Why only half elected? (which seems to be what the press is saying Labour will propose).
Can anyone give any logical reason why any legislator should not be elected by the people who have to live under the laws they pass?
A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, the Labour Party and Hackney - 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.
Why only half elected? (which seems to be what the press is saying Labour will propose).
Well done to Gavin Esler, who was presenting Newsnight last night, for slapping down pompous Lib Dem Ed Davey's comparison of the loans for honours allegations to Watergate (I think I heard Esler describe it as a "silly" comparison) and highlighting the fact that Mr Davey's party's own biggest donor is in jail for perjury.
What readers seem to want ... is second hand leaked documents already stuck on Tory blogs...
Aside from the brouhaha about Hain's list of supporters being leaked, there's actually a more fundamental question to be asked.
Tory blogger Guido Fawkes has obtained Peter Hain's team's campaign plan for the deputy leadership.
My Saturday morning took me to the Friends' Meeting House in Euston Road for the London Region Political Conference of Amicus, consisting of all the union's delegates to London CLPs.
Well ... at least on two issues.
Our constituency Labour Party last night heard an incredibly moving description by two Burmese asylum seekers about the human rights abuses and slow genocide of ethnic minorities being perpetrated by the Burmese military junta, the sickly misnamed "State Peace and Development Council".
The widespread use of forced labour
Over 1 million people forced from their homes
At least 1100 political prisoners, many of whom are routinely tortured
As many as 70,000 child soldiers - more than any other country in the world.
Rape as a weapon of war against ethnic women and children
Nearly half the government budget spent on the military and just 19p per person per year on health
One in ten babies die before their fifth birthday"
Grotesquely, there are British companies selling holidays to this place! The Burma Campaign is urging a boycott of them.
They urged us to actively support the Burma Campaign, quoting Aung San Suu Kyi: "Please use your liberty to promote ours".
Please consider joining the campaign.
If you have a blog or website please link to it:
I had forgotten that John Prescott has an "antipathy" to Hazel Blears. Another good reason to back Hazel for Deuty Leader.
Some of my best friends are vegetarians (despite the fact I find the concept of a meat-free diet disgusting).
I am indebted to the Independent on Sunday for the speculation that Tony Blair plans one last magnificant two-fingered salute to the SNP and others who don't understand the law on honours by nominating the donor of a very welcome £2m to Labour, Lakshmi Mittal, for a peerage for services to industry in the resignation honours list.
I predicted on Monday that Compass calling for the overall tax burden to go up from 37.8% to 50% of GDP was likely to be the policy equivalent of our canvassers dumping on each voter's doorstep and then sticking a flag in it saying "sorry you were out, the Labour Party called".
Des Browne at tonight's Progress debate on Trident:
Political style and motivation are complex and personal things so it's not often that someone else manages to explain where you are coming from with almost complete accuracy.
Two great examples of the kind of guff the Guardian spews out this morning:
My other rant for the day concerns Mr Len Duvall LAM, Chair of the Greater London Labour Party and of the Met Police Authority, whose helpful contribution to the reaction to the Ruth Turner arrest was to use the Sunday Times to say to David Blunkett and Tessa Jowell " “shut up” and “stop “whingeing and whining” about the police investigation. “No one in this country is above the law" ... "I think they are going to look f****** stupid."
Now I started with an ambivalent opinion of Len anyway, him having a) been appointed to the MPA by Livingstone (I'd rather slit my own wrists than take any job in that man's gift) and b) ousted the excellent and hard-working Chris Robbins of UNISON from Chair of the GLLP in a gratuitous Livingstone-inspired coup.
My reaction to these particular remarks is:
a) don't use the "f" word in interviews with national newspapers, the public don't like swearing politicians
b) show some respect - whilst I can't condemn you for slagging off a former Home Secretary and a current Cabinet Minister (a perusal of recent posts will show I have quite a habit of criticising former Home Secretaries and current Cabinet Ministers) the tone you've used is impertinent to say the least
c) you are right that no one is above the law, but nor in a democracy are the police above political scrutiny and criticism
d) yes you as MPA Chair can't question the way the police conduct enquiries but MPs who are not connected with the political oversight of the police have every right to - Parliament is sovereign in this country
e) has it occurred to you that Blunkett and Jowell were commenting because they are Ruth's friends and comrades and trying to be supportive of a friend in their capacity as fully-signed up members of the human race?
Footnote: Len's biog on the MPA website says he was "a founder member of the New Local Government Network". Wasn't Ruth Turner also a founder board member of the NLGN? Interesting.
Footnote 2: She was not a founder. She was doing something more useful i.e. helping homeless people in Manchester at this time.
Footnote 3: To his great credit, Len has issued a clarification that makes it clear that he doesn't think Tessa Jowell was commenting on the conduct of the Police:
I've always thought one of the key measures you can judge a politician by is the way in which they treat their staff (for instance, there is a Labour deputy leadership candidate who always used to have a notorious record for high staff turnover and low pay, which is a bit of an odd reputation to have as an employer if you are seeking the number 2 job in the party set up by the trade unions).
I was at today's Policy Network Conference (http://www.progressive-governance.net/) - one of four Mandelson speeches in the UK in one month - is he planning a comeback in domestic politics?
I gather that speaking at a Salford CLP meeting today Hazel Blears told local members:
Unfortunately no vote taken at tonight's Harrow West CLP debate on Trident replacement between me and Walter Wolfgang, but I got the impression it would have been a fairly even split.
Interesting YouGov poll in the Yorkshire Post reported here:
After 3/4 of a year of blogging one of my readers has told me I need something called an RSS feed ... I think I had one anyway ... but now it is easy to find via the little bit of hypertext at the bottom of my sidebar saying "subscribe to Luke's blog".
The lucky GC delegates of Harrow West CLP will be seeing me in action tonight debating the case for Trident replacement versus Walter Wolfgang, Vice-Chair of CND and Labour NEC Member.
Usually www.politicalbetting.com is very insightful.
Thanks for reminding us Dave: I am a true Tory, Cameron tells core voters.
I was pleased to see Gordon Brown making the case against Scottish Nationalism on Saturday.
1) Taking Jed to the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood today and discovering all the toys I played with in the '70s are now museum exhibits.
As revealed by comments here yesterday, entryism by the far left is alive and well, but rather stupidly publicising itself all over the web:
Reading most commentary on the Labour Party you would assume it is a totally hollowed out organisation, with no grassroots activity, populated by disillusioned miseries lamenting the pain of 10 years of betrayal and disappointment.
Was away from all forms of email and internet yesterday so unable to report the news to all those Labour people that have given up reading the Guardian in despair that they actually printed something sensible: this analysis of Labour's electoral strategy by MPs Liam Byrne and Bill Rammell.
Another helpful contribution to the positive communication of Labour's message from my illustrious predecessor as councillor for Chatham Ward, Hackney, Rt Hon C Clarke MP. Not.
Some gems in the latest newsletter from the
Spotted from the 243 bus this morning in Hackney - someone reading the Daily Telegraph. This is genuinely the first time in 9 years living here that I have ever seen anyone buying, carrying or reading this publication within the borough boundary.
I take a bit of an old-fashioned view on this - i.e. that it ought to be incompatible with being a Labour MP to pay for private education or private health care.
This - the blog of Tom Harris MP (Glasgow South) is really very good - sound politics and presented with a sense of humour: http://tomharris.wordpress.com/
I couldn't go to see John Reid's speech yesterday morning as I had a work meeting that clashed with it, but a friend from Hackney who did go rang me to tell me how good it had been and was highly impressed that Reid hung about for an hour talking to the party members in the audience.
Winging its way through the ether comes an invite (not addressed to me) to the next meeting of the Hackney branch of the John McDonnell campaign.
The right-wing think tank CPS (http://www.cps.org.uk/) is heralding polling it has done as proof of public support for a return to selective secondary education.
The Sunday Telegraph is not my normal weekend reading (I take the Observer 'cos I like Jay Rayner's restaurant reviews and News of the World because when I was put through Labour Party training for parliamentary candidates Kevin McGuire told us all we had to read the red-top tabloids or we wouldn't have a clue what ordinary voters were interested in) so I was grateful to The Daily for linking to this article about what Brown might do as PM.
It's a long time since I last really had a go about anything written by Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass.
During the course of December the site had 5658 page views (down from 5919 in Nov) but 1447 different visitors (up from 1354 in Nov).
After a rather un-proletarian New Year's Eve lunch at the fantastic Whitstable Oyster Company restaurant I found my second hand book of the year in Oxford Street Books, Whitstable, for 95p.
No - not me - but UNISON seem to be doing a good job recruiting staff of Tory-run Kent County Council - they've just signed up my mum, who is a nursery school classroom assistant on the minimum wage, all her colleagues and the school caretaker. I'm pleased to say she also ticked the box to be part of the UNISON Affiliated Political Fund - http://www.unison.org.uk/labourlink/index.asp
You know you are not in London for the New Year break when relatives arrive carrying the pheasant they have just shot and the magazine on the kitchen table when you drop by for a cup of tea is Farmers' Weekly rather than N16.