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, September 21, 2008

The day we got our momentum back

I'm in the not very useful situation of being a blogger with a non-functioning blackberry hence the lack of instant reportage of conference.

Through the muzzy haze induced by a series of vodka martinis consumed until 3am this morning I can however deduce that over the last 48 hours the Labour Party has regained an all important political commodity - momentum.

The PM's actions to deal with the financial crisis have restored his reputation for decisiveness and sound decisiveness as well.

JK Rowling has lifted staff and activist morale with her £1m donation.

Comres shows the Lib Dems on 21% (up 4%), Labour on 27% (up 2) and the Tories on 39% (down 5) - a Tory lead of 12% not the 19% shown in their last poll - a difference that is worth 50 seats in a General Election.

A proper poll by YouGov - as opposed to a shonky one by labourhome - of Labour members shows there is no appetite for a change of Leader at the grassroots.

We are back in the game, and if senior figures in the Party regain their political self-confidence and stop trying to hedge their bets about Gordon's leadership, we could still win it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I always admire your optimism - but you have to also be realistic.

The YouGov poll showed that there was very little belief in the Labour Party that they will win the election. It also showed that the majority believed GB to be weak and a ditherer. You can't spin that away so easily.

You chose not to mention the PoliticsHome poll in the marginals. This shows that Labour are in real trouble.

You might also want to look at the canvass returns from Glenrothes. Heading towards a 5000 vote majority for the SNP - according to LABOUR sources up there. Again - that is not a forward momentum.

Look at the media today - it is not about Labour on the rise, it is about leadership, change and the post-Brown positioning of various candidates.

Cling on to hope - it is about all that you seem to have at present

12:24 pm, September 21, 2008

Blogger Unknown said...

So there you have it: as long as we hold our collective breath and say nothing challenging or radical, we'll be in power again. If "party unity" is the be-all and end-all of politics, and loyalty and faith the job of activists, I don't think we will have come to terms with the wider crisis of political (or economic, for that matter) legitimacy, against which the election of another Labour Government is a minor detail. Sorry, but I don't think this will do at all.

12:24 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious! You are fucked. Question is how much further damage will your moron leader do to our country before he is ousted.

BTW, I say this as one who voted Labour from my first vote in 1970 until Iraq. Never again. Brown is a tyrant who must be taken down.

12:51 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rowling has clearly ridden a Quidditch-stick the wrong way if she thinks that the most authoritarian British Government in modern history deserves to be propped up. Rubbish books, rubbish person.
Oh, and the YouGov poll (in which you place so much faith) also indicates that Labour will go down to one of its worst-ever defeats. Well - we can only hope!

1:09 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anything, this week's financial crisis has shown that London's claims to be a financial centre are just a lot of bollocks, and ipso facto, Brown's claims to have acted decisively are similarly bogus.

Arguably, if Brown is claiming to have acted as the vital intermediary to have saved HBOS then he has lived up to his 100% record as the Jonah of British politics. LloydsTSB got HBOS for half its book value. The shareholders were shafted.

Brown's other claim to have acted against "shorters" is again bollocks. It wasn't the action of short-sellers that was the problem but the decision of institutional sellers deciding HBOS was unviable.

Brown is reduced now to attempting to stitch up all vestiges of democracy in the Labour Party to ensure his survival. He argues that a leadership election would be divisive so he can cling on. Well, perhaps he can blackmail Labour party members on that one but the electorate is reading it for what it is.

And if that weren't enough, Brown is surely destined to slip up on some other banana skin given his reliable certainty of doing just that.

He blew the electorate's support when he cancelled the election with all that bollocks about needing to set out his vision. He's now determined to drag you lot down into the swamp with him.

2:17 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke - grow up !

We have a problem, it's called Gordon Brown.

There is no chance of any recovery with him in situe.

The sooner he goes the more chance to recover. It won't be PR Consultants who suffer under a Tory Government it will be our people.


2:20 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mean there are canvass returns from Glenrothes? I thought it was a safe seat where people are only admitted to the CLP on sectarian lines and canvassing's a waste of time because the Labour vote is weighed not counted, just like er... Glasgow East...

6:05 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought our host's name was Luke, not Lord Lucan.

What is this red hair about? Guns to the right, guns to the left, guns up our backside and guns to the front.

A minor difficulty. We'll advance in an orderly formation.

8:07 pm, September 21, 2008

Blogger Rage against the Machine said...


I admire your tribal loyalty to the Party. However, we must fess up. The Labour Party, under Gordon Brown, maintaining its present course is doomed to destruction.

It is very unfortunate that we have the likes of John Prescott and other supposed "loyalists" criticising rebels such as Charles Clarke. It is about time they shut up and took serious note of, and pondered on what Charles Clarke et al are saying. They talk total sense. The Labour Party must eject Brown, replace him with David Miliband and take a radically different policy approach.

To suggest that there is no appetite for replacing Gordon Brown is to put it nicely abject nonsense.

Apart from the fact Brown is a hopeless leader, can you answer me the question as to why as a supposed "Democratic" Party it was only M.P.'s and not the MEMBERSHIP that voted for the leader and hence the PM. Both the Party and the Country are seriously suffering as a result of the stifled debate which engulfed the Party when Tony Blair (someone whom I greatly admired) stood down.

Seeing Gordon Brown being interveiwed on the BBC today I winced. He totally avoided the questions, and came across as totally ignorant to the plight of the electorate, along with the current political landscape.

Over the past several months I have, through conducting thorough research, been totally horrified ans dismayed at the appalling commercialisation of the NHS. The private sector has no right to run NHS services. I know it cannot be a bottomless pit, but it is being run as a business. It is for this reason that there has been a shameful improvement in the state of NHS services commensurate with the increases in public spending. The same applies to public services as a whole. The country is in a total mess.

It is for these very reasons that having been a highly active member of the Labour Party for half of my life (I am 33 years old), I resigned my membership on Friday.

When talking to other Party members I know they suggested I stay a member. As a matter of principle I cannot, and will not, continue to support a Labour Party that is hurting the vulnerable and the many in this Country.

It is my pledge that I will rejoin the Labour Party when, and only when, it finally wakes up and smells the coffee, and finally makes substantial moves t sort out the country. Until then I will have nothing to do with it whatsoever.

Believe me there are countless others out there like me. I say to those influential people in the Labour Party Think on....

8:28 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear "rage against the machine",

Reference: NHS.

I have just attempted to use the NHS, coming through a GP referral to one of the best facilities it has to offer, University College Hospital.

It is absolute shite: An immigrant locum doctor, who misdiagnosed and lied about his misdiagnosis: huge pressure on facilities at UCH, again from massive immigrant demand, meaning that one is offered nothing more than a cursory, commoditised service.

Why when I've paid over £50,000 during my lifetime am I forced into the private sector to pay £3,500 for a treatment because the service is demonstrably bad.

The NHS enjoys an untouchable reputation which is completely at odds with the patients' experience.

The issue isn't about the NHS remaining in the public sector but when it is going to be privatised to justify the huge amounts of public funds which it now receives.
Most of the individuals I know who have recently used the NHS have come to this same conclusion. It is on borrowed time, when not if it is run in the private sector.

Again, this all comes down to Gordon "I will try my upmost" Brown. He successsfully resisted NHS reform; now, it is going to go ahead when the Tories come in with a majority of 150.

8:49 pm, September 21, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Brilliant and very positive, but we are still drowning in 11 metres rather than 14 metres and those bloody libs take on 4% 80% of the Tory loss!

Comres shows the Lib Dems on 21% (up 4%), Labour on 27% (up 2) and the Tories on 39% (down 5) - a Tory lead of 12% not the 19% shown in their last poll - a difference that is worth 50 seats in a General Election.

9:09 pm, September 21, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admire your optimism, but you must know that you sound rather desperate Luke. You selectively pick the opinion polls that suit you - what about 52% a couple of days ago? I'm very biased and I won't be counting my chickens, but you guys are in severe trouble.

More importantly you desrve to be. Brown's claim to have abolished boom and bust was always foolish at best - his mismanagement of the economy will go down in history. A golden economic inheritance thrown away.

Assuming we do win the next election it will take us years just to sort out the mess.

10:10 pm, September 21, 2008

Blogger Unknown said...

Reminds me of a line from Blackadder....

'When all else fails a stubbon refusal to look facts in the face will see us through...'

Good luck with that :)

12:45 am, September 22, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

I largely agree with Rage .... the NHS has undoubtedly been commercialised. NHS dentistry, which I have a close knowledge of, is simply farcical under the new system, and good, committed dentists have simply had enough of trying to meet the targets they are being given which is making the treadmill unbearable. Their only option is the private sector. Of course, evidence suggests that this is exactly what the government wants.

Everything is in place for wholesale NHS privatisation following the reintroduction and completion of the internal market. I am sure the Tories will oblige.

12:51 am, September 22, 2008

Blogger Democratic-Centre said...

Luke GB is out of his depth and drowning without a buoyant agenda. I am up for giving him a chance but coalescing around conference is different than that of real and beneficial traction, nonetheless no one else, and rightly, is prepared to go down other than that man Gordon Brown. He deserves to be on stage when the curtain falls so that he knows fully that the blame of underperformance rest squarely at his number 10 door.

Everything comes to an end ya know, seriously...let Miliband or whoever lead the way from that point on yet right now everyone in Cabinet should do what is right for the country and act in that manner. Anything less is genuinely and visibly selfish.

2:13 am, September 22, 2008

Blogger Rage against the Machine said...


I agree. The NHS is to put it mildly is "going down the pan". However, to simply suggest privatisation is the only answer is narrow minded.

Although not a totally bottomless pit (as I claimed earleir), the answer is to create a comprehensive prevention strategy within the NHS.

It is a fact that much of the pressure on NHS services is created by those who have psychological problems most notably minor ones, but also severe ones too. It is the minor psychological problems - particularly given the economic depression - which is now becoming rife. The results of these problems are psychosematic conditions whereby the mind tells the body something is physically wrong, when it is not. Those suffering then get referred to have tests/ investigations etc... This is very expensive, putting a huge strain on NHS spending.

It is past the time for Primary Care Trusts - PCT's - to buck their ideas up and embed "Mental Health" across all aspects of health strategy and commissioning and look at the wider (rather than narrower) picture of mental health, funding it more extensively. It is only looks at the issue in "acute" terms.

However, to embed mental health would make too much common sense for most - not all - most directors on PCT's and in the DOH in Whitehall.

In any case, the current situation in the NHS only satisfies the bizaare commercial zeal of most PCT's, and allows the argument for rationing and privatisation to reign supreme.

I despair!

9:09 am, September 22, 2008

Blogger Letters From A Tory said...

No appetite for change? I think you are being too kind. There is no appetite to lose an election and Labour are desperate not to be humiliated by the Conservatives, hence the need to shut up and put up.

The appetite for change at the top is alive and well, but the courage to bring it about is the only missing ingredient.

9:50 am, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one. What are you taking? Can I get some?

9:59 am, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

£1 million raises spirits? Have you not seen Labour's debts?

Brown is useless, the NHS is useless, in fact pretty much all of the current cabinet is completely useless. Sure Cameron isn't the greatest conservative opponent but even he is miles better than the Goblin King.

12:26 pm, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see that Luke is as innumerate as he is politically illiterate.

Labour's increase of two points is within the margin of error of the poll.

In other words, there could have been no change or a slight drop in popularity for Labour.

Also, one poll shouldn't be relied on if not part of a trend.

12:46 pm, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to "rage in the machine"

It is important to the future survival of the NHS that there is a marketisation/privatisation of the service.

Heresy, I hear you say.

People won't put up with the current service once they find out what an appallingly useless, incompetent and inefficient tractor-plant the NHS currently is.

The GP/consultant has to operate on the basis that he/they are dependent for their survival on providing a service to the patient.

At present they dont. They get paid whatever shit they turn out.

Fucking up the patient makes no difference to its continuing operations.

Once the GP/consultant realises that his daily crust for his/their kids is in the hands of the choices of that patient, the whole game changes.

1:38 pm, September 22, 2008

Blogger Newmania said...

You must be pissed if thats what you think

1:48 pm, September 22, 2008

Blogger Shamik Das said...

The PM's actions to deal with the financial crisis have restored his reputation for decisiveness and sound decisiveness as well.

I'm sorry, but is this the same Gordon we're talking about?

In order to have one's reputation for something restored, one needs to have been worthy of that reputation to begin with.

It's like saying Dr Shipman's reputation for saving his patients' lives was restored when one of them didn't die like all the others.

I have an image of Luke, Ed Balls, Gordon and Dirty European Socialist on the bridge of the Titanic shouting "we've regained our momentum; I'm king of the world..."

2:03 pm, September 22, 2008

Blogger Rage against the Machine said...


I second what you said. Anonymous must have been pissed, or on another planet when he suggested that the corrupt American Health Insurers and other private companies should take over the NHS.

Besides look at what has happened on the world financial markets. Total catastrophe. If the private sector runs the NHS the companies entrusted with peoples lives will be accountable to guess who....er....their shareholders?

Too right. They will be accountable and answer to the City of London. Isnt that the casino economy where spivs and speculators play "Poker" with our money?

The casino economy being intrinsically tied to the running of the NHS???.....Err i dont think so!

5:56 pm, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I borrow your Rose-tinted spectacles?

6:19 pm, September 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a massive rise for the party. The tories down 5 %. We have to make sure rebels do not deliberately wreck the recovery.

10:44 pm, September 22, 2008


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