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, August 21, 2008

More Campaign Group shrinkage

The hard left Socialist Campaign Group of MPs has seen two more of its 22 current members (John Austin, and yesterday Ann Cryer) announce their retirement at the next General Election.

In percentage terms this means 50% of the Campaign Group are leaving parliament through retirement or deselection, compared to just 8.5% of the rest of the PLP.

Diane Abbott MP
John Austin MP - retiring
Michael Clapham MP - retiring
Katy Clark MP
Harry Cohen MP
Frank Cook MP - deselected
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Ann Cryer MP - retiring
William Etherington MP - retiring
Neil Gerrard MP - retiring
Ian Gibson MP
David Hamilton MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Lynne Jones MP - retiring
Bob Marshall-Andrews MP - retiring
John McDonnell MP
Austin Mitchell MP
Linda Riordan MP
Alan Simpson MP - retiring
Dennis Skinner MP
David Taylor MP - retiring
Bob Wareing MP - deselected
Mike Wood MP

The hard left has also been remarkably unsuccessful in getting new potential Campaign Group members selected in winnable seats - though the soft left Compass has done quite well. Janet Oosthuysen in Calder Valley is the only PPC in a Labour-held seat who I am aware of who is likely to join them.

There is a serious implication to this as it further reduces the chances of John McDonnell or any other hard left challenger being able to muster enough MP nominators to get on the ballot paper in the event of a leadership election in the next Parliament. If all the 11 above who are restanding, plus Janet Oosthuysen, hold their seats (which is a tall order as some of the seats involved are marginals) that means that the PLP as a whole would have to shrink to just 96 MPs in order for the Campaign Group to hit the 12.5% threshold needed to nominate for Leader and Deputy.

30 Comments:

Blogger Merseymike said...

Whilst not a Campaign Group/LFC supporter, I think that the democratic left has a place in the Labour party.

Remember that like it or not, local parties have relied on left-wingers to do a lot of the work - many have now either left Labour or are taking a back seat and as a result parties are moribund.

In any case, why shouldn't McDonnell stand? He wouldn't win under any circumstances, and you gain nothing from blocking him. A lot of the problem brown has with his credibility is his 'coronation'. Why are you scared of democracy?

10:24 am, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

Well, I think there could be at least a couple more retirements to come, which raises big questions about whether the Campaign Group will actually continue after the next election or whether they'll attempt to join with others to form a centre-left group.

I'm not sure that the hard left's failure to get more PPC's selected is especially remarkable. Only a couple of the current list came in in 2005, so one this time seems very similar.

It's interesting that several of those quitting - Alan Simpson, Lynne Jones - aren't especially old so seem to be deciding that there isn't much value to staying in parliament.

10:53 am, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous tim f said...

I note that the tone of Luke's remarks about McDonnell's place in any future leadership election after the next GE, & the amount of vote the left can mobilise recently have gone from "bring it on - it'll show the 'hard' left has no support" to being worried about the possibility of a challenge.

It's also worth noting that McDonnell's support last time came partly from MPs that weren't in the Campaign Group, and that not all MPs in the Campaign Group nominated him, so the two aren't entirely analagous.

11:41 am, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Middle England Bedwetter said...

Hard left, soft left. Nonsense. The "soft left" are just the hard left disguised so that they are more acceptable to the electorate and can seize power in classic socialist subversive tradition.

The sooner we see the back of the lot of them the better. Ideologically impoverished, dogmatic socialism has no place in modern Britain.

12:06 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Vulpus_rex said...

"The sooner we see the back of the lot of them the better. Ideologically impoverished, dogmatic socialism has no place in modern Britain."

Hear, hear.

New Labour have failed on absolutely every count so cannot imagine the terrible damage if some actual, real socialists got a whiff of power.

12:20 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

"Hard left, soft left. Nonsense. The "soft left" are just the hard left disguised"
and
"The sooner we see the back of the lot of them the better. Ideologically impoverished, dogmatic socialism has no place in modern Britain...Hear, hear."

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear - What's that? Oh, the sound of deck chairs being moved.

12:41 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Obnoxio The Clown said...

Diane Abbott MP is "hard left", is she? This is the same hard left that means she can send her kids to private schools because she doesn't think the hard left state schools are up to the job?

It's no surprise that left-wingers are so highly-strung: it must be difficult reconciling all the hypocrisies and mendacities.

12:53 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, this news is going to make Susan Press fall off Hebden Bridge.

How long before she's howling at the moon every month?

Classic lefties are going the way of sparrows.

1:32 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Robert said...

New Labour is in fact the Tories and the Tories are in fact themselves, at the next election I can see most Labour party voters voting Tory because right now they are more socialist then Labour.

Or will they just join the other 62% of the population and sit at home thinking why bother, my self I will be sitting at home.

3:09 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

“It's no surprise that left-wingers are so highly-strung: it must be difficult reconciling all the hypocrisies and mendacities.”
and
“How long before she's howling at the moon every month? Classic lefties are going the way of sparrows.”

Luke with these and my earlier quotes above from others here, this is nothing less than a pack of intolerant, offensive, hateful ranters that you are giving vent to – is this really what your version of the Labour Party is coming to?

4:28 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Simon said...

"It's interesting that several of those quitting - Alan Simpson, Lynne Jones - aren't especially old so seem to be deciding that there isn't much value to staying in parliament."

Lynne Jones's seat is being split into three and she was not the favourite for any of the successor seats. This was probably her main reason for standing down.

6:04 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Anonymous said...

There's more than half a chance the whole lot of them will be history after the next election. They'll be out on a street corner near you, singing for their supper.

6:11 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Of course there is the matter of the Blairite wing becoming a lot weaker after the next election too, cos a whole load of them are likely to lose their seats because of the government's unimpressive performance.

And in such an hour of need, what we in the party need most of course is a sectarian broadside from Luke aimed at hard-working members of his own party. Keep it up.

6:39 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares they are all Dinosaurs and will soon be extinct,thank the lord.

7:12 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Of course we could comment on the fact that an excellent Labour MP is resigning, and reflect on her great service to the party and the people of Keighley?

No? We'll just stick to the sectarian balderdash shall we?

Fair enough.

(PS: If we are to reflect on lefts and rights and so on, bear in mind that Keighley CLP nominated John McDonnell last year, and asked Ann to nominate John McDonnell, so it seems more than likely that they will select a Left PPC)

8:30 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Hang about - there have been some sectarian comments from other people but my original post was purely factual. Actually I quite rate Ann Cryer, have not heard bad things about John Austin, and whilst I would wish to see him well beaten, think it would be better for Party democracy if John McDonnell could find 12.5% of the PLP so that members would have the chance to reject his politics in a ballot.

8:54 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

"Hard left, soft left. Nonsense. The "soft left" are just the hard left disguised so that they are more acceptable to the electorate and can seize power in classic socialist subversive tradition."

General Franco??

11:46 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

"Hang about - there have been some sectarian comments from other people but my original post was purely factual."

Luke, there is a lot of factual stuff that people write about. Deducing the intended effect is all about noticing the facts they choose.

11:49 pm, August 21, 2008

 
Blogger ian said...

Hi Luke.

Odd way of looking at the state of the Party when you consider its low membership levels nationally. The current dominance of New Labour is reflected in the fact that no one is joining the party while plenty have left it.They are only accountable to themselves.

The way things are going there wont soon be anyone left to campaign for the party come the next general elections. What would be useful is you posting figures showing the membership decline instead of reports of bye elections which only show the pitiful turnouts at elections regardless who win the seats.

We have come a long way since the heady days of 97 when the party boasted 400'000 plus members. Where I live all I can count are ex members and the situation is getting worse.I am sure that is reflected nationally.

That probably explains the weakness of the left in the party, campaign group or otherwise. I think Mike in the first post reflects the situation as well.

Stop burying your head in the sand Luke.

regards

Ian

6:32 am, August 22, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the PLP as a whole would have to shrink to just 96 MPs in order for the Campaign Group to hit the 12.5% threshold needed to nominate for Leader and Deputy

well, if Broon keeps his job until 2010, and assuming we're not at war with Russia, this scenario's not so far-fetched

11:25 am, August 22, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

I think this explains why the Labour party is in a state of decline. As for why Labour are scared of democracy, the answer is they are scared of losing.

Just look at the way in which Brown handled to the vote on the EU treaty. A total breach of democracy. Any politician worth his salt would have argued the case for a referendum and put it to the people as promised by Tony Blair.

Labour are so scared of anything outside the inner realms of the cabinet that it is starting affect their decision and policy making.

A very inward looking government.

9:56 pm, August 22, 2008

 
Blogger John Wiseman said...

The left is not dead. It is the new labour side of the Labour party that is dying and these are the main peope attacking Gordon. Sometimes I feel some in our party are braindead.

John Wiseman

9:15 pm, August 23, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

No, Rich - the party should have made it clear that referendums are not how government is run and that a vote for Labour would be a vote for Europe.

The referendum promise was just a bit of sleazy populism. I do not support any referenda for anything.

10:17 pm, August 23, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Yes mike but Blair won an election on a promise of a referendum....this makes the argument for one very different.

3:43 pm, August 24, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

No, it doesn't. It simply means he got it wrong in the first place.

10:08 pm, August 24, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Clapham has not announced that he intends to retire...

8:39 pm, August 25, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

A promise is a promise and it should have been honoured. It was also part of the Labour manifesto and if they can't honour that then what is the point of democracy. We might as well be living in Russia or China.

I'm sure mike you would change your tune if the conservatives pledge to honour current public spending on hospitals and schools was reversed and ended up being withdrawn altogether.

Anyway the problems of this treaty are far from over and is being proclaimed dead by many of our EU members. The Irish are refusing point blank to accept it and so are many other nations and I can only see more opposition to it increasing as the global recession bites in 2009.

The EU represents corporations and not its people and this is why so many are rejecting it. It removes our ability to nationalise key sectors and reduces competiveness for small business.

10:01 pm, August 25, 2008

 
Anonymous Rich said...

Considering we have had a Labour government for some time now, this bit clip is rather disturbing.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/08/26/do2603.xml

Labour isn't working.

9:04 pm, August 26, 2008

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

No, Rich, I am totally opposed to referenda of all types. That's the issue for me. I don't believe manifestos are 'promises' and that isn't how I treat them.

The EU will continue to exist because of the necessity of belonging to a cooperative bloc in a globalised world. I would agree that the free market influence on the EU is too large, largely the fault of the British governments who are lukewarm towards the EU in any case, and too uncritical of the market.

But there is no viable alternative.

3:20 pm, August 28, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janet Oosthuysen is gone now, so I wouldn't worry. Deselected this week.

5:54 pm, January 26, 2009

 

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