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.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The Tories lost the Bedford Mayoral election, counted today. This was after them making a big fuss about selecting their candidate by what they called a "primary" but was in fact an open caucus meeting (a primary is a selection ballot run either at polling stations or by post, not just a vote at a public meeting, however large). In this case it was affected by a very old-fashioned case of what the Australians call "branch stacking" - one candidate packing the meeting with family and friends, in this case from a specific ethnic/faith minority but it could as easily have been packing it with fellow trade unionists or WI or NFU members.

Perhaps now the rather silly debate over primaries will end, as the Tory model has been proven to produce election-losing candidates.

I find it particularly odd that Progress has spent so much time promoting the idea of primaries when there is no prospect of Labour adopting them because real ones cost £40,000 per constituency to run and no such resources exist in our party.

Activists in all parties would be better advised to put effort into recruiting members to their parties, so they become larger, better funded and more representative of the public, rather than naively speculating about importing US organisational models that were developed for specific US reasons (e.g. the absence of organised party structures between elections, elections that focus on candidate rather than party and the need to end the Tammany Hall boss politics that had previously controlled candidate selection).

David Cameron ought to think about copying some of Barack Obama's policies, such as deficit-funding a massive fiscal stimulus - the opposite of the Tory economic approach, rather than trying to be a British Obama by appropriating the word "change" and trying a few organisational gimmicks like these "pretend primaries".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't we got our very own Tammany Halls?

What is the Barrow selection if it isn't that.

Nice seque on your part to what you term "deficit funding". Most people know that as spending what you haven't got.

And, before you counter, we've all read Keynes, but go and read Professor Buiter on the FT's Maverecon blog to understand it ain't such a good idea particularly when you've spent the last 12 years pissing taxpayers' money up the all.

5:35 pm, October 16, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

No it's called spending now in a time of urgent need what you will earn later when the spending now causes growth.

Most of the population do this with their personal budgets e.g. take out loans so you can study, so you eventually get a higher salary; take out a mortgage so you spread the cost of a house over 25 years.

Do you really think the additional money spent on police, hospitals and schools in thelast 12 years was "pissing taxpayers' money up the wall"?

5:55 pm, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Tony Thatcher said...

You are absolutely fixated with the Conservative Party. All your recent posts seem to be about them. Actually it's no surprise really seeing as New Labour is the same thing as the Tories

6:23 pm, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Labour Betrayal said...

"Do you really think the additional money spent on police, hospitals and schools in thelast 12 years was "pissing taxpayers' money up the wall"?"

Yes totally. You think throwing billions into consultants pockets makes a difference. You must be mad.

Crime up, hospital standards down and children still leaving school unable to read and write correctly.

Labour's Legacy

6:29 pm, October 16, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Agree completely, Luke. I am very suspicious about primaries, which I think are both open to abuse, and also yet another attempt to 'take the politics out of politics'

I will be interested to see what happens when the Totnes GP selected for the Tories comes up against a Tory whip in the event of a policy she doesn't agree with (and generally medics and dentists are quite sceptical of some measures of both parties)

6:46 pm, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look:


7:27 pm, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on Luke.

9:13 pm, October 16, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is listening to the Labour Party and nobody cares Luke.

Stop wasting your life on these no hoper's - they don't deserve your time and effort.

What is Gordon Browns favourite biscuit? Who cares?

The dithering fool will be driven from office by an angry mob May 6 next year.

Good riddance to bad rubbish I say.

11:04 am, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece on Brown by Matthew Parris in The Times on Saturday.

It's like the fella says above: no one cares.

Luke keeps singing in the belief that Brown will rise like Lazarus.

Everyone knows that the corpse should have been cremated months ago. But no one cares, anyway.

2:14 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely fixated with the Conservative Party.

That's cos they are the enemy. Check back in a year's time and sadly you will probably know why

3:30 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As opposed to what?

The Enemy is this bunch of thieves and liars in government.

This crowd of bloodthirsty warmongering George Bush lovers need to be kicked out and ANYBODY has to be better.

Not only have they lied about Europe, the promise of a referendum we can now all see why.

President Bliar anyone?

I know this useless incompetent lying thieving ditherer of a Prime Minister wasn't even elected by the Liebour Party but President Bliar??

I never believed in conspiracy theories but this is too much.

Roll on election day.

3:49 pm, October 17, 2009

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

I agree with you entirely there Luke. We should stop this vacuous political trend-hopping, and cultural cringing. How much do we really have to learn from an American political system that can never get a turnout of more than about 60 per cent?

4:52 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think the additional money spent on police, hospitals and schools in thelast 12 years was "pissing taxpayers' money up the wall"?

In many cases, yes. So you now get a shite education in a new school building. Woo hoo

5:18 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An American voter turn out of 60%?

Last UK general election it was 34%..

get your facts straight Eton Rifle you New Labour suck arse..

5:35 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not face the truth - you supported Bush in an illegal war that killed thousands of innocent people and you do not deserve to be re-elected - you just don't.

Melt away before you lose next year, regroup and if things are as bad under the Tories (they CAN'T be) as you think then run for office then.

Stop taking the British people for idiots - we are not.

6:14 pm, October 17, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

anon 5.35pm the lowest recent UK general election turnout (59% in 2001) is about the same as the highest recent US turnout (2008).

9:46 pm, October 17, 2009

Anonymous Jako said...

Some genuine nutters leave comments on your blog, Luke.

10:56 pm, October 17, 2009

Blogger E10 Rifle said...

I've never, ever been called a New Labour suckarse in my life (the reason for this being that I think the New Labour project has been a disaster). So I feel deeply humbled today

12:23 pm, October 18, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Labour, Old Labour - same old same old excuses Eton Rifle.

Whatever happens Liebour leave office with higher unemployment and the country in rack and ruin.

Oh and it's always someone else's fault - Global Recession, Pound In Your Pocket etc etc

The difference is this time your slavish support for that War Criminal George Bush has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people around the word.

Still Bliar got a Bravery Medal from the US and Brown is Statesman of the year.

You really couldn't make it up.

Next you'll be telling me Bliar could be President of Europe!

4:25 pm, October 18, 2009

Anonymous Stuart Bruce said...

Good post. I've just done one criticising the Open Up campaign:


2:31 pm, October 20, 2009

Blogger richard64 said...

Phew! At last a sensible post from a Labour activist about primaries. Now perhaps we can get on to the real task which is getting a Fourth Term.

8:04 pm, October 23, 2009


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