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, April 09, 2010

In praise of Roger Godsiff

Campaign Group MP Lynne Jones has ended her parliamentary career by almost but not quite endorsing Salma Yaqoob (candidate of George Galloway's Respect party, which used to be a coalition of Trots and Islamists but has now suffered a walk out by the Socialist Workers' Party).

Yaqoob is running in the new Birmingham Hall Green seat against veteran MP Roger Godsiff. This is expected to be a Labour vs. Respect marginal though the Lib Dems also fancy their chances.

You can see the careful wording Jones has used here: http://www.thestirrer.co.uk/April_10/jones-endorses-yaqoob-080410.html - stopping just short of the direct endosement of Yaqoob that would lead to automatic expulsion from the Labour Party.

Ironically, Godsiff's voting pattern in the Commons is not that disimilar to that of Jones and the rest of the Campaign Group:
  • He voted for Jones' amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill
  • He voted for an inquiry into the Iraq War
  • He voted to abolish the ID cards programme
  • He voted for Frank Field's compensation proposal on the 10p tax rate
  • He voted for the reintroduction of the committee system in local councils
  • He voted against 90 day detention

Overall he was the 16th most rebellious member of the PLP in 2008/9.

Either Ms Jones is such a sectarian that anyone who does not match her own record of being the 5th most rebellious Labour MP must be purged, or she has an extremely long memory.

For the other half of Roger Godsiff's political career, before he became a totally un-whippable rebel backbencher, was to have been Political Officer of APEX, later part of the GMB, in the '80s. In this role he was one of the key organisers with people like John Golding and John Spellar, of the fightback by moderate trade unionists which systematically smashed the Bennite Hard Left's grip on Labour's NEC and enabled Kinnock and Hattersley to make Labour electable again.

Roger Godsiff may be an abrasive character with some quirky views but he doesn't deserve to be stabbed in the back by a fellow Labour MP. The last thing Birmingham Hall Green needs is an MP who is a proponent of Respect's brand of communalist politics.

People on Labour's left should be backing Godsiff because he is a free-thinker who has rebelled with the left on a range of key issues. People on Labour's right should be backing him because his historic contribution to Labour's recovery from insanity deserves our gratitude. Lynne Jones joins the ranks of people like Brian Sedgemore who have chosen to end their parliamentary careers by betraying their Party.


Anonymous Andrea said...

"Notionally this is expected to be a Labour vs. Respect marginal."

The LDs won't agree

11:35 pm, April 09, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Have amended.

11:42 pm, April 09, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that you persist with your claim that Kinnock made the Labour
Party electable. There is no evidence for this.

In 1992, Labour lost by 7.5%--a wide margin indeed. Fortunately, the Conservative majority was very small for such a wide lead. The Conservative Party is thought to have been suffering, if I remember correctly, from a shortage of activists, which caused them this problem.

Kinnock was a very poor leader of the Labour Party who had a remarkable ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

And who could forget how he made a fool of himself at the misconceived Sheffield rally?

11:24 am, April 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Godsiff is better than most Labour
MPs although some of his comments about immigration have been rather worrying.

I hope though that Yaqoob wins.

11:35 am, April 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, you did not mention that Roger Godsiff was a Lewisham Cllr for many years. I also seem to recall he brought a large 1960's house in Blackheath and demolished it to build and even bigger one!

8:12 pm, April 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Lynne Jones joins the ranks of people like Brian Sedgemore who have chosen to end their parliamentary careers by betraying their Party."

Perhaps, but think of how many people have been betrayed by the NuLabour Party!

3:48 am, April 12, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Its up to her what she says and what she believes

I won't be voting for the Labour candidate in my new constituency (boundary changes) because he has a homophobic voting record. I simply can't support someone like that irrespective of their party label

We have no Green candidate

That leaves me with UKIP and Tory (never in either case) and the LibDems (Clegg and his rebranded band of right wingers)

Only one left is the TUSC candidate who I have met once or twice. He's way to the left of me, though.

Not a great choice.

3:54 pm, April 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should look at the scurrilous leaflet Godsiff has just distributed regarding the recent European Court of Human Rights' judgment on the rights of prisoners to vote. I thought at first it was from the BNP it's so vile and inaccurate.

I have been trying to persuade people that Godsiff is the least bad option and that we must vote Labour to prevent a disastrous Tory government but have to say I'm now not so sure.

10:41 am, April 18, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vote Salma!

10:20 pm, April 18, 2010


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