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, May 20, 2010

On Diane

I've just spent a month campaigning alongside Diane Abbott in Hackney North in a very comradely and united campaign that resulted in her doubling her majority and Labour gaining six council seats.

As you might expect, I won't personally be voting for Diane if she gets nominated to run for the Labour Leadership as we have rather different perspectives on the major issues facing the Party - though there are occasional surprising ones we agree on.

However, I think it's good that she is running and hope (though doubt) she can get the 33 MPs necessary to get nominated - we need a genuine ideological debate to take place involving candidates from all wings of the Party so that the leadership result measures opinion in the Party and gives a political mandate to whoever wins. I also agree with her point that the field needed some diversity in terms of its gender and ethnicity.

Her decision hasn't been that popular with her colleagues in the Campaign Group though. It drives a stake through any chances the "official" hard left standard-bearer John McDonnell had of collecting enough nominations.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dianne

As I told that fat ugly mug Andrew today on the Daily Politics, it is important that the BME community have someone who is an absolute professional at being a complete hypocrite.

Dear Andrew asked me how I could represent the poorest borough in the UK when I sent my son to a private school.

Naturally I countered with the charge that all the individuals in the coalition had been to private school.

No it didn't answer the question. But what do you think this is. It's politics, ducks, and Labour politics at that.

I'm trying to construct a formula that gives me the opportunity to say silly things within s reasonable wrapper. No problem with the silly stuff. But reasonable. I just don't gettit.

Anyhow, if you're in Dalston market this Saturday don't worry I won't be there or any Saturday for the next five years if I can help it.

Still thanks for the support Luke. There's one born every day. See you in five year's time.

Keep it real, yeh?

4:02 pm, May 20, 2010

 
OpenID spiritleveller said...

"It drives a stake through any chances the "official" hard left standard-bearer John McDonnell had of collecting enough nominations".

No doubt that's why you're so delighted by her decision to stand.

4:18 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I can't follow the reasoning behind the LRC/Briefing versus Socialist Action/IMG infighting so I'm unable to form a judgement about which is the lesser of two evils.

I'd prefer McDonnell and a less hard left candidate to both get nominated.

4:26 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Anonymous leftist trainspotter said...

I can't follow the reasoning behind the LRC/Briefing versus Socialist Action/IMG infighting so I'm unable to form a judgement about which is the lesser of two evils.

Come on, Luke. Pay attention. It's slightly analogous to the Eurocommunist/Straight Left split in the CPGB.

Socialist Action (ex-IMG) and fellow travellers like Livingstone and Abbott decided gradually to move away from the Marxist prioritising of class in favour of concentrating on things like BME equality, LGBT rights, feminism, anti-war campaigns, etc.

The LRC/Briefing tendency has always prioritised class above all due to its more traditional Marxist analysis.

Hence why the Eurocommunist-inspired Compass has cosied up much closer to Socialist Action sympathisers than it ever has to the LRC.

5:02 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Yes, I've come across LRC members who fail to understand how deeply offensive the catholic church position is towards gay people, for example, and seem to think that MP's who claimed to be left wing but had atrocious voting records on these issues were a paragon of left wing virtue (David Drew and the late David Taylor MP being the obvious examples)

Also, its a very good reason not to support Andy Burnham, who is far too close to Vatican plc for my liking.

5:18 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke is probably correct to say that Diane Abbott will not get enough nominations to stand.

The election rules are an absolute disgrace as only part of the electorate i.e MPs are allowed to nominate. In addition, 12.5% of that group are required to be nominated.

Imagine a parliamentary election in which 12.5% of the voters in a constituency were required. That would be about 9,000 signatures!
In addition, there is also the obscenity of a candidate getting more signatures than he needs in order to ensure that another candidate cannot be nominated. This is what Gordon Brown did with far from hilarious consequences.

A party that seeks votes from the people of this country needs to adopt a more democratic procedure so that voices like Diane Abbott and John McDonnell can be heard.
We should not forget that their policy stances do have substantial popular support.

5:24 pm, May 20, 2010

 
OpenID spiritleveller said...

If nothing else, this blog provides me with an excellent insight in to what appears to be party's activists' weird fascination with factions and groups.

5:37 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Imagine a parliamentary election in which 12.5% of the voters in a constituency were required. That would be about 9,000 signatures!"

As you only need 10 signatures to stand in a constituency of 130,000 (Isle of white) should we reverse the logic.

130,000/10 = 13,000

There are 258 MPs

258/13,000 = 0.020 this is less than a whole MP so we gonna have use some Lib-Dem type maths - you better pay attention...

Average weight of an MP

100KG

No sory that was before the expenses scandal.

95KG

Minus the fact that Prescott has retired

90KG

So if we mulitply 90KG and 0.020MPs

= 1.8KG

This is roughly the same weight as Hazel Blears.

So the question left is...

Do you want Hazel Blears deciding who runs the party???

Luke - don't feel you need to answer that question.

6:04 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger southhackneypunter said...

Just by announcing her candidacy Diane Abbott has achieved a lot, everyone in my office said 'good on her' and for the same reason, Diane has sharply exposed how white, middle class and male the public face of Parliament and the Labour leadership contest is. One comedian recently joked that if David Miliband is elected the three leaders will then look so alike that anyone one of them could be left in charge and no-one would realise they'd switched.

8:38 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger Jimmy said...

"The LRC/Briefing tendency has always prioritised class above all due to its more traditional Marxist analysis."

Quite where McDonnell's cheerleading for sectarian terrorism fits into this analysis is where I get confused.

10:06 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with your poster upthread that this 33 MPs to nominate rule is a farce. However I hope Diane Portillo gets the 33 and wins on the "time for me because tokenism trumps merit which I completely lack" platform.

11:09 pm, May 20, 2010

 
OpenID spiritleveller said...

@southhackneypunter

"Diane has sharply exposed how white, middle class and male the public face of Parliament and the Labour leadership contest is".

Yeah, because it's not middle class at all to attend a grammar school, go to Cambridge, privately educate your children, and 'break bread' with the kind of Tories that have done so much harm to the working class in this country.

Wake up, Abbot is a charlatan. Maybe I'll get excited when somebody in the party's leadership has achieved success in spite of their upbringing and/or not subsequently sold the people who believed in them down the river.

If Diane had half the intellect of some of the young black girls on the Nye Bevan Estate who, because of the society they've been born in to (aided and abetted by sell-outs like Diane), are unlikely to achieve a great deal in life, then I'd happily support her nomination. As it is, I could never do so.

Champagne socialism is champagne socialism; black, white or otherwise.

11:15 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

It's a caricature to portray the LRC/McDonnell wing as only fixated on class (though it's right to stress the primacy of it, and right in its critique of the Socialist Action tendency) - I've come across more engaged and thought-provoking feminist discussions in the LRC than in any other part of the left I've encountered, to be honest.

11:17 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Blogger Duncan Hall said...

"we need a genuine ideological debate to take place involving candidates from all wings of the Party so that the leadership result measures opinion in the Party and gives a political mandate to whoever wins"

I agree with this 100% Luke. Tom Harris has been "tweeting" about reducing the threshold to 5% for this election. I see this as being a good idea: then all 6 candidates could go to the electoral college. Following Tom's lead, I thought I'd try and see if I could get signatories to an appeal to the NEC, from people from all wings/traditions in the Labour Party.

What do you say, Luke? Will you sign up? Message me on facebook or something if you're interested and I'll try my very neutral wording out on you!

11:31 pm, May 20, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke,

Depsite working closely with her through the election campaign, you must also see like everyone else, that da is utterly lazy as a local MP.

This is about her ensuring her ongoing publicity and second income with the bbc.

She's a useless MP and would be a disaster to even get enough nominations to stand as we'd have to listen to her absolute drivel.

Just becuase she is black and a woman doesn't give her the absolute right to stand and be heard - as one person earlier put it = "tokenism trumps merit"

9:54 am, May 21, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A woman who applied for a job at a bus company was told she could not be hired because she is white

Guess where and with who? Yep Hackney Council

Marion Ryan aged 40 of Clapton was told the passenger assistant position with Hackney Community Transport was only open to people of "mixed race, afro-caribean or asian origin"

This is horrendous discrimination against a mother who was trying to get back to work after 18 years raising her children. Just awful

http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/content/hackney/gazette/news/story.aspx?brand=HKYGOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newshkyg&itemid=WeED20%20May%202010%2010%3A41%3A07%

9:57 am, May 21, 2010

 
Anonymous SJM said...

Hackney Community Transport is a social enterprise that is a completely separate organisation to Hackney Council.

10:33 am, May 21, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not surprising Hackney Labour party faithful are not supporting Diane Abbott - what about the appalling Karpin woman? No, why would a bunch of middle class white boys living in Hackney a largely working class area with very large black community, support a popular black woman MP when 4 cute white middle class lads will do?
You lot are a joke

9:26 pm, May 21, 2010

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dianne Abbott should step down as this is splitting the votes for a left candidate. We must have John McDonnell as the leader all these creepy new Labour crap must go now.

10:30 am, May 22, 2010

 
Blogger Merseymike said...

Since when has going to a state grammar school when there was selective education, and winning a scholarship from that school to Canbridge in academic merit, 'middle class'??

All MP's are middle class by default. And so what if she has a media career - she's damned good at it!

I'm not voting for her as it happens, but the sort of personal nonsense on here makes me think I should

12:24 am, May 23, 2010

 

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