I can't bear Cameron, but he is far more impressive than his three predecessors.

It means that we will not and cannot win back a section of those who came over to us in 97. They have returned to the Tories. It was where they really wanted to be in any case.

There are two distinct groups who we need to re-invigorate. The first is the working-class core vote which hasn't been voting at all. The second, the middle-class Guardianistas, who are fewer in number but vote religiously, and in the last election often for the LD's

By pursuing market-orientated social policies we alienate the former, and by continuing with authoritarian approaches we think we appeal to the former, but don't really, because those issues won't motivate them enough to vote. Its why the BNP actually rarely win very much. And we manage to alienate the latter. Its truly embarrassing when the Tories are to the left of Labour on issues like detention without charge.

If Clegg manages to hold on to his lead, it may help Labour given that he will aim for the soft Cameron vote, but Labour cannot rely on weak opposition next time. lets be honest: Labour won last time because of the FOD factor

Fear Of Dracula!

That was the only reason I finally voted Labour in 2005. I don't like or trust Cameron. But I don't fear him. I do think he is a moderate, pragmatic Tory and its on those grounds Labour need to challenge him.

11:53 am, December 07, 2007

Blogger donpaskini said...

Luke - Being in favour of greater equality isn't really like supporting 'motherhood and apple pie', in that delivering it would involve quite a substantial shift in policies.

merseymike - Don't fall for Cameron's spin. If you look at what the Tories are actually planning to do on issues like welfare reform (one of the few areas where they have announced any policies) it's actually more right-wing than Howard or Hague. And we know that whenever right-wing governments get elected, be it to local authorities here or in other countries, the cuddly stuff goes out of the window and it's all slash taxes on the rich and cut services.

One Tory activist, writing in an American newspaper, described Cameron as 'like a young George Bush' - Bush was a 'compassionate conservative' once as well.

1:19 pm, December 07, 2007

Blogger Copey86 said...

The Labour party is run by petty bourgeois lawyers and eletoralists as part of the aforementioned Cult of Winning.

Equality and democracy mere apple pie? The comparison tells us a lot.

Strong Economy? - A free market economy in the world market is not strong becuase of govt intervention - but because the world economy of which the national economy is only a component part is doing well, or not so well now the subprime crisis is set to kick off.

As for Browns 'British Jobs for British workers' this can only mean that jobs have to be taken away from our fellow workers in other countries, becuase we are more 'competitive' - so much for internationalism and solidarity eh?

As for the public services, sweet jesus does no-one bother to read Private Eye - every PFI scheme has been a pork barrel of guaranteed profit from the public purse frequently handed out because of the links between the managers of these firms and various labour party leaders and senior members. We need more of this like a lepper needs a vigorous shaking! QinteQ anyone?

1:57 pm, December 07, 2007


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