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.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Susan Press

I don't normally bother reacting to the lunacy spouted by Susan Press of Labour Left Briefing and the Labour Representation Committee on her blog, http://grimmerupnorth.blogspot.com/

But three of her four most recent posts really are extraordinary.

Post one attacks the Labour campaign in the Glasgow East by-election. How about waiting until after polling day to critique it Susan? Did it not occur to you that Labour members should be saying supportive things while an important by-election is actually being contested?

Post two reveals that one of Susan's mates in the LRC is named Lenin, presumably because his parents thought it was appropriate to glorify a mass-murderer and dictator when they named their kids.

Post four urges Labour Party activists to pick where they will campaign based not on the marginality of the seat, but on the politics of the MP i.e. the left should only campaign for left MPs. Having spent a lot of time earlier this year campaigning for Ken Livingstone, and in previous years alongside Diane Abbott - despite not sharing much of either one's politics - I find this suggestion grossly offensive. Labour activists should campaign for the Labour Party Candidate in their own seat, and for the nearest MP in a marginal seat that needs their help - you don't pick and choose who you canvass for based on whether they pass your own ideological litmus test.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why Oh Why are you surprised Luke ?

It has long been obvious that Press is Labour in name only.

Come on, Susan stand in your own colours, and watch everybody treat you with the contempt that you have earned.


2:02 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous hughes views said...

Poor old Susan. She's still longing to fight the same old battles she thought she was fighting when she was eighteen and still dreaming of the entire UK being as lovely as Liverpool was when Militant was in charge. I don't think she can ever have got as far as L for loyalty in the Girls ABC Book of Political Theory...

2:24 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:37 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Sad to say this as I agree with Susan's politics but I think you make valid points

The point about supporting Labour MPs.

I agree labour members of the LRC should help their local MPs get elected. I told you once as Labour party members we should fight tooth and nail for whoever our MP is so I that is why I agree with you. There are mechanisms in the party where it is possible to eject a parliamentary candidate. If we want to get our point across it should be done then. If the local party has selected a candidate to stand on our ticket they deserve our support (even if we have to hold our noses to do it).

In Susan's defence though the LRC also have socialists who are not members of the party so who they help is up to them surely? Unions have said they won't back MPs that don't fight their cause in Westminster, and I quite frankly see no difference.

On your other points, probably not the most helpful comments vis a vis Glasgow East, although I am more worried about the SNP, lets campaign positively for a Labour victory!

As for a kid being called Lenin, whatever name the parents give their child is their business surely? Didn’t that Gwyneth Paltrow call her kid Apple? (It was Apple wasn’t it?). But on your broader point, not funny I agree. Lenin was ruthless and bloody with it, although according to Gorbechev (and I agree with him on this) Lenin might have transferred Russia into a multiparty state had he lived longer. Stalin hated him. He called Lenin's wife a "syphilitic whore"
On a slightly related point and completely true I might add did you hear about two candidates in an Indian election? One called himself Stalin and the other Hitler! The attempt was to make themselves better known. I don't think even that Max Clifford could successfully spin the candidates out of that one!

2:38 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

Having just read the post you identify as Susan's fourth, you've completely misrepresented it. The aim was clearly to get people who wouldn't campaign for their local MPs to campaign for a Labour candidate whose politics they agreed with, not to get people who are already campaigning for their local MP to stop.

There's nothing disloyal about that; it's just pragmatic politics. You'd do the same as a local organiser getting volunteers who didn't like one candidate to campaign for another instead. Should we be telling people that if they don't like one Labour candidate they can't campaign for any?

For what it's worth, I know a LP member who lives in Islington and won't campaign for Jeremy Corbynn because he regards him as too left-wing. So I encourage

3:16 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

last post should have finished "him to help elsewhere. We need all the support we can get."

3:17 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Luke - I do think this a rather silly post.

If I take the last post you mentioned first - the call was not for everyone to 'just' campaign for MPs or candidates they agreed with, it was an appeal to people who are thinking of not campaigning at all. I do think sometimes you should at least semi-appreciate the work some of us do in recruiting people and stopping people from leaving. Sometimes stopping people from leaving includes reminding them that there are people who share their views. Of course those of us who you are stuck with long-term will be out there campaigning for people we find as ideologically unsavoury as you find Ken or Diane! So I really don't think that post demanded any censure - surely you'd rather have people campaigning for Labour somewhere than either sat at home sulking or campaigning for some fringe sectlet? (Perhaps you wouldn't, but that's a debate for another day).

On one of the other points, I remember your friend and mine, Mr. Findell once saying - at a York University Union General Meeting many moons ago - that he strongly looked up to Lenin (can't remember his reasoning now, something to do with the New Economic Policy; I do believe he compared him to Neil Kinnock!) - I'm not going to be jumped into taking you to task on a question of Soviet political history (after all this isn't a bust-up between members of the Fourth International, though sometimes your comedy sectarianism does have that flavour to it) but possibly commenting on the interesting fact that you'd just met someone called Lenin is not actually particularly threatening or offensive - just recounting an interesting happening of the day! It's not like she accused moderate Labourites and Trade Unionists of supporting kidnapping and terrorism (while heaping praise on a human-rights-violator who actually does makes Lenin look a little like Neil Kinnock) or anything really stupid like that!!

3:27 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Michael said...

Yeah man, lenin should have just let the 14 invading armies and the whites butcher the working class, coz, like, violence is bad yeah? Unless of course its bourgeois violence, thats fine. Viva the White Terror boo the Red Terror, long live the world bourgeoisie, long live social democracy! All the CC votes won by Lenin were bogus and he loved the bureaucratisation of the war measures! They were for survival and to fight the counter-revolution you say? Viva the counter-revolution, let the gentry, lords, generals and priests slaughter the red army! No class unity but bourgeois class unity! No revolutionary violence but counter-revolutioanry violence! No class rule but bourgeois class rule! At least we're not the Tories Shoop da whoop! No democracy but that founded on private proprty and alienated labour and surplus value -that IS democracy!

3:27 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger susan said...

Oh for heaven's sake. Have you no eye for a headline. Lenin Williams is not a "mate" nor as far as I know anything to do with the LRC. He's the son of Vin Williams, who helped turn Wortley Hall near Barnsley into a base for the labour and co-op movement. It was aided by the unions, miners, people in the locality. Pretty terrible stuff, eh.
Glasgow East is a debacle and does it never occur to you Luke that if New Labour stopped parachuting people in and alowed people to make their own minds up maybe this by-election would not be so problematic.
And I did NOT say only campaign for Left Mps. I acknowledged there are many who would find it difficult to support a New Labour candidate MP - in which case they could go and help Labour eleswhere. Given the choice between saviung the seat of a local Left Mp in trouble and a New Labour candidate with no chance of winning- yes I would go elsewhere.
PS: I know someone in the NUJ caled Stalingrad - presmably a hanging offence

4:47 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word is that Susan's got a thing for John McDonnell. Rumour has it she's been salivating at the size of his majority, if you know what I mean!

Ding dong!

7:55 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Think some of the comments both of you make are way over the top. The problem is that in your own way you are both party people and that does require a degree of loyalty. I certainly wouldn't canvass or even vote for someone I didn't rate irrespective of the party label. So, irrespective of anything else, I wouldn't vote Labour in the seat I am being moved to in the boundary changes. I do think that one should use one's brain and not just vote for a party label.

However, whether the person is 'left' or 'right' wouldn't matter - but voting for a homophobe is out of the question.

If you decide to work in a marginal then its quite reasonable to choose one where you like the MP.

Glasgow. Well, on the surface, there seems to be good reason to vote for the SNP who are doing a good job at providing social democratic governance. Making the sort of decisions worthy of Labour, indeed.

8:31 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke you make some good points but they are undermined by a silly reference to the Lenin post.

I am closer to Susan's politics than I am to you, but I despair at her unpleasantness and negative attitude. She is an embarrassment to the Labour Left, and I wish she would go away.

8:40 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LAbour now has a candidate for glasgow east Beat thAt tories and snp. Here is a link

So much for by election chaos she is first class candidate one of the best politicans in the country.

10:06 pm, July 07, 2008

Blogger susan said...

I think I have always given Luke credit for being honest about where he stands. I don't write my blog as a party loyalist but as a journalist - so I pick up on issues like Glasgow East from its standpoint as a news story- I have stated quite clearly that it will be a disaster if Labour loses but, as in Crewe and Nantwich, we seem to be wrongfooted from the start.
I attended a very positive meeting on Saturday packed with people enthused about the policies and idea of the LRC. If people choose to resort to personal abuse in an anonymous fashion well I can only say it's contemptible.

10:57 pm, July 07, 2008

Anonymous Ben said...

Come on Susan, you're being disingenuous. You don't write your blog as a journalist. You write your blog as a leftist sectarian first and foremost. You criticise the party constantly. Your oppositionalism is clear for all to see.

I mean, it's actually rather tragi-comic in a way. You can bleat on as much as you like about a dead ideology with no relevance or application to modern circumstances, and no one in authority will ever listen to you. And quite rightly so. I'd leave the party if dinosaurs like you were in charge. But it'll be a cold day in hell before you achieve anything remotely approaching what you want, so it's all good. Just as long as you keep handing over cash and delivering leaflets, eh? Then everyone's happy, despite your regular dispeptic erruptions. :)

3:15 am, July 08, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

So, maybe Susan doesn't agree with the party. I don't eity'her, though I don't consider myself to be on the left of the party.

The difference is that Susan stayed in the party and will vote labour next time. I didn't and almost definitely won't without major changes.

8:33 pm, July 08, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Ben, you are quite an odious little squirt aren’t you?

5:02 pm, July 09, 2008

Blogger Chris Paul said...

It is hard to read Susan's posts as either journalism or party loyalism. They are personal opinionism and fairly irresponsible and disloyal IMO.

The deserting candidate in Glasgow East was and is an embarrassment but as I believe that either Margaret Curren or Steven Purcell should have been the candidate anyway, in that order, I'm pleased with where we are at now.

The SNP man is allegedly a Nat Fundie whose major motivation is destruction of the union rather than the lot of the working people of Shettleston, allegedly a misogynist, allegedly a dirty trickster, and allegedly a bully. Including within his own ranks. Says Dorothy-Grace Elder a socialist former-Nat. She says Margaret Curran (her opponent) played fair whereas Mason (her ally) undermined her.

Choosing which MPs you work for as well as or instead of your home constituency and any twinned marginal seems fair enough to me. As long as it is a place that needs bodies. These things even up.

4:35 pm, July 12, 2008

Blogger susan said...

So personal opinions can't be journalism? And, Chris, as I have said many times, my loyalty is 100 per cent to the values of the Labour Party. ie ppeace and social justice. These are NOT represented by Ministers like John "let's privatise everything" Hutton who is an out-and-out Tory nor indeed most of New Labour's policy And what could be more "irresponsible" than a Prime Minister who came to power a year ago on a wave of goodwill which he has somehow managed to squander. To pretend that is not so is REAL irrsponsbility. And patently untrue.

7:11 pm, July 12, 2008

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1:10 am, August 07, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until I read this lot I was under the impression that the infamous "Judaean People's Liberation Front" (or whatever) scene in the Life Of Brian was a parody...

12:19 pm, January 22, 2009


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