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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No platform ... for Charles Clarke

I am a big fan of the work Progress does in providing a space for debate in the Labour Party, though I've always regretted that the cash generously provided to it by Lord Sainsbury has gone exclusively on these kind of think-tanky activities. The original concept floated to me by its founder Derek Draper (are we allowed to mention him anymore?) in 1995 when I was a humble NOLS representative on Progress' initial politburo or whatever it was called, was that it should be a fully fledged faction, throwing Sainsbury money and phonebank calls etc. at parliamentary selections to back ideologically pure New Labour candidates. Unfortunately it ended up run by folk who find ideas more exciting than head-counting at their local GC. I think there was room for it to do policy debate and factional organisation. Oddly Compass manages to do both while Progress never gets its hands dirty, leaving the heavy lifting to us in Labour First.

I do wish they would stop providing a platform for former Hackney Council Chair of Housing Charles Clarke though. We all know what he is going to say, he keeps saying the same thing. Progress hosting his speeches diminishes their reputation and influence and implies to the media that he represents some current of Labour opinion wider than his own, admittedly vast, ego. Tonight they've hosted him again and again he's tried to undermine the PM just days before a vital pre-election conference.

We can't stop Charles talking guff but he should do it from across a restaurant table by himself, not with the illusion of credibility provided by Progress' platform, or with them doing the legwork to find him an audience.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek Draper (are we allowed to mention him anymore?)

Not if you want to be taken seriously.

10:52 pm, September 23, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Ears got to be on Newsnight too.

Alongside Pascoe-Watson (Sun) and McQuire (Mirror).

You're doomed.

11:53 pm, September 23, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

olks take a look at those people been raided at the Calais camp-Could this be any of us or our children in the not to distant future!

Housing costs are unaffordable and always being hyper inflated to astronomical levels, pay and conditions in employment is deteriorating rapidly. In 1989 Labour promised to build 100,000 council homes a year if elected if this was the case then there would be 1.2 million homes built by now, but all they have done is brought in pockets of affordable accommodation to a few key workers. Even if 4 million council homes were built it would not solve the problem entirety, as the market needs regulation in sales and rents to make housing affordable and to raise our living standards.

In a few years time we will be nomads scratching for work in different area's or countries something must be done!


12:27 am, September 24, 2009

Anonymous Ben said...

Your loyalty would be a stoical positive, Luke, if weren't for the fact that Brown is a dreadful leader who has time and time again failed to live up to low expectations. This is a great shame, as it should be said that his line on the recession has been broadly correct (though the time is coming soon when public spending must fall and taxes rise) and has saved much human misery. But the man is a disaster.

As it is, your display of loyalty is, as well as being ostentatiously clubbish, also rather ostrich-like. A blind-spot in your otherwise commendably rigorous new Labour record. If the party cannot grow a spine (and it looks like it cannot) to limit the severity of the defeat then it will deserve the horrific debacle we are approaching. I suppose the only small mercy with respect to Brown is that he is not Harriet Harman, John Cruddas or some other predictably leftish-talking opportunistic relic.

12:50 am, September 24, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Some of what Clarke said was reasonable, some of it less so, all of it predictable.

The problem is that people have made up their mind about Brown and they don't appear to be willing to change it. I don't think that all the criticisms are fair and the obsession with having a photogenic media tart as leader of a party - any party - does politics no favours.

But I can't work out how Gordon will ever or can ever be rehabilitated. However, there is no obvious alternative who would actually want to do the job. And so late in the day it would appear cynical in the extreme to force him out now

1:15 am, September 24, 2009

Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

We need to increases taxes on the rich. The top 1% have more wealth than the bottom 95% so there is more scope for tax increases there.

9:52 am, September 24, 2009

Anonymous Carl Gardner said...

It's all very well saying he's talking guff, Luke - you don't say why it's guff. If he's right (and yes, I think he is) that we may be heading for a catastrophic defeat next year, then it's vital that members speak up about that and try to get the party do do something about it. Doing so isn't disloyal; on the contrary, not to do so would be disloyal.

Easy to say he represents no one but himself, too, if you also think views like his should be silenced.

10:42 am, September 24, 2009

Anonymous tim f said...

I agree that giving Clarke a platform is not a sensible way of ensuring a fourth term. But I presumed Progress were doing so because its leadership agreed with Clarke.

I know very little about Progress, but assuming they're not stupid what other reason could they have for inviting him to speak?

12:10 pm, September 24, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brown obviously did something downright nasty to Clarke.

It's not political. It's personal.

Clarke has been shafted. Now he's abandoning any party loyalty to shaft Brown.

This all fits with what we know about Brown - a venal nasty scheming scumbag without a moral scruple.

Schadenfreude. Enjoy. That bastard is gonna get his.

12:45 pm, September 24, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Brown is toast we all know it. He is going down and is going to take the party to 3rd place or maybe 4th place.

You reap what you sow....gods justice.

5:21 pm, September 24, 2009


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