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, June 10, 2010


An exercise to see if my predictive powers are up to scratch - can someone check this when the Labour leadership results are announced:

1st round overall order:
1 - D Miliband
2 - E Miliband (second in all 3 sections of electoral college)
3 - Abbott (a poor 5th among MPs but narrowly top among members and possibly TU section too )
4 - Balls
5 - Burnham

My caveat would be that the top 4 are going to end up bunched quite close together so the order could change.

Burnham eliminated first and his transfers will benefit David M the most.

Balls eliminated second and his transfers strongly benefit Ed M at which point Ed M takes the lead.

Abbott last to be eliminated, her transfers overwhelmingly benefit Ed M at which point he wins 55-45.


Anonymous Michael Green said...

Luke you need to explain how a women who can't get a majority of women Labour MP's and a ethnic miniority politican who can't get a majority of ethnic Labour MP's and a leftie who can't get a majority of leftie MP's is going to win the membership section or the TU's (I might also add you can bet your bottom dollar she won't win one TU that actually ballots its levy paying members)?

9:50 am, June 10, 2010

Blogger Neil Harding said...

I think Abbott comes across with the public very well, she just doesn't come across well to the middle and upper class media and policy wonks that make up the Labour parliamentary party. The membership and union levy payers who will turn out to vote are far to the left even of Diane Abbott, let alone Andy Burnham. No doubt Luke is going to back Andy, as his darling face in the trough Blears has. Diane is not the candidate the left wanted, but she'll at least give people on the left something to join the party about. The right of the party fear Diane that is for sure, because they fear real democracy in the party.

10:19 am, June 10, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Neil I have already publicly declared my support for Ed Miliband on here.

Michael all the unions have to ballot their members.

My reason for thinking Diane will top the members section is that the left usually beat the right in the NEC elections and in a 5-way fight with 4 quite ideologically similar other candidates she can come top with just over 20 per cent - ie with the 15000 votes the GRA gets for the NEC.

Diane will get the core left vote plus some women and BME members both of which are heavily represented amongst party members. Also she will get a London vote delivered by Livingstone's machine and between one quarter and one third of members are in London.

Many union members don't follow politics closely and will be morer aware of her than of the other 4.

10:34 am, June 10, 2010

Anonymous Andy said...

I don't think Abbot will do that well among the members. The rest of the country is not like London. In Yorkshire, a lot of people who I might expect to be backing the hard left candidate, who would vote the GRA slate at NEC elections, are already on board with Ed Miliband.

I think Abbot will be third among members, behind both Milibands. Not sure NEC election results will be a good guide, as I think turnout will be higher and members realise they are making a different type of decision when picking the leader compared to picking grassroots reps on the NEC.

11:04 am, June 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up here in Copeland, there's a lot of leftwingers but they really can't stand Abbott. They think she's phoney. She's a media darling who sits on Portillo's lap and sends her kid to a private school.

I doubt that sentiment is that unsual in northern working class constituencies.

12:30 pm, June 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Copeland continued)

Add to that the fact that she keeps banging on about issues - such as ID cards - that nobody up here is really that bothered about and which wasn't really mentioned on the doorstep in this constituency.

12:36 pm, June 10, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

I though David's nomination of Diane was very clever. He's behaving like the leader already. I'm afraid Ed's lost me on the 50% rate. Any move away from the centre is suicide.

1:43 pm, June 10, 2010

Blogger Sunder Katwala said...

I find it odd to see how voices on the right of the party (Paul Richards wrote "Abbott could win" the leadership believe she will poll so strongly among party members.

Though I do think she has the ability to do rather better than a different Campaign Group candidate, such as John McDonnell. I agree that some members (not all of them women) may cast a preference to support a woman having stood up and run.

I take your point that it might only take a 20%+ left vote to be top when there are four new Labour candidates, so it is a more measured position than Paul's. But I can't really see the read across from an NEC election. What are the NEC turnouts? Surely the leadership turnout will be over 75%+ among party members, and less among affiliates.

My guess is that Abbott may well come 4th overall, but I doubt she would come higher than 3rd/4th among party members. The differences between the three sections were not astonishingly wide in the previous contests.

While up to a third of the members are in London, they are presumably not all prone to the "Livingstone machine". In an individual ballot of party members and individuals with affiliates, all discussion of machines seems to me a little exaggerated.

2:10 pm, June 10, 2010

Anonymous tim f said...

I think Diane will come narrowly top of the members section, but will not top the union section and will do very poorly with the PLP.

I think we could be in for a shock, like in the deputy leadership elections where Alan Johnson was expected to do well & had the support of a large section of the PLP.

Wouldn't be surprised if Ed Miliband was ahead in the first round and stayed there right 'till the end. If Balls does better than you're expecting in the TU section, and Abbott worse, he could beat Abbott to third on the first round, with the result that she goes out, donates her second preferences between the two Eds & David Miliband finishes in third.

4:20 pm, June 10, 2010

Anonymous View from outside said...

My money's on Ed Miliband.
David Miliband is Blair MkII
Ed Balls is Brown MkII
Andy Burnham is completely unknown
Diane Abbott will do well but won't win.
Ed Miliband will be where we need to be in 2015, the others just offer more of the same.

7:58 pm, June 10, 2010

Blogger Red72 said...

Fromthe start I've expected Ed Miliband to win

Miliband D too Blairite
Balls - Not popular among the public and too close to Brown
Abbott - Would lead to Labour losing next time. Would be Labour's IDS.
Burnham - Will be spueezed between the Milibands.

Miliband E will, in the end, do well across different wings of the whole party. Don't think that willbe true of any other candidate.

9:15 pm, June 10, 2010

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Actually Sunder, I suspect John McDonnell would have done much better in the members and union sections; especially the union section... However, I don't think Luke's predictions will be a million miles off; and I suspect "hard left" people outside London will drift to Diane 1, Ed M 2 positions as the summer wears on.

9:51 pm, June 10, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

I'm glad Ed M has made it clear that the 50% band should remain.

His instincts are social democratic which is why i think he has picked up support from a diverse range of people

10:34 pm, June 10, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disagree, Duncan.

I think McDonnell is seen as FAR too sectarian by most people in the party. Abbott has a "softer" image and is more media-friendly. Whether we like it or not stuff like that matters these days....

Unlike hysterical uber-Blairites like Richards, I don't think DA can win - indeed she has little chance of even topping the poll in any section, despite what Luke and others think. But merely by being there she has made the contest more interesting - surely a good thing??

(Anon above - somebody else from Copeland :-) Where are you at? I'm in Millom)

12:48 am, June 11, 2010

Anonymous tim f said...

Anonymous, for what it's worth 3 people at my EC last night said they would've first-preffed McDonnell but not Abbott. None of the three are people who would traditionally be described on the hard left. One who would've backed Cruddas if he'd stood didn't like Abbott because of the private school issue (that issue goes a lot wider than just the left of the party), the others said they feared Abbott was too much like Michael Foot but McDonnell came across as more reasonable and more of a natural trade unionist. (This interested me as McDonnell is clearly more left-wing than Abbott, but this is ordinary members we're talking about, not people who are plugged into factions.)

12:47 pm, June 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

John McDonnell actually does come across as being very professional and should have put Dianne Abbott in the shade.

I was disappointed with her on the TV, every three sentences she reminded us that she is black and a women. we don't want all this race stuff thrown in our face, class issues are far more important!

2:56 pm, June 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From now on we can expect a steady stream of articles telling us that Diane Abbott would make the Labour Party unelectable. Exactly the same self-serving rubbish was said ten years ago about Ken Livingstone. But he proved them wrong by winning the London mayoral election 2 out of 3 times,
the first as an independent.

Diane Abbott is Labour's best hope and so I hope she wins. I think she is the best candidate because she is not handicapped by her record in office whereas all the other candidates are.

Go for it, Diane!

5:28 pm, June 11, 2010

Anonymous Ben said...

"Diane Abbott is Labour's best hope"?! Christ, spare me.

I'm surprised that you should be so pro-Ed, Luke. Obviously you came out for him before the hustings the other day, but do you not find his positioning on Iraq fundamentally strikes a dischordant note? I would have thought someone from the "traditional right" might be concerned about his mood music on defence.

It's the wrong approach, raking over the coals, and the more general tenor of dumping on the legacy and attacking (by implication) those who have done so much to keep our party in government, from a position which is itself not even one of principled left-wing opposition, seems a tad distasteful.

7:32 pm, June 11, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under section 10(7):

“An individual who contravenes a requirement imposed on him by…this section shall be liable to a civil penalty not exceeding £1,000.”

This is taken from the Labour government's ID card legislation.
Once people started getting these fines for, for example, not telling the authorities that they had moved house then I guarantee that this would have come up on the door step---big style!

Diane Abbott is absolutely right to go on about it. The whole thing would have been less poular than the poll tax.

This was one of a number of policies that put me off voting Labour in the last two elections.
I am delighted that such a truly evil piece of legislation is being repealed and I hope that the Labour Party will now support that repeal.

10:09 am, June 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: ID cards

You do realises that if you move house and you fail to tell the DVLA you're liable for a £1,000 fine.

My comment wasn't about the rightness/wrongness of ID cards, but about its electoral importance.

If we think we lost the 2010 election because of ID cards, then we've either been living in cloud cuckoo land or we haven't been doing as much canvassing as we pretend. And if we go into the next election thinking that if we change our policy on this and associated issues then we're going to waltz back into Downing Street then we're all going to be in for a nasty shock come 2015.

I knocked on 1,000s - literally 1,000s of doors in Copeland and NOT ONE PERSON mentioned ID cards. They mentioned an awful lot of things: jobs, housing, schools, hospitals, benefits - even (SHOCK HORROR) immigration, but I think I can safely say that we weren't losing votes in Copeland because of ID cards.

1:06 pm, June 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The very fact that Ms Abbot was pushed by the three real contenders shows they have no fear of her winning.

3:47 pm, June 12, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only she stopped waffling on about being black and a women and got down to policies?

5:51 pm, June 12, 2010


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