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, January 18, 2008

NEC Candidates

Labour First is supporting the following five candidates in this year's Labour Party NEC elections:

Azhar Ali Pendle CLP
Deborah Gardiner Isle of Wight CLP
Sonika Nirwal Ealing Southall CLP
Ellie Reeves Lewisham Deptford CLP
Peter Wheeler Salford & Eccles CLP

CLPs are nominating candidates at their January and February meetings.

There's some disarray on the other side of the fence, with John Wiseman of the LRC running against the "official" slate from the "Centre Left Grassroots Alliance" (sic), for obscure reasons being debated in detail and in public here and here.

With Walter Wolfgang retiring there is a real chance to increase the number of people representing CLPs on the NEC who want to actually do a job of work building the Party rather than denigrating its leadership.


Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

Are you stating that Walter Wolfgang is not interested in building the party?

3:50 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Not only that, but you seem to suggest that Labour can win a majority by simply appealing to those who think as you do.

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, loyalty to political parties has declined, and if you deliberately try to ease both left-wing and liberal opinion out of the party, then they won't necessarily opt for you next time.

My vote is up for grabs at the next election, for a start. It may well go to Labour, but you seem to want a Labour party where socialists no longer have a place. I don't regard myself as on the left, but neither am I an enthusiast for the brand of right-wing macho politics you espouse - in many ways reminiscent of the worst of the old Labour right, rather than New Labour per se.

3:59 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Thanks for promoting the 2008 CLGA slate with a link to the agreed statement:


The slate is united. You refer to some disarray, definitely not on our slate. Though some LRC outriders seem to have got lost upnorth. He could be one of yours for all we know.

BTW what do Labour First candidates stand for? I think we should all be told. Two of the links refer to 2006, Peter Wheeler rang me earlier this week asking for a chat. Happy to oblige.

4:52 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I will be posting manifestoes and links to up to date websites as I get them.

As Labour First does not take a position on policy questions and these are people we are supporting who are running because they as local activists have chosen to - as opposed to a slate - I am sure they have diverse views on the issues facing the party. What unites them is a constructive rather than oppositionalist approach.

4:58 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous GW said...

Fortunately we all know what the LRC stands for - The early election of a Conservative Government, and Labour in permenant, ineffectine opposition.

4:58 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I have met John Wiseman and I found him (and his dad) to be very pleasant Labour People.

I am surprised as a democratic socialist your in favour of blind followers (more akin to Stalinist) rather than "loyal oppostion".

I want to hear different views in the party, as long as it does not result in the party tearing itself apart. What we need is a defination of what socialism means in the 21st century that unites the left and right wings of the party, thus relegating New Labour to the dustbin og history.

Gareth, thanks to non questioning idiot members like you we could be sleep walking into a Tory government, then the people could make a choice as to which cheek of the same backside they want to vote for.

The LRC gives us lefties in the party a voice, and is one of the reasons I have remained a member of the party.

I would like to see a return to some sensible debate in the party resulting in a politcal postion that matches the SNP. It is not too left wing (my prefered choice) nor is it too right wing but is desernably socially democratic (or if you like democratically socialist). It is a nice comprimise I could live with, and hopefully those on the right could too.

5:33 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Are you suggesting Luke that Ann Black or Azam for example do not have a constructive approach? Or that any of the CLGA do not represent schools of thought and feelings and convictions among the membership of CLPs around the country.

The NEC is structurally well stacked with yessers. Why even right wing colleagues would wish to stop it refelcting a range of opinion is beyond me.

The LRC are among the listed supporters of the CLGA slate. Wiseman is presumably an outlier acting alone?

5:48 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

As we are only running 5 candidates, it is perfectly possible to vote for our 5 and Ann Black. Though I don't expect to myself.

It's the GRA that are running six in an effort to deny any other current of opinion in the party a voice.

I've never heard of anything Mr Azam has said or done, though that could be a problem of geography. Who is he?

5:54 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Andrea said...

"I've never heard of anything Mr Azam has said or done, though that could be a problem of geography. Who is he?"

he was briefly on the NEC after various resignations (Seddon, Turner, Malik) in 2005-2006. At last NEC elections he finished in 7th place.
He's from Oldham IIRC

6:07 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Maggie said...

Ellie Reeves spoke at our GC the other night and was actually really impressive. I would say she's probably more left then Luke and I should think I'll vote for her.

She was really interesting on the issue of Colombia where she has done a lot of campaiging. Apparently she went last year with a group of trade unionists as part of a Justice for Colombia delegation.

7:41 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Elise Cordwainer said...

Ravi Gopaul - I suggest that you learn to use a spell checker (I won't suggest the more difficult option of actually learning to spell), before you refer to other people as idiots.

Eight spelling errors in six short paragraphs is a lot, even by Luke Akehurst's standards. Sort that now and we can discuss grammatical and punctuation errors at a later date.

8:28 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Neil F said...

I can't speak highly enough of Peter Wheeler and Ellie Reeves. I really enjoy Wheeler's Website and his commitment to travelling anywhere and everywhere to meet and support activists.

Ellie Reeves has been a great addition to the NEC and has been very good in highlighting the treatment of trade unionists in Colombia. She gives a fresh perspective around issues facing members and campaigning - particulary important in the run up to the next general election.

Along with Ann Black those three candidates have my vote.

9:41 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Lets face it there hasn't been a Labour party since John Smith.

When Labour took power they not only had the chance of power but also the real chance to make a real difference.

It's hard to count the number of missed opportunities but they really have run out of time. The election is at the latest 2010 and the state public finances will limit what any Labour leader can do.

Merseymike is completely correct there is very little loyalty to political parties. In the last 10 years I've never known so many MPs switch parties....virtually unheard of 20 years ago.

The British public has lost faith in politics and political parties are nearly all the same...liars. The only people loyal to Labour now are the blind and I think you'll see this as we approach 2009.

I've got a feeling that Brown may know this and call an election in the spring in an attempt to avoid giving the conservatives a working majority.

11:18 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

As someone who has never been on the left of the party, I would agree with Ravi. Labour needs to retain a broad church. The Tories who temporarily voted Labour in 97 are certainly not coming back next time. Labour must motivate their core vote - and that means BOTH the core working-class vote and the liberal-intelligentsia. In the past two elections they have either not voted (the former) or gone LibDem (the latter) in great enough numbers to deny Labour a win next time, given the limited Tory revival.

Who do you propose to attract to win back the votes needs for a fourth term, Luke?

11:19 pm, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Merseymike, they have lost the working class vote for very good reason.


Unless the government makes some concessions on immigration we won't come back to Labour. There is more than enough evidence to support this mike and consider that day in day out I work alongside working class people I think my opinion counts. I am one myself and these are my views.

My own company used to be a union shop and all employees were required to join one, but we've lost faith in them too and dropped that policy. It's now down to individual choice. As one of the few co-operative engineering companies left we are facing real financial problems from cheap labour and cheap imports.

11:47 pm, January 18, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

To be frank, Rich, there are some issues where it is better to retain some degree of principle. We are part of the EU and cannot, therefore, 'ban immigration'. Neither should we. If retaining some working class voters means aping the BNP then why bother to be in government at all? Labour is not a racist right-wing party and I do not think that they can or should go down that path.

Closed shops were made illegal a while back. I fail to see how 'individual choice' will assist workers in terms of protecting jobs. Few immigrants work in the field you mention in any case.

And quite how, in a globalised world, do you propose abolishing all cheap imports? You can't jump off the world wishing it was something different, though you can work for reform. But you appear to be suggesting some sort of siege economy?

Luke: coming back to the point I was making before - something I wanted to add is that one of the current difficulties facing Labour is that the Tory vote has been lower in the past two elections because of Tory abstentionism - but it now appears that the 'bogeyman' image of the Tories has been largely eradicated and that Tory voters who may have voted for us in 97 but didn't vote at all in the last two elections may well be returning to them. Under these circumstances, what sense does it make to antagonise left of centre voters whose natural inclination is to opt for Labour? Or would you seriously prefer them to look elsewhere?

1:13 am, January 19, 2008

Anonymous Azam fan... said...

Luke, Azam was a Labour councillor in Oldham when it was the number one target for the BNP (for a couple of years around 2001).

He was instrumental in bringing together a coalition including the TUC, a previously hostile local newspaper, the Muslim community together in confronting the racism of the BNP.

As a result of the campaigning work Labour not only routed the BNP but also took the council back off the Lib Dems.

He's no longer a councillor as far as I know but works in the voluntary sector. And he's a very friendly, down to earth guy if you ever have a chat with him.

7:18 am, January 19, 2008

Anonymous FC said...

Neil F, I had imagined you would be a support of the CLGA?

Ellie Reeves will have some success with winning some centre-left support with her interest in Justice for Columbia and her work with the trade unions.

She did however have a long article in Tribune before conference arguing in favour of the proposal to remove the right to discuss contemporary resolutions from CLPs.

7:24 am, January 19, 2008

Anonymous Neil F said...

I look at each individual's manifesto and record where possible and look for who I think is:

-most in touch with members' views
-going to defend the trade union link
-has good commitment to reporting back and appears open and accountable
-will add skills and insight to Labour's NEC and not weaken it

That's often led me to voting for CLGA candidates but by no means exclusively - I voted for Reeves and Wheeler last time. I think the challenge for the CLGA is to come up with fresh and dynamic candidates who can look to the future. I'm therefore glad to see that Mohammed Azam is standing and he can expect my vote.

9:14 am, January 19, 2008

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

"As Labour First does not take a position on policy questions..."

Says it all really.

But anyway, I don't really get Luke's contention that if the CLGA gets six seats, that means no other voices should get a look in. Any more than it would if Labour First had a majority - any NEC should be able to encompass a broad church of opinion. There's something very immature about this idea that any difference or wider range of opinion constitutes "a split".

3:33 pm, January 19, 2008

Anonymous gw said...

Ravi Thank you for confirming what a bunch of fools the LRC is.

Should LRC not stans for "Lets Reelect Conservatives"

9:52 pm, January 19, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

But that's exactly what will happen at the next election if current trends continue.....

What worked in 97 won't work now. To repeat again - many Tories who voted for us in 97 and were absentees in 2001 and 2005 have returned to voting Tory. Labour need to motivate, not deliberately alienate, supporters.

11:12 pm, January 19, 2008

Blogger susan press said...

I think Gordon Brown is doing a pretty good job when it comes to "Let's re-elect Conservatives"- Let's Return to Collectivism........

11:14 am, January 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a wonder that Gardiner can get selected as a council candidate with Labour First politics (which as Luke says, requires not having a position on policy questions) if you consider the resolutions her CLP normally sends to conference!


4:30 pm, January 20, 2008

Anonymous Richard said...

Well a Poll last week put Labour down a massive 12 points behind the Conservatives.

The reality is that not all the lost Labour votes are going to the Lib Dems which seem to be struggling on 17%. However, Nick Clegg is very competent and could easily snatch a few million Labour voters before 2010.

When you consider that Brown has over a 100 seat majority and despite this he's now over 10 points behind, is a pretty shocking performance.

I think many people are staying open and will vote tactically at the next election to remove Labour. Some Labour voters will not vote at all and many will opt for the BNP and UKIP as people have lost faith in Europe.

7:07 pm, January 20, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

My prediction for the next election:

CON 43.00% 359
LAB 28.00% 200
LIB 25.00% 63

7:14 pm, January 20, 2008

Blogger Wiseman for NEC said...

I am astounded at this blog. I do think some of the people on the members first slate have represented opinion in the party, it seems a mixed slate Ellie (centrist), peter (centre-right), Azhar (decent person Centre -right. Its not all right wing, but I can't see again the democracy, who selected the candidates?, a bunch of people in telephone box with who wants to have a career in the Labour party and future MP??

Lets wait and See

John Wiseman
PPC Westmorland and Lonsdale

8:29 pm, January 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"bunch of people in telephone box with who wants to have a career in the Labour party and future MP??"

I did sort of get the gist of what you meant, but I'm not sure it's entirely wise for someone who is a PPC to make the point you're making. I think (I could be wrong) that you are the only PPC out of any of the declared candidates so far?

9:11 pm, January 20, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The candidates chose to run themselves just like you did Jon, then asked for Labour First's support, no one picked them.

9:37 pm, January 20, 2008

Blogger Wiseman for NEC said...

Good point about being a PPC. The grassroots people tend to be actvists, as do members first, but in differing ways. You could say I am looking after my career, but I am not I am doing this for the members and the grassroots (there is a difference). Luke thats a bit of a funny answer most of them stood under the First banner last time (just a point), so why ask again.





10:25 pm, January 20, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Dear Elise,
Your post is one that ignores the points I am trying make and focuses on my spelling, punctuation, or grammar. The purpose of the post therefore is to correct or demean rather than respond or contribute, and typically is insulting in the place of response.

Even the most skilled, careful speller and linguist in the world will make mistakes, mis-type, and put words in the wrong sequence. Few people have a flawless grasp of their own language and will make grammatical errors that can make a sentence less easy to understand and read. In some cases, someone is in such a hurry they don't look carefully and respond to get it out there as fast as possible in passion or a desire to be the first to say something (of which in this case I am guilty). All of these are reasons that a post might be misspelled or have terrible grammar.

If someone misspells, give them the benefit of the doubt, unless it is truly egregious and they ought to know better - such as a person posing as a college professor of English Literature who cannot spell or use proper grammar. As far as you know, the person who can't seem to string a sentence together well sould come from Indonesia and speaks more languages than you own books.

Lot of Love

Your Darling Ravi

9:25 am, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Some of you Labour members are blind to what is really happening in this country.

Just wait until 2010, there will be a sea of blue...and all because you refuse to accept that you are so wrong.

12:14 pm, January 21, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Presumably the two men on the slate move is deliberate tactics Luke?

Rather than a deliberate opening to add Ann Black as a fourth woman candidate (there are to be three of each in the final picks of course and doing this wouldn't make much sense) or indeed someone else. Makes sense. Why pretend it is a gesture to the idea of the broad church?

Azam is indeed from Oldham Andrea. A former Oldham Councillor and a very important part of the coalition in Oldham which has succeeded in keeping the BNP down in the borough. He has some backers as a PPC though I don't know whether he has been actively seeking selection this round.

Think he was actually sixth in the popular vote last time. But there were already three men?

1:32 pm, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wiseman, I am astounded by some of the comments you made about the labour first slate. I can't think of anyone less careerist in terms of climbing the greasy pole in the labour party than Peter W. Sorry; but just because he agrees with mainstream opinion doesnt somehow make him some kind of rabid careerist. And what does centre right mean??? In Labour party terms, on the whole political spectrum. . . .

I genuinely think he just wants to represent the members.


1:36 pm, January 21, 2008

Blogger Wiseman for NEC said...

I think that is a valid point Peter is actually the person that got my first go at being seleced or a seat in 2004. He is a nice bloke, but I have to state where the political spectrum he stands or we could all end up in the middle. I would say that this is overall a centre-right with union trimmings slate, and not a right wing slate. Anyway good luck to all.

J Wiseman

2:51 pm, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right so we are talking on the right of the labour party rather than of the political spectrum because I think by being a labour member he is on the political left.

3:06 pm, January 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must say reading the CLGA slate leaflet it appears to be a little light on actual achievements by the candidates especially those who have been on the NEC. Is their position one of keeping the true flame burning and opposition to the current leadership - but ultimately achieving nothing?

1:11 pm, January 22, 2008

Blogger Wiseman for NEC said...

I think that there is creditable candidates on both slates, but if we are talking about the NEC, we are talking about actvists, that is not afraid to go on the odd march etc.


2:50 pm, January 22, 2008

Anonymous Ann Black said...

Anonymous wrote:

"...the CLGA slate leaflet appears to be a little light on actual achievements by the candidates especially those who have been on the NEC."

Communicating with the people who elected us is an uphill battle, because the party will not give most of us access even to CLP addresses. My record since 1999 is at http://www.annblack.com/ and anyone with questions, comments or feedback,or who would like future reports mailed directly, can contact me at
annblack50@btinternet.com or annblack50@yahoo.co.uk

Ann Black

9:07 am, January 25, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about Reeves or Wheeler.
Both were asked fairly straighforward questions by my clp secretary regarding local government elections and gender bias. Reeves waffled and didn't answer the questions and Wheeler didn't respond at all.

1:27 pm, February 01, 2008

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