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.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Taking the long view

I went to the 90th birthday party today of Bert Karpin, one of the stalwarts of Hackney North & Stoke Newington Labour Party.

Bert is very definitely not from my wing of the Labour Party, and has responded in fairly memorably blunt fashion to some of my speeches at Constituency GC meetings in the past, but the eclectic politics of the guests showed that its possible to disagree with people vigorously on a lot of issues but still be proud to consider them as a comrade.

Hearing Bert's wife Greta, our CLP Secretary, describe how he has been a Labour Party activist since 1933 put the current problems facing the Party in perspective: in his time as a member he's seen 10 party leaders come and go (and probably disagreed with all of them), the Party go up from 52 seats to 393, down again to 209 and up again to 418, win 9 General Elections and lose 9 and all the time he's consistently said and believed the same things.

Neither Bert nor Greta has ever held elected public office (though Greta is well known to Labour and union activists for her job working for Clive Jenkins at the ASTMS trade union) - despite both of them having political skills that would put many current Labour MPs to shame - but their voluntary contribution of hours and hours of work over the years has kept our CLP functioning through thick and thin.

It'd be nice to think the Labour Party could give Bert a 90th birthday present by getting its act together and starting to work to win the next General Election.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Rich said...

Luke you need to get a reality check and look at the real picture. When Labour took power they took an a healthy public purse thanks to Ken Clarke.

They could and people expected them to spend this money wisely. The Railways needed sorting and so did the NHS and our schools. Instead the money has been wasted on projects that have had very little impact on real life. Yes you can show figures saying otherwise because you have employed an army of statisticians to give you this but the reality is very different.

Now the cash has gone and the economy is actually shrinking there won't be room for progressive socialist policies. Plus there's no stomach at the moment for anymore tax increases. Brown hasn't any room and is literally boxed in waiting for an election defeat.

If you work in business you should know that the current climate is not looking very good. Wages are falling and unemployment is rising. To make matters worse inflation is completely out of control and the UK is facing increasing competition from the new world economies.

Labour have wasted a golden opportunity to make a real impact while in power. Just one major success could have sealed Labours place in history again but sadly I can't see this term having a positive place in our social and economic history.

In 1942 the Welfare state was created. Yet in 2008 the Labour party after over 10 years in power has failed to reform or modernise the Act that made this country Great.

9:49 pm, May 25, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of Labour's myths is the claim to reduced unemployment.

It has done nothing of the sort. The various New Deals have played a part in reducing the jobless on horrendously expensive schems with a huge and expensive marzipan management layer and with no long-term benefit to the individual or to the state.

The other device to disguise unemployment has been the use of Incapacity Benefit. The attraction of IB is that you come off the claimant count and therefore off the unemployment statistics.

Could there be any other reason why the IB count went from just over 1m when Labour took office to 2.3m now.

The explanation could be a rising tide of depression as the population realised the full scale of Labour's mismanagement of the economy.

10:11 pm, May 25, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ask the old Commie bastard if he supported Russia in the 1950s.

You should have stuck his testicles in a freezer if he did which was probably the case.

Just so he understood what his ideas meant for God knows how many millions who died in the Siberian gulags.

Don't let him go quietly into the night thinking for one moment he did the right thing.

10:39 pm, May 25, 2008

 
Blogger John Gray said...

Hi Nasty Anon(s)
Are you all so lacking in any common humanity not to wish an old player well? I suppose it is right to consider who will give a damn on your 90th? (in the unlikely....)

11:07 pm, May 25, 2008

 
Anonymous Freddy Demuth said...

What a waste of a life. Since 1933 supporting a party with 10 leaders you disagree with! That man needs his head tested. You'd think he'd have joined the commies or socialist workers where at least he would have found some comrades in arms.

What a Nutter!

11:09 am, May 26, 2008

 
Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

Well I, for one, think this is a rather magnanimous posting. They are few and far between so, folks, we should appreciate them when they come.

As for the bit where Luke writes: "Bert is very definitely not from my wing of the Labour Party, and has responded in fairly memorably blunt fashion to some of my speeches at Constituency GC meetings in the past" . . . I have to admit that the prospect of hearing that sort of dialogue tempts me to become a Party member!

1:20 pm, May 26, 2008

 
Anonymous Tory Slayer said...

"When Labour took power they took an a healthy public purse thanks to Ken Clarke.".

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

2:17 pm, May 26, 2008

 
Anonymous Moishe Rosenberg said...

So do you agree with Greta, then, that all Hasidic Jews are "inbreeds"?

3:33 pm, May 26, 2008

 
Anonymous Edna Gribbins said...

Sounds like the best birthday present we can give to Big Greta is a course of seminars in anti-racism and cultural awareness.

5:47 pm, May 26, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I rather doubt she ever said that, seeing as her husband, the subject of this post, is Jewish (though not in any way religious), and she spent polling day on May 1st phone canvassing with Cllr Joseph Stauber, who is a Hasidic Jew, and told me afterwards how much she had enjoyed working with him.

8:54 pm, May 26, 2008

 
Blogger zhang said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:16 am, May 27, 2008

 
Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Rich, the world is approaching a tough economic cycle, but I take your points. It is laughable that some figures in the Labour Party believe you can tame capitalism, quote- no boom and bust. If there is no boom and bust there is no capitalism, so stupid ill conceived policies help create the open market is doomed to failure on the social side (as I think you imply).

On Luke's CLP comrade best wishes to him and his missus. It certainly is good to hear someone reaching his 90s and still is so spritely.

2:38 pm, May 27, 2008

 

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