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.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

London Regional Conference

It's been a good day for the forces of light here at the London Labour Party biennial regional conference in Stratford. Maggie Cosin has seen off a challenge from the left's Lucy Anderson for the National Policy Forum. As a consequence of the tactical mistake of quitting her CLP section seat on the regional board to attempt to oust Maggie, Lucy finds herself off the regional board. I've taken a CLP seat on the Board representing north and east London, replacing leftwinger Aktar Beg. In the other competitive races moderates Joanne Milligan and Christine Bowden were elected. 

Full results of the Board elections:

Len Duvall - elected unopposed

Vice Chair
Linda Perks - elected unopposed

National Policy Forum
Lucy Anderson (left) 24.99%
Maggie Cosin (moderate) 37.13% elected
Patrick O'Keefe (left) 37.88% elected

Disabilities Officer
Sally Mulready
Nick Russell
Rosamund Stock
This election was suspended and will be run by postal ballot instead after one of the candidates tried to take out their opponent by getting their status as a delegate revoked.

Ethnic Minorities Officer
Raj Jethwa 97.96% elected
Narinder Matharoo 2.04%

CLP Section
CLP Division 1 - London North West
Lisa Homan (moderate) - elected unopposed
Chris Payne (moderate) - elected unopposed

CLP Division 2 - London South and SE
Charlie Mansell (moderate) - elected unopposed

Angela Cornforth (left) 5500
Joanne Milligan (moderate) 11000 elected

CLP Division 3 - London North and NE
Luke Akehurst (moderate) 11500 elected
Aktar Beg (left) 2000
Alan Griffiths 1000
Ross Hatfull 2000

Laura Bruni (left) 7000
Christine Bowden (moderate) 9500 elected

CLP Division 4 - London Central
Jenna Khalfan (left) - elected unopposed
Francis Prideaux (left) - elected unopposed

Trade Union Division - 8 seats
Ed Blissett (GMB) 339000 elected
Steve Hart (Unite TGWU) 339000 elected
Stuart King (Unite Amicus) 85000
Amarjit Singh (TSSA) 254000 elected
Alan Tate (CWU) 339000 elected

Leonie Cooper (Unite Amicus) - elected unopposed
Gloria Hanson (UNISON) - elected unopposed
Sheila Thomas (USDAW) - elected unopposed
Rachel Voller (UNISON) - elected unopposed

Co-Op Division - 2 seats
Joe Simpson - elected unopposed
Dora Dixon-Fyle - elected unopposed

Socialist Societies
Huw Davies - elected unopposed

London Young Labour
James Murray - elected unopposed

Robert Evans - elected unopposed

Jon Cruddas MP - elected unopposed
Andrew Dismore MP - elected unopposed

Association of London Govt
Chris Roberts - elected unopposed
Tony Newman - elected unopposed


Blogger Old Holborn said...

Jesus wept.

What a load of rubbish.

All desperate little wonks

7:02 pm, November 22, 2008

Anonymous Albert Shanker said...

A good result for moderates. Some of those you mention, like anderson, are outright oppositionalists.

7:24 pm, November 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I note you fail to ascribe any position on the spectrum to Raj Jethwa. Is this because he manages to shift from left to moderate, depending on what company he is in?

7:30 pm, November 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


There you go again; you just can't resist the temptation to cross-dress using a euphemism as material.

You're a head-banging loyalist, mate.

That is as no single efulgent thought would enter your head without the pre-ordained and signed-off approval of a central committee.

7:36 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

A head-banging loyalist and proud of it.

8:01 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Isn't 'moderate' a bit of a cop-out?

How can you claim to be an arbiter of moderation when you're a declared factionalist yourself?

Clumsy for readers, though transparently deliberate. :op

8:26 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I've used it as a catch-all description of all those candidates not backed - in the slate they published - by the Hard Left.

"Moderate" is a description of how a median British voter would view us - i.e. nearer the centre of the whole UK political spectrum than the left of the Party are, who are by self-definition as "left", more extreme.

It is semantically correct to describe me as on the right of the Labour Party but some of those I would be allied with at regional level are from the Party's centre or soft left - what unites us is that we faced opposition in these ballots from candidates of, or promoted by, the Hard Left.

8:37 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Find the definitions quite meaningless. I am neither New Labour right wing, nor on the left of the party.

I like to make up my mind dependent on an issue not join a loyalist or oppositionalist slate

You would place me as moderate I hope, but there are plenty of issues I wouldn't agree with you about.

9:21 pm, November 22, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke is pretty funny with his little labels. They are "hard-left" but he is "moderate". Everyone thinks you're on the hard right of the party, and you know you are, what's wrong with accepting that? There is a centre-ground of opinion, and it's definitely not what you occupy...come on, support for the war, NATO, Israel...

And on what grounds have you used the label 'left' or 'hard left' for some of the candidates. Can you claim to know all those you've labelled in that way?

I know you loved those days, but time to move on from that NOLS mindset and be serious... ;-)

9:44 pm, November 22, 2008

Anonymous Come again? said...

Anon 9:44 pm attempts to portray Luke's comentary around hard left's failure as deserving of some form of victimhood status is wrong.

If Anon thinks that the hard left, socialist action GLA redundancy-cheque brigade and fellow travellers were not heavily lobbying for this election then you need turn the ship back towards planet earth.

There was a specific campaign to get at Maggie Cosin, a hard working loyalist. This failed.

10:31 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

I am hearing a load of bollocks for sure?

We need a strong Stalinist government in this country to put it right once and for all, and all we get is moderate handbag bashing poofters! We need revolution to eradicate al right wingers!

11:17 pm, November 22, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Working class people should have the human right to decent housing and to own one!!

Its an absolute disgrace that the housing market is allowed to be treated as a greedy investment. many working class people are slogging their guts out to pay huge rents and are living in cramped squalid conditions. Housing should be a human right. so buy to lets should be abolished and home ownership reduced to 1 home.Now house prices are going down they must be forced to stay down!

12:35 am, November 23, 2008

Blogger Mark Still News said...

All empty homes should be confiscated and refurbished then let out as affordable housing-say rents of 10% of income!

12:38 am, November 23, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It's interesting anonymous 09.44 that despite your take on my politics, and your mates running a line against me, I managed to get 70% of the vote in a 4 way contest in a part of London that only 2 years ago elected a candidate from the hard left's slate.

As for the attempted "taking out" of Maggie Cosin, the left picked a totally unnecessary fight, as we had always been happy with the trade-off that saw Maggie and Pat O'Keefe from the left share the NPF seats, reflecting the political diversity of the London Party. Having picked that fight they then exposed their own weakness and lost.

9:53 am, November 23, 2008

Anonymous BYMI said...

I know you loved those days, but time to move on from that NOLS mindset and be serious.

As I move through life it is good to know that - in general - those who I stood with back in NOLS days remain people of integrity and honesty and openness about politics and the Trots, their fellow travellers and assorted "useful idiots" remain as hopeless as ever.

I am not saying that all the political positions that I and my (as the trots would say) "co-thinkers" were right. That sort of thing is for the dogmatists of the ultra left.

But I am saying the judgements of value and character that were made a quarter of a century ago remain a pretty good guide today.

Long live the NOLS mindset!

3:28 pm, November 23, 2008

Anonymous James WT said...

What about the disgraceful decision which has led to the desruction of Dalston's character and the creation of the faceless profit and greed motivated corporate "Clone" of Dalston Square.

Did you support or vote in favour of approving this scheme??

It is these issues which politicians should be pre-occupied with, not Internal Party Politiking. It is the latter which has led to anger and disallussionment among the electorate generally.

It is by no means that I have ever been on the Left of the Party and have a long history of being a New Labour moderniser. No longer.

There are an unimaginable number of schemes, such as Dalston Square which illustrates how the Labour Party has totally and fundamentally LOST THE PLOT. How the Labour Party and the Country is now "In Hock", Gripped, driven by DESTRUCTIVE and DESPICABLE CORPORATE GREED.

It is about time Labour and most of its Representatives along with all the other main political Party's "Wake up and Smell the Coffee".

The country (and myself, once a Labour Party loyalist) to pardon the language fed up and well and truly Pissed-Off.

What are your views. How do you intend to address these crucial issues??

1:32 pm, November 24, 2008

Anonymous James WT said...

Oh I forgota queastion I was going to ask. Will you and the Ruiling Labour Group support any proposals for tall buildings on the Bishopsgate Goods Yard Regeneration site??

If tall buildings are given permission, it will be another "Nail in the Coffin", "Death Knell" for the character and human scale of Shoreditch. ITS HERITAGE MUST BE IMPROVED and AFFORDABLE HOUSING must, must be included. Or will Corporate Gredd once again blight the lives of local people??

1:54 pm, November 24, 2008

Blogger Theo Blackwell's blog said...

James WT - woah! Start your own blog mate - your posts are well off the subject...

2:15 pm, November 24, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I'll answer though.

James - I've never had the opportunity to vote for or against the Dalston development because I'm not on the Cabinet and I don't sit on the planning committee, and because the committee is by law unwhipped, we don't take decisions in Group about planning matters.

I'm pleased that the character of Dalston is changing - if anywhere needed regenerating then that part of Dalston did - bits of it were literally ruins in a style I have only previously seen in downtown Palermo. I wish there was a way of funding the new ELLX station without tower blocks but I don't believe there is.

I think if I had been on the Cabinet and tasked with the economic and infrastructure regeneration of Dalston I would have supported the scheme, but if I had been on the planning committee and tasked with looking at the bulk, massing etc of the proposed buildings, I would personally have voted against.

3:42 pm, November 24, 2008

Anonymous James WT said...

My posts are not off the subject since I was merely highlighting that it is concentration by some in the Party on Faction Fighting.

Issues such as the one I detail is what the electorate want politicians to spend most energy on, not not Factional Party Politics.

For too long politicians, both local and national do whatever serves their Party Business or themselves. Dalston Square is merely typical of this.

Public Services are no long Public: serving the Public Purpose. They should be called Business Services instead.

The ELLX could be funded by much less of a profit motive.

In any case Dalston Square will eventually become the Holly Estate of the Future.

It is with great sadness that you have given a typical political answer: avoiding answering the question.

I asked if you had SUPPORTED the scheme.

The electorate are sick of a politics which is consumed by its own introspection rather than the serving interests of what it desires or needs!

5:42 pm, November 24, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

But James, the internal debates inside political parties determine whether the parties have policies that anyone wants to vote for. If people like me don't go to conferences and meetings to take on the left, we'd be back to having an unelectable Labour Party.

Seeing as you've pushed me, for the record I would not have voted for the planning application that was agreed in Dalston, if I had had a vote. My partner, who was on the committee, voted against it, and I agree with her concerns about the towers. But as I am not on the planning committee, not on the Cabinet, and not a councillor for Dalston ward, I didn't have an opportunity to take part in the decision.

8:32 pm, November 24, 2008

Anonymous James WT said...


I appreciate your reply.


10:23 pm, November 24, 2008

Blogger geoffrey_r_brown said...

"Maggie Cosin has seen off a challenge from the left's Lucy Anderson for the National Policy Forum. As a consequence of the tactical mistake of quitting her CLP section seat on the regional board to attempt to oust Maggie, Lucy finds herself off the regional board."

A bit of a silly sneer. I rather doubt that Lucy Anderson expected to defeat Maggie Cosin. And given that Maggie C was so well entrenched, it seems to me that 25% was a pretty good result for Lucy.

In any case, Lucy's replacement on the regional board is Jenna Khalfan, whose politics Luke also categorises as "left". So, not much of a victory for the right (pardon me, "moderates") there then.

As for Luke's failure to ascribe a political position to Raj Jethwa, the obvious explanation is that he is reluctant to admit that someone who received a vote on a scale that would have made Kim Jong-il envious is in fact on the left.

10:26 pm, November 24, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to James WT, click here for more on Luke's exemplary conduct during the Dalston débâcle.

6:48 am, November 25, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


Lucy did expect to win. She told Maggie she thought she had won on Saturday morning.

Why would she have given up her existing (CLP Central Division) seat on the Board if she had not thought she had a chance of winning the NPF seat?

8:00 am, November 25, 2008

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Good to see you in Stratford on Saturday. Why spoil a good day out with misleading labels...Maggie Cosin (moderate). In Cities of London and Westminster we are still waiting for her report back from the NPF. Unaccountable would have been a more accurate tag IMHO.

3:40 pm, November 25, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I'm sure she would be delighted to report back to your GC - do you need her contact details?

3:49 pm, November 25, 2008

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

I agree you would have thought so...however, I have spoken to Maggie, written to her and followed up with further verbal requests...all to no avail

17 July 2008

Maggie Cosin
London Region NPF representative
Labour Party

by eMail

Dear Maggie

Partnership in Power – Round 3 consultation

I am writing on behalf of the CLP EC to ask for an interim report on the submissions made by London Region CLPs on Membersnet, an analysis of those submissions and a step-by-step account of how those issues are being taken forward on our behalf to the Joint Policy Commisson next week and the National Policy Forum in two weeks time.

Our GC meets on Tuesday 22 July.

I appreciate from our conversation earlier this week that a reply dealing with each submission will not be practical until after Warwick 2. But we want to have the opportunity to review the process to help strengthen the case, if necessary, for greater transparency and extending the period of internal deliberation, given that a General Election is now not expected until 2010.

On behalf of the EC, I would be grateful if you could arrange for a reply in writing before our GC so that it can be circulated to both delegates and members unable to attend but interested in the policies Labour proposes for its next British General Election manifesto. I'm sure that would be appreciated by CLPs across London that have contributed to the process.

With many thanks in advance


Peter Kenyon
Secretary, Cities of London and Westminster CLP

4:04 pm, November 25, 2008

Anonymous Albert Shanker said...

Peter Kenyon wrote: "In Cities of London and Westminster we are still waiting for her report back from the NPF."

Trade you a Cosin for a Prideaux report, as the same can be said for him elsewhere in his section...

4:35 pm, November 25, 2008

Blogger geoffrey_r_brown said...

"Lucy did expect to win. She told Maggie she thought she had won on Saturday morning."

This is, to employ a technical term, bollocks. I know that Lucy was telling her own supporters that she didn't think she'd win, so why would she say the exact opposite to Maggie?

"Why would she have given up her existing (CLP Central Division) seat on the Board if she had not thought she had a chance of winning the NPF seat?"

Perhaps because it's not a very pleasurable experience serving on a body many of whose members have politics broadly similar to Luke's? Besides, Lucy had a very capable replacement in Jenna Khalfan.

(Though, on reflection, that's probably a bit unfair on the regional board. Few of its members are quite as "moderate" as Luke is.)

7:33 am, November 26, 2008

Anonymous Albert Shanker said...

"Perhaps because it's not a very pleasurable experience serving on a body many of whose members have politics broadly similar to Luke's?"

Oh, so that's the line now! "I didn't really want to be on regional board anymore..."

Give me a break, you obviously don't know who you are talking about.

10:16 am, November 26, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

How wet is that? If all of us bottled out of serving on bodies with people we disagreed with, very few political meetings would happen.

10:19 am, November 26, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The person who really needs to hang up their organising boots is Pete Willsman. His grand strategy for purging the Board of moderates got precisely nowhere.

10:30 am, November 26, 2008

Blogger Robert said...

"How wet is that? If all of us bottled out of serving on bodies with people we disagreed with, very few political meetings would happen."

What a bitter little right-winger (sorry, "moderate") you are Luke. I imagine that in the past you've been elected to a labour movement body, served on it, and then decided that you've done your bit and it's time to move on.

Does that make you "wet" too?

12:18 pm, November 26, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I get the impression from the frenzied defence of, and confused messaging about Lucy Anderson that her defeat was even more of a strategic disaster for the left than we realised on Saturday.

12:34 pm, November 26, 2008

Blogger Robert said...

Further evidence that you are lost in a fantasy world of your own construction, Luke.

12:42 pm, November 26, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

As opposed to the reality which is that your candidates lost. Why don't you try analysing why they are so unpopular?

12:56 pm, November 26, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she'd had enough why did she lobby so hard for it, or even stand in the first place - Robert, you've been taken in matey!

10:17 am, November 27, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Maggie Cosin has asked me to respond on her behalf to Peter Kenyon's comments.

She says he wrote to her before the Warwick NPF and she phoned him back. She told him that she would be reporting back to the Regional Board and this was done
in Sept. Other CLPs have had a report back in person from her when they have asked her to come along. Cities of London and Westminster have not invited her to their CLP. Maggie is sure that if they did one of the seven London reps would try and get along to it.

At the moment she has a number of CLPs asking her to give a verbal NPF report in the new year as well as affiliates - as the 2 reps elected by Regional Conference don't just represent the CLPs (unlike those reps elected at Annual Conference).

6:38 pm, November 27, 2008

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

I shall report that response to my Branch in the first instance and then the CLP.

Everyone should be aware that HO created a spreadsheet to log and track the amendments as they were logged on Membersnet...then the trail went cold.

Maggie's understanding of accountability is one of the reasons why Save the Labour Party, the LabOUR Commission and now a growing number of CLPs support OMOV for the election of future NPF candidates.

In the meantime I would be happy to sit down with Maggie to backfill that spreadsheet so that every member can track exactly what happened to every amendment at each step of the process. They would be surprised to find out what is being done in their name by NPF representatives like Maggie.

9:16 am, November 28, 2008


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