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, January 01, 2009

Gong for turncoat

The New Year's Honours list brought the extraordinary news of an OBE "for services to local government" for Islington Lib Dem Cllr Meral Ece.

Had the people at No10 dishing out gongs bothered consulting the Labour Party's filing system, they would have found dusty copies of the 1995 NEC Report into the Hackney Labour Group, outlining the role being played by Ece, then Labour Deputy Leader of Hackney, as one of five ringleaders of the "group within a group" that eventually quit Labour and brought about a five year hung council period during which local government services in Hackney were almost destroyed through botched privatisations, budget meltdowns and savage cuts. Having screwed up local government in Hackney she then carpet-bagged it across to Islington to continue her new career as a Lib Dem there.

Her appointment discredits and devalues the honours system and calls into question the vetting and nomination process at No10.

What next, a gong for services to local democracy for her fellow Hackney defector, Tory vote-rigger Isaac Liebowitz?


Anonymous szo said...

Luke, Firstly Happy New Year! I have even less time for Lib Dem’s and much less turncoats then you do. However to compare her to convicted villains is taking it a bit, far even you would agree. A retraction would not be out of order.
As to your point which has some merit, I feel we need to rise above personalities, and look at her commitment to the public over the past decade, the role model she has been for minorities etc. I think you will find it is more the deserved, if not only as an example to others.

10:46 am, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only reason she has got it is because she is a minority the same can be said of the black woman who missed a drugs test and won a gold medal in the olympics its a desgrace

10:51 am, January 01, 2009

Blogger Guido Fawkes said...

I know this might be a bit difficult for someone who is a member of a party that claimed in a manifesto that "New Labour is the political arm of the British people" to grasp, but honours are not supposed to be dished out for political loyalty. They are, but they should not be.

12:43 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous tiny said...

"Her appointment discredits and devalues the honours system and calls into question the vetting and nomination process at No10."

I wasn't aware the honours system held any creditability or value. Every year people get an OBE/MBE/CBE or knighthood for, essentially, doing the job they were elected to/hired for and paid to do.

For example, this year Wynne Griffiths, chief executive of Young's Seafood Ltd, was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire for .... services to the food industry! This is the guy who ran into flak over his decision to transfer part of Young's scampi operations in Scotland to Thailand. The move, which was criticised by union leaders and environmentalists alike, resulted in the loss of around 120 jobs at Young's Seafood's processing plant in Annan, Dumfries. Likewise, this time two years ago, he acquired several fish processing plants in the Hull area and closed them down (to reduce the competition) - a move that resulted in the loss of 200 jobs on Humberside.

And don't even get me started on Hackney's head of planning and Hackney's mayor, both getting bongs for doing nothing better than the jobs they were paid to do.

Sportsmen and sportswomen already get their accolades when they win their competitions. Public servants get decent salaries and excellent pensions. Both celebrities and politicians get their egos boosted enough during the functions they perform. If an honours system is to be retained (and I see no reason why it should) I think bongs should go only to the volunteer workers in the charity sector - and to no one else.

12:56 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

I think the honors system has been very wrong for a very long time. Too much emphasis on money and political achievement and not enough to honor those people who are giving all to help the countries most vulnerable or for those expected to risk life and limbs.

1:42 pm, January 01, 2009

Blogger Quink said...

Not the most generous opener for the New Year, little as I know about Meral Ece. Oh well. Happy New Year all who frequent this place.

2:26 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear is the taste bitter in your mouth? then again you should get an obe in the area of being a Zionist arsehole

have a good day

3:07 pm, January 01, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

I think that is a silly comment, Luke.

No doubt the LibDems nominated her, and if we are to continue with political honours, then it is up to them to make their nominations. What supporters of other parties think of their choice is irrelevant.

Personally, I would scrap the entire Honours system along with the House of Lords. It is by default entirely discredited in any case

5:17 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've never got over how Meral Ece and others exposed you and your chums in the Mark Trottergate scandal have you? She wouldn't toe the Labour party line and turn a blind eye to child abuse - what a crime!
She deserves a medal for that alone.

5:33 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Justin Hinchcliffe said...

What a nasty and pesonal little post, Luke.

6:03 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

as a whip, surely you should be toeing the party line obediently like a good boy? if gordy think's Meral Ece is good enough for an OBE, surely you shouldn't criticise?

personally i reckon she deserves it just for having to put up with the shower of profanity you've spent the last goodness knows how long spouting at her.

9:08 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She split with the Labour Party over its failure to investigate the child molester Mark Trotter.

She didn't want a cover-up.

Or does party loyalty rank above moral duty?

9:34 pm, January 01, 2009

Blogger David Boothroyd said...

It is frequently suggested that the great Hackney breakaway was due to the refusal to hold an inquiry into Mark Trotter but this is blatantly untrue: there never was any question that there would be an inquiry. The issue at the meeting on 11th September 1996 was not whether to have an inquiry, but how it should be set up. The immediate cause was that the Labour Group meeting decided to have the wording of the motion checked by the Chief Executive and the Social Services Inspectorate.

Given that two of the rebels were chair and vice chair of the Social Services committee and knew about the case a year before everyone else it was a somewhat odd breakaway. It seems more likely that the group was looking for an excuse to split and thought this might provide it.

11:21 pm, January 01, 2009

Blogger Newmania said...

My ghast is flabbered. You know whose fault this is Luke . Yours . You and Enver Hodge whose corruption and incompetence in Islington will live in history. That is why even a child like this looks good .

(I actually had no idea that people so mediocre , to put it kindly , got that sort of thing.)

11:55 pm, January 01, 2009

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

there's no point in going into the whole trotter thing again. labour were plainly in the wrong and i have eternal respect for the breakaway group's bravery in confronting a disgusting cover up.

Those who missed this farago last time round, you can read the whole thing here : http://lukeakehurstsblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/mark-trotter-and-meral-ece-fakehurst.html

12:13 am, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd is, as always, correct.

At the time the splitters claimed to be more new Labour than new Labour: indeed they fooled the media on that one quite well at the time. History has shown them to be what they really were - power grabbing opportunists.

Incidentally, there are no political honours any more. So no more gongs for Tory party researchers etc

2:18 am, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Hrothgar said...

Well, Luke, if gongs were available for unthinking loyalty to the totalitarian Labour Party then I imagine you'd be a Knight Commander by now...

3:29 am, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Clapton Ali said...

Wow, Luke. Let's hear your take on this and on this too!

7:37 am, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Lord Akehurst said...

Some of your comments have really upset me. I've spent years towing the Labour PArty line and failing to get selected in a safe seat just because I've got a ding-a-ling, so in true New Labour style I've top trumped Meral and solved the problem all in one go - I've bought myself a peerage - meet Lord Akehurst.

11:24 am, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what bad luck luke just as you have nearly managed to climb the greasy pole your beloved labour are going to be wiped out for a generation at the next election i wonder if the comrades will look after you then old chap

12:40 pm, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

When I read the list I had much the same reaction as you but decided not to interrupt the flow on my blog of putting our own house in order.

However, David Boothroyd's comment suggests a need to correct the record. The origins of the split arose much earier and were unrelated to the Trotter Affair. Meral Ece was a member of the so-called Manifesto Group inside Hackney Labour Group. Evidence about the existence and operations of which was revealed in December 1995, and subsequently investigated by the NEC at an official inquiry starting in the spring of 1996.

David is quite right to expose the duplicity of claims against Labour by the splitters over the Trotter affair. By then they had had lots of practice.

7:02 pm, January 02, 2009

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

bloody hell, kenyon weighing in to back up akehurst! you'll be digging up mcafferty next...

7:42 pm, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God - the manifesto group! sounds like a hotbed of subversion..why were n't they put in the stocks and then flogged!
Would serve them right for spoiling the model non-corrupt council of the 80's and 90's that Labour must have been so proud of!!
Kenyon - you are a pathetic waste of space - or perhaps you've been expecting a gong and have been a little disappointed...?

9:38 pm, January 02, 2009

Anonymous Eunuch Akehurst. said...

Some of your comments have really upset me. I've spent years towing the Labour Party line and failing to get selected in a safe seat just because I've got a ding-a-ling (even though it's only tiny), so in true New Labour style I've top trumped Meral and solved the problem all in one go - I've bought myself a sharp knife - meet Eunuch Akehurst.

2:15 am, January 03, 2009

Blogger kris said...

let it, Luke. Let it go.


9:17 am, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Secret Santa said...


Happy New Year!

Manifesto Group?

Where did the name come from.

Dianne Hayter's book talks of a Manifesto Group in parliament who worked to counter the Tribune Group and CLPD. (A book I'm sure you enjoyed reading!)

The name implies a loyalist stance or loyalty to a manifesto commitment. Why did the Hackney turncoats take the name? And why did the group exist in the first place?

I know Lord London Fields doesn't think there is any point in going over it all, but I like my Labour history and there are not enough books on local government history.


2:22 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Secret Santa said...


I hope you like you new Pajamas.

2:23 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and well deserved OBE for Meral. At least she had the human decency of leaving the Hackney Labour Party that was trying to cover up child abuse by one of its own! Shame on you Luke, and you being a father as well. It seems that the religion of Nu Labour comes before everything else. You sad pathetic individual!

4:26 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Good to see the polls are swinging back towards a complete electoral collapse for Labour.

The stimulus package has failed badly; more evidence that working class Brits have lost confidence in the government; nearly 200,000 immigrants working in the UK that we don't know about; Hospitals unable to cope yet employing agency staff at £200.00 per hour while making NHS nurses redundant.

Government on the verge of giving more money to the banks......are British people really going to buy another bailout.

Luke your government is a complete sham it really is. Expect some shocks in the spring.

4:58 pm, January 03, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The Manifesto Group in the House of Commons was unrelated to the caucus of the same name in Hackney. The former was on the right of the party, the Hackney grouping included some prominent leftwingers and its name was intended to denote allegiance to the manifesto agreed by the Hackney Annual Borough Conference, a body which was meeting in contravention of Labour Party rules.

The "Manifesto Group" was basically a coalition of Labour councillors who disliked 1990-1995Council Leader John McCafferty for a mixture of reasons: resentment at his lack of tolerance of and refusal to promote the mad, bad, corrupt or stupid; ultra left opposition to his plans to shut failing Hackney Downs Comp, to involve Housing Associations in big regeneration schemes such as Holly Street, and to his efforts to balance the council's budget; finally there were cllrs from specific BME communities involved who wanted more lax planning rules in parts of the borough, funding switched to BME-specific nurseries and were opposed to McCafferty's plans to make Clapton Girls' School co-ed. Off stage - senior officers wanted a free run with "Transforming Hackney", a radical programme of privatisation, internal markets and devolution, they wanted McCafferty ousted to pursue their own agenda which was shared by the Lib Dem group.

The "Manifesto Group" ousted McCafferty in 1995 but were almost immediately denounced by the candidate they had put in as Leader, Nick Tallentire, and at this point the London and national Labour Parties started investigating the pattern of intimidation, disruption of meetings, unconstitutional caucuses, branch-packing by mass recruitment of non-Labour voters from certain BME communities, rule-breaking etc which the Manifesto Group had been perpetrating inside the party, and the electoral fraud that one of their number, Isaac Liebowitz, had been engaged in against Labour candidates in certain wards at the same time that he was a Labour cllr.

The accusations of a "cover-up" of the Trotter scandal make no sense given that as David Boothroyd points out, two of the rebels were chair and vice chair of the Social Services committee and knew about the case a year before everyone else, and everyone in the Labour Group agreed there should be some sort of inquiry.

The real reason for the formal split was that 5 councillors were to be subject to NEC disciplinary process and the removal of their 5 votes from the Labour Group AGM would have removed the Manifesto Group majority and hence the Manifesto Group post-holders from the positions of power and higher allowances that went with them. They cynically used the dreadful Trotter case as a smokescreen for a political split that had started being played out over two years previously, making cheap political capital out of a horrific case of child abuse which ought to have been handled with sensitivity and thorough investigation, not turned into a political football.

You had to be there in the zoo like atmosphere of the Hackney Council Chamber in the period 1995-2002 watching these people ranting, raving and spewing hatred whilst all around them the people of Hackney suffered from a failing council to really grasp what pondlife they were.

I get on well with most of my political opponents inside and outside the Labour Party, and believe that most people in politics are there for the right motives even if they sometimes make the wrong policy calls, but this mob behaved in such an appalling way that I cannot and will not forgive or forget their activities.

7:49 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that no-one gives a shit about you, your pathetic warped version of events, or who your few chums are. You're the one stuck in the past, in a rut with nowhere else to go. The people of Hackney deserve better than small people like you.
Get a life!

8:08 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous scarred for life said...

"I cannot and will not forgive or forget their activities."

Try telling that to the surviving victims of Trottergate!

The "inquest" was a whitewash and there are at least two Labour councillors - still serving - who have blood on their hands.

9:40 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

This is what Brown has been trying to get the UK to agree to. Automatic consent to have your organs sold to the highest bidder.

This is Labour's most vile moment....


11:32 pm, January 03, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Gaza, truly a sad week for this region. But as people in this country complain about Israels reaction being disproportionate are they forgetting that the West killed many more in Iraq with no evidence of WMDs or links with terror.

Hamas on a daily basis fire rockets into Israel with the aim at causing terror and civilian casualties. Israel on the other hand are targeting political targets but in the process are killing innocent people.

I think Hamas should stop all military action and let the Israels tanks into Gaza to make this as painless as possible. If Hamas cared about its people they would throw in the towel and fight for peace. Only when Hamas lays down its arms will it get the support of the West.

12:19 am, January 04, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

I agree that Organs from here should go to UK people 1st.

They don't say how many Organs are actually imported into the UK?

This is a real sensitive subject?

12:30 am, January 04, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

They certainly have no right to sell them at all. I really do wonder about the state of our NHS.

11:22 am, January 04, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Because of Israel's murderous imperialist actions-How much more is this conflict going to expand?

11:53 pm, January 04, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Another 370 billion pounds to be thrown at the Tory bankers!

We don't need the Housing market to start inflating again!

We need the Housing market to be controlled and prices sustained and to come down by 76%!

So the government wants more people to borrow what they can't pay back again?

Our Money should be spent wisely and we should have a referendum on this as its our money?

11:57 pm, January 04, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Mark Sill News'- Cllr Akehurst is, unlike the majority of his constituents, a big supporter of Israeli aggression, and presumably of the ongoing massacre in Gaza- probably why he's keeping mute about the slaughter. He is also a big fan of Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition - ie. torturing innocent people, just so long as they are Muslims!

12:55 pm, January 05, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

He is a very nasty man then!!

1:13 pm, January 05, 2009

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

if i worked promoting the weapons industry, i'd be as mindlessly pro-israel as you, Luke.

and i'm pretty sure that most of your political opponents find you a vile, amoral hypocrite. your views on trottergate and guantanamo are only one facet of the nastiness you utilise in pushing your free market, nu labour political agenda.

9:01 pm, January 05, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I don't quite understand the connection given that UK defence companies are banned from exporting to Israel. The only time the Israeli defence industry has ever impinged on my day job was that twice the MoD bought Israeli products (anti-tank missiles and UAVs) that were up against European and American ones that I was advising the manufacturers of.

7:46 am, January 06, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

A correction to the above comment. UK defence companies are not banned from exporting to Israel - but they wouldn't get export licenses for anything that might be used for "internal repression or external aggression" - and in fact only minute exports are licensed - about £6m in the last full year which doesn't buy much in the defence world.

7:34 am, January 07, 2009

Anonymous lord london fields lido said...

£6 million worth of bullets could kill a lot of children, Luke.

Not that Hamas are any better. The comments this morning about Jewish kids being legitimate targets lost the vile bastards any sympathy they ever had from me.

9:07 pm, January 07, 2009

Anonymous David Phillips said...

Interesting that in his puerile vendetta against Meral Ece, Luke Akehurst should deploy all the usual New Labour tactics appropriated from Karl Rove and Bush's Republicans: (i. re-write history; (ii. initiate a sustained campaign of personal slander and abuse to distract attention from the real issues; (iii. repeat the above 'ad nauseam' in the hope it will eventually be accepted as an authentic narrative.

Equally interesting that for the sake of this squalid cause Boy Akehurst should be ready to jump into bed with a Stalinist relic from Hackney whom he had simultaneously accused of bullying and intimidating Labour Party staff!

The cause of the split in Hackney's Labour Party that vexes Akehurst so sorely was the resistance by Labour apparatchiks backed by Tony Blair and the majority of the Party's National Executive Committee to holding an INDEPENDENT inquiry into the allegations of vicious child abuse in Hackney care homes by Labour Party member Mark Trotter. Without the independent inquiry set up as a result of Labour's defeat, it would have been impossible fr the NSPCC to track down and support the victims of that abuse. It's sickening that this ghoulish combination of Labour political bosses colluding with like-minded council officers to put their personal and political interests ahead of any sense of humanity or accountability should have subsequently resurfaced on successive occasions in neighbouring Haringey as well as Hackney. Somehow I don't think most decent Labour Party members in Hackney would willingly associate themselves with Akehurst's attempts to defend this particularly squalid aspect of Labour's municipal record via his uniformly silly jibes against Meral Ece.

One of Meral Ece's greatest achievements was to help drain the putrescent swamp of Labour corruption and mismanagement that had afflicted the people of Hackney for far too long. This was fittingly recognised, I'm sure, together with her other services to local government and community diversity, in the Labour Government's recent award to her. I for one am proud to have been associated with her in that task. Sorry, Akehurst, look for another target with which to occupy your misbegotten time.

2:54 pm, January 13, 2009


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