A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, the Labour Party and Hackney - 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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Final by-elections of the year

I was away on holiday in Italy last week so didn't do my usual weekly round-up of council by-elections. Here they are:

Sawbridgeworth Ward, E Herts DC. Ind hold. Ind 441 (45.1%, +9), Con 343 (35.1%, -7.4), Lab 99 (10.1%, +10.1), LD 95 (9.7%, -11.7). Swing of 8.2% from Con to Ind since 2007.

Bromham, Rowde and Potterne Division, Wiltshire UA. Con hold. Con 561 (53.5%, +10.1), LD 358 (34.2%, +15.8), Lab 74 (7.1%, +2.2), Ind 55 (5.2%, +5.2). Swing of 2.9% from Con to LD since 2009.

Friday, December 17, 2010

London Labour Statement Vs Cuts

"Following the Local Government Finance Settlement it's clear London has suffered a raw deal, with its councils facing average cuts of 11.25 per cent. The average for the rest of England is 9.93 per cent.

"So much for Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson's claim to have mounted a ‘Stalingrad like defence' of funding for London.

"We must be clear - the size and the speed of these cuts are a choice the Conservative-led government is making. Councils in London are being forced into making the heaviest cuts in the next year because of the decisions taken by George Osborne and Eric Pickles, damaging frontline services and putting jobs and the recovery at risk.

"Our first responsibility is to protect the communities we serve, pressing the government to abandon its course and minimising the pain of the government's cuts for residents. However the scale of the cuts in funding for councils is so big that in many cases this will not be enough to protect many vital services.

"There is little doubt that local government cuts of this size, imposed this quickly and frontloaded in the first year will hit many of the important frontline services families and communities rely on. Roads already damaged last winter could go unrepaired this year too. Potholes could go unfixed, pavements unswept. Streetlights will be turned off. Youth clubs will close. Libraries will shut down. As more people than ever need help with social care, fewer will find their local council able to help.

"Whether from local government, Parliament, City Hall, the trade unions or local Labour parties, London Labour's approach will be based on uniting everyone in London opposed to the way the government has handed these cuts to councils and focusing our campaign where it deserves to be focused - on the government.

"We urge the government to carefully reconsider the serious impact of policies on the quality of life of millions of Londoners, rethink the settlement and give the capital a fair deal."

Yours sincerely

Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for Mayor of London
Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Tessa Jowell MP, Shadow Minister for the Olympics
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
Linda Perks, UNISON Regional Secretary
Steve Hart, UNITE Regional Secretary London and Eastern
Paul Hayes, GMB London regional secretary
Richard Ascough, GMB Southern regional secretary
Alan Tate, CWU London Regional Political Secretary
Len Duvall AM, Leader of London Assembly Labour Group
Claude Moraes MEP

Nicky Gavron AM
Val Shawcross AM
Murad Qureshi AM
John Biggs AM
Joanne McCartney AM
Navin Shah AM
Jennette Arnold AM

Diane Abbott MP
Heidi Alexander MP
Rushanara Ali MP
Karen Buck MP
Lyn Brown MP
Jon Cruddas MP
John Cryer MP
Jim Dowd MP
Clive Efford MP
Mike Gapes MP
Meg Hillier MP
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Margaret Hodge MP
David Lammy MP
Siobhan McDonagh MP
Andy Love MP
Stephen Pound MP
Teresa Pearce MP
Nick Raynsford MP
Joan Ruddock MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Stephen Timms MP
Gareth Thomas MP
Emily Thornberry MP
Malcolm Wicks MP

Cllr Liam Smith, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council
Cllr Ann John, Leader of Brent Council
Cllr Nasim Ali, Leader of Camden Council
Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council
Cllr Doug Taylor, Leader of Enfield Council
Cllr Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Leader of Hounslow Council
Cllr Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council
Cllr Bill Stephenson, Leader of Harrow Council
Cllr Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council
Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council
Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council
Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council
Cllr Chris Robbins, Leader of Waltham Forest Council

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Council By-elections

Tonight's results:

Marlbrook Ward, Bromsgrove DC. Con hold. Con 284 (35%, -27.7), Lab 236 (29.1%, -8.2), Ind 138 (17%, +17), UKIP 68 (8.4%, +8.4), LD 67 (8.3%, +8.3), Green 14 (1.7%, +1.7), Ind 4 (0.5%, +0.5). Swing of 9.8% from Con to Lab since 2007.

Lydden and Temple Newell Ward, Dover DC. Con hold. Con 239 (62.2%, -5.4), Lab 90 (23.4%, +0.6), UKIP 55 (14.3%, +4.6). Swing of 3% from Con to Lab since 2007.

Dover Town Division, Kent CC. Lab gain from Con. Lab 1491 (43.7%, +14.3), Con 1348 (39.5%, -4.3), UKIP 404 (11.8%, +11.8), LD 170 (5%, -21.8). Swing of 9.3% from Con to Lab since 2009. A significant Labour gain and LD collapse in a south east parliamentary marginal. There were previously only two Labour seats on Kent County Council.

Spitalfields & Banglatown Ward, LB Tower Hamlets. Respect gain from Lab. Respect 666 (45.4%, +23.4), Lab 553 (37.7%, +3.6), Con 135 (9.2%, -1.5), Green 52 (3.5%, -8.5), LD 33 (2.2%, -15.1), Ind 28 (1.9%, -1). Swing of 9.9% from Lab to Respect since May this year. This was Lutfur Rahman's seat before he was elected as Mayor.

Sherwood Ward, Tunbridge Wells BC. Con hold. Con 422 (47.6%, -0.4), LD 174 (19.6%, -6.7), Lab 124 (14%, +2.2), UKIP 92 (10.4%, +1), Eng Dem 75 (8.5%, +8.5). Swing of 3.2% from LD to Con since May this year.

Alvechurch Division, Worcs CC. Con hold. Con 657 (52.6%, +11.7), Lab 189 (15.6%, +6.3), Ind 157 (13%, +13), LD 83 (6.9%, -6.4), Ind 79 (6.5, +6.5), UKIP 65 (5.4%, -16.7). Swing of 2.7% from Lab to Con since 2009.

Labour take control of Wolverhampton

Labour has regained control of Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council after a vote of no-confidence in the Con/LD administration:

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2010/12/16/labour-regain-control-of-wolverhampton-city-council/

Monday, December 13, 2010

Local government cuts

Highest cuts to "revenue spending power" (upper tier authorities):

LB Hackney 8.9%
LB Tower Hamlets 8.9%
LB Newham 8.9%
Manchester MBC 8.9%
Rochdale MBC 8.9%
Knowsley MBC 8.9%
Liverpool MBC 8.9%
St Helens MBC 8.9%
Doncaster MBC 8.9%
S Tyneside MBC 8.9%
Blackburn with Darwen UA 8.9%
Halton UA 8.9%
Hartlepool UA 8.9%
Hull UA 8.9%
Middlesbrough UA 8.9%
NE Lincs UA 8.9%

Lowest cuts to "revenue spending power" (upper tier authorities):
Poole 0.97%
Hampshire 0.95%
West Sussex 0.65%
Wokingham 0.63%
Richmond-upon-Thames 0.61%
Buckinghamshire 0.60%
Surrey 0.31%
Dorset +0.25% (yes, that is a plus - an increase not a cut)

I can't work out if this is some kind of reverse redistribution from the most deprived communities in the country to the most prosperous ones, or simply a sort of punishment for people that had the temerity to vote Labour.

Links

A couple of noteworthy links:


http://redbrickblog.wordpress.com/ is a blog by Tony Clements and Steve Hilditch of Labour Housing Group

and this report http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/wherethemoneygoes.pdf by Tim Horton and Howard Reed about the distribution of public spending came out a while back but has only just come to my attention

both worth a read.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lib Dem support by region

From MORI:
http://www.ipsos-mori.com/newsevents/latestnews/605/Liberal-Democrat-support-dropping-dramatically-in-some-regions.aspx

Party support by region - based on aggregate of polling data since June, so not capturing fully the recent acceleration of LD decline.

Ben Page, CEO, Ipsos MORI is quoted saying:

“It is traditional for Lib Dems to drop in the polls outside of election campaigns, this is usually down to a lack of media exposure. But now they’re in government – and making headlines, albeit negative ones and their support has still fallen. Especially interesting is the drop in the Lib Dem stronghold of the South West and to just 4% in the North East.”

LD to Lab swing since General Election - showing seats that would be gained on this swing (on current boundaries and electoral system):

North East 19% (Redcar)
South West 16% (Bristol W)
London 11% (Brent C, Hornsey & Wood Green, Bermondsey & OS)
Eastern 8.5% (Norwich S, Cambridge)
North West 8% (Manchester Withington, Burnley)
Yorkshire 6% (Bradford E)
Wales 5%
East Midlands 4.5%
South East 4.5%
West Midlands 2.5%
Scotland 1%

Con/Lab swing since GE:

North East 9.5% Con to Lab (delivering only 1 seat)
Eastern 9% Con to Lab (delivering 11 seats)
North West 5% Con to Lab (delivering 11 seats)
London 4.5% Con to Lab (delivering 6 seats)
South West 4.5% Con to Lab (delivering 6 seats)
Wales 4% Con to Lab (delivering 1 seat)
South East 3.5% Con to Lab (delivering 3 seats)
Yorkshire 1.5% Con to Lab (delivering 1 seat)
East Midlands 1.5% Lab to Con (1 seat lost)
West Midlands 1.5% Lab to Con (3 seats lost)
Scotland 2.5% Lab to Con (no seat implications)

LD to Con swing since GE:
South West 11.5% (12 Tory gains)
North East 10.5% (1 Tory gain)
London 6.5% (2 Tory gains)
East Midlands 6% (no seat implications)
Yorkshire 4.5% (no seat implications)
West Midlands 4% (1 Tory gain)
Scotland 3.5% (no seat implications)
North West 3% (no seat implications)
South East 1% (no seat implications)
Wales 1% (no seat implications)
Eastern 0.5% from Con to LD (no seat implications)

Lab to Plaid Cymru swing of 1.5% (no seat implications)

Lab to SNP swing of 2% (no seat implications)

What I'm taking from this is Labour needs to focus on the Midlands where our recovery has been slow, and that the LD collapse will help us more in terms of delivering Tory seats to us than it will Lib Dem seats (there are too few of them where we are second).

Council by-elections

Only two tonight, but both dramatic:

Fareham West Ward, Fareham BC. LD gain from Con. LD 933 (49.8%, +28.8), Con 687 (36.7%, -25), Lab 125 (6.7%, -3.6), UKIP 93 (5%, -1.9), Green 35 (1.9%, +1.9). Swing of 26.9% from Con to LD since May this year.

Bewsey & Whitecross, Warrington UA. Lab gain from LD. Lab 1032 (71.1%, +18.1), LD 221 (15.2%, -16.5), Con 118 (8.1, -7.1), Green 47 (3.2%, +3.2, Ind 33 (2.2%, +2.2). Swing of 17.3% from LD to Lab since May this year.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

After the vote

I've already blogged about the violent minority who hijack demos for their own political ends so I won't repeat my take on that. They are responsible for their own actions which are deplorable, have damaged the cause they claim to support, and ought to be universally condemned, but the context in which this kind of political violence can thrive is a Government which is promoting policies that are extreme and socially divisive and for which no mandate exists. You don't get riots against policies that have public consent or a clear electoral mandate. The mandate that exists if the LDs and Tories form a coalition is for policies to the left of the Tories' manifesto - not for the radical rightwing government we have.

The vote itself on fees was infinitely depressing in that half the LDs stuck with the Tories despite their pledge on the issue making this one where they were particularly vulnerable to pressure, and where the people affected were a core component of Lib Dem support. It suggests there is little hope they will see reason on other issues like cuts to DLA mobility allowance for care home residents or the Housing Benefit changes. I worry that in both those cases the victims - the disabled and those on benefit - lack the organisational infrastructure and the tradition of protest and indeed parliamentary lobbying to mobilise as the students (the mainstream NUS ones not the violent idiots) have. Solidarity with the most vulnerable victims of Coalition policies is going to be important, otherwise the fees issue will be seen as the high-water mark of protest, not the seeds of a bigger movement.

The LDs have voted to hit one of their own core groups of voters very hard. This suggests they will have even less compunction about hitting groups of voters who are either overwhelmingly Labour or excluded from the political process.

We are in for a very bleak five years, leaving us with a harsher society which will have taken on some of the worst characteristics of the US economic system. Key pillars of the British version of the North European social democratic consensus that Thatcher never dared attack will be eroded. And with the majority to vote through those policies being supplied by people who ran for election as progressives and have systematically cheated the electorate, led by Ministers like Cable and Huhne who were SDP defectors from Labour.

It will be easy to punish the LDs - they are already down to 8% nationally and 3% in the North - but a lot more difficult to stop the Tories splitting the country as they did in the '80s, carefully ensuring that they keep just enough people on their side to win the 2015 election and indeed being relatively generous to groups such as pensioners with a high propensity to vote. The big danger is that we end up as a coalition of victims: the young, the poor, ethnic minorities, public sector workers, the unemployed. Do the maths - it isn't enough to win a General Election. One bonus is that unlike the '80s there is a united opposition the LDs having left the progressive cause to Labour. But the scale of the mess the country is heading towards is truly terrifying and Labour activists need to guard against thinking that just because we can see how awful the Coalition is, that will lead to an election-winning coalition of votes in 2015. It's going to be a long haul.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Yes to AV

I am one of the signatories on the letter in the Guardian launching the Labour Yes to AV campaign today:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/08/labour-yes-to-av

I don't think AV is a panacea for Labour or the country's political system but it maintains the link between MPs and their constituencies whilst increasing voter choice, reducing the number of wasted or tactical votes, and ensuring every MP is elected with a mandate from at least 50% of their constituents. I believe it will contribute to a Labour revival in the south and rural areas where our vote has been artificially suppressed by tactical voting under First-Past-the-Post.

Stephen Twigg's article here is worth reading: http://www.progressives.org.uk/articles/article.asp?a=7201

The campaign's website is here: http://labouryes.org.uk/

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

DLA Cuts

I wrote recently about the dreadful Coalition cuts to DLA mobility allowance for disabled people in care homes.

Good to see Douglas Alexander picking up on this issue here:
http://www.labourlist.org/douglas-alexander-behind-the-headlines

A PQ out today confirms that 80,000 people will be affected by this not 60,000 as they originally claimed.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Third place first

A brilliant article in Progress by my friend and organisational mentor (he was Chair of Aldershot CLP when I was PPC in 2001) Keith Dibble -http://www.progressives.org.uk/articles/article.asp?a=7217 - relaunching "Third Place First", the campaign for Labour to rebuild its presence throughout the country

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Nice work if you can get it

From today's Mail on Sunday:

""SCOURGE OF BANKERS WHO 'SECRETLY' POCKETED £110,000

A leading Left-wing activist was last night facing questions over ‘secret’ consultancy payments worth £110,000 from the influential Labour-supporting pressure group he chairs.

The payments to Neal Lawson came to light after an item in the Compass group’s annual report marked simply ‘consultancy – £60,000’ was challenged by a member at last weekend’s annual general meeting.

Sources say the member was surprised to be told that the money was paid to Mr Lawson, who has repeatedly attacked bankers’ bonuses.

Mr Lawson angrily defended the payments of £60,000 last year and £53,498 for the previous financial year, saying they were ‘a pittance’ compared with what he used to earn.

He said he was due the cash because he worked for it ‘24 hours a day, seven days a week’ and acted as Compass’s ‘fundraiser, the strategist, the talker, the thinker, the go-to-meetings person’.

But one MP said last night: ‘As far as rank-and-file Compass members were concerned, these were secret payments to Neal.

‘Compass sees itself as the Left-wing soul of the Labour Party and scourge of City “fat cats”. Now we discover that the chairman is earning what to many people is a very comfortable wage. It’s disgraceful.’

Anti-sleaze campaigner and former independent MP Martin Bell said: ‘I don’t think £60,000 is a pittance and I don’t think most people in these difficult economic times would think so either.’"

Friday, December 03, 2010

Council By-elections

Last night's council by-election results:

Ciliau Aeron Ward, Ceredigion CC. PC hold. PC 367 (55.9%, -11.1), LD 247 (37.6%, +19), Con 43 (6.5%, +6.5). Swing of 15.1% from PC to LD since 2008.

Poole Town Ward, Poole UA. Poole People gain from Con. PP 462 (33%, +33), Con 438 (31.2%, -15.9), LD 214 (15.3%, -3), Lab 201 (14.3%, +1.2), UKIP 55 (3.9%, -10.3), BNP 32 (2.3%, +2.3). Swing of 24.5% from Con to PP since 2007.

Dunchurch & Knightlow Ward, Rugby BC. Con hold. Con 832 (49.4%, +1.7), LD 682 (40.5%, -0.8), Lab 149 (8.9%, -0.4), Green 20 (1.2%, -0.5). Swing of 1.3% from LD to Con since May this year.

Haydock Ward, St Helens MBC. Lab hold. Lab 1234 (62.7%, +11.2), LD 540 (27.4%, -9.6), Con 112 (5.7%, -5.8), BNP 82 (4.2%, +4.2). Swing of 10.4% from LD to Lab since May this year.

NEC Report

My report on my first full NEC meeting this week is over at Labour Uncut:
http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2010/12/03/luke-akehurst-reports-from-his-first-meeting-of-labours-nec/#more-6108

If it sounds gushing it was meant to, it was a very positive meeting.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Politics and morality

"The Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing" (Harold Wilson, 1961)

"Ours is a moral cause ... I speak of a new moral purpose" (Tony Blair, 1999)


All the commenters seem to be praising my friend Peter Watt's post - http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2010/12/02/6080/ that says we are wrong to cast moral judgements at our opponents.

I'm at severe risk of coming across as up myself but I have to say I disagree. I have met Tories who are pursuing their political beliefs because of a moral framework just as strong as any socialist's guides them. I have also met Tories (and in some cases held down personal friendships with them whilst hating their politics) whose guiding framework has no basis in morality but is purely about financial self-interest and class self-interest and prejudices based on complete ignorance about how the poor live or what a trade union is for. I've met Lib Dems who are guided by high-minded ideals about community representation, and I've met Lib Dems who are just opportunists who fancied the status of being a councillor and saw that party as the best vehicle to it.

I believe we must not dehumanise our opponents and must accept that some of them are making bad choices despite good motives (no one would question for instance that IDS genuinely wants to do something for the poor).

But I don't think we should flinch from making relative moral comparisons about whether the impact of policies and beliefs is good or evil. Policies that make poor people poorer are morally wrong, as are policies that reduce the provision of vital public services. If a fundamentally good person implements them that makes it even more of a tragedy. I don't have any qualms about feeling morally superior to people who are reducing the budget of the council I serve on, which provides services to some of the most deprived communities in London, by £60 million in one year. They ought not to be able to sleep at night.

I get the impression Peter sees the contest between political parties as one between the purveyors of different mixes of essentially value-free policies, and that you pick the one that gives you the best results. Of course, that's partially true, but it's not the whole picture.

Political parties are also vehicles for the promotion of ideologies. Sometimes the ideology they are vehicles for can appear extremely pragmatic but that's deceptive - for instance far from just being an agglomeration of carefully targeted policies Blairism was actually driven by the Christian Socialist religious convictions of Tony Blair, filtered through some extremely ideological revisionist social democrat allies (some of them like John Reid actually applying Marxist analysis to arrive at centrist conclusions). That clash of ideologies is essentially a clash of political faiths and hence debating the relative morality of your party and its programme versus the others is intrinsic to it. The minute you stop believing there's a moral superiority to your position you are probably on the path to political agnosticism.

Political parties are also vehicles for the aggregation and promotion of common economic and social interests in society. The left - the Labour Party - was created to advance the political power and economic share of the cake of the poorer, the working, part of society. The right - the Conservatives exist largely in response to this historic challenge to preserve the status quo in terms of where power and wealth sit in society i.e. with capital. The Liberals have the luxury of picking which side they are on and when they actually get the choice have plumped to the right other than in the 1970s Lib/Lab pact. The need to get an electoral plurality and a parliamentary majority in order to do anything to promote those class interests of course means that both Labour and the Tories have had to become people's parties that promote policies that have a broad national attractiveness rather than just a class one - or rather we have to take a broad definition of what constitutes the class we represent. When we fail to do that we lose elections but when we succeed, as under Blair, where we successfully articulated that we were for the many, not the few, we win. But it doesn't take away from what our core representational mission is - advancing the interests of the less well-off in society.

Given that I don't think it is a disputed fact that Labour represents the less well-off in society more than the Tories (and the Lib Dems) do (look at the list of seats we represent and the demographic structure of our vote, or our organic link to trade unions, or even the accents of our MPs) and that our policies are being proven to have benefited the less well-off more than Coalition ones do, a moral conclusion is fairly inescapable. To not think that the representative party of the less well-off is morally superior to the party representing the interests of entrenched privilege, you would have to think that inequality was not a moral question (and that Robin Hood was a baddie). Which of course is what the Tories do think. Their moderates think you have to balance inequality and market forces because whilst a bit more equality might be nice it might ruin the functioning of the market. Their extremists (who I've regularly debated with) think inequality is positively good because it leads to a more productive economy, and indeed that the poor in an unequal society deserve it because they are people of less merit in various different ways, and er... anyway it's their money so why should they share it with scroungers (this was pretty much the argument put to me by an otherwise charming Tory this morning).

I'm worried that Peter has been conned into thinking the Tories are well-meaning but wrong-headed. Some indeed are. But some are actually bad people who believe bad things.

The problem with trying to compete with them on a purely retail basis - we have more competent and charismatic politicians and better policies - is that when one day you don't have as competent or charismatic candidates or you get out-bid on policies, it doesn't leave you much of a base to fall back on. It's the ideological mission of Labour, and the class representational mission, that mean there are still thousands of people who will campaign for us even in the bleakest times.

For me the most attractive thing about Tony Blair - exemplified when he took the unpopular decision to liberate Iraq - was that his politics were based on a moral code. He was better able to take on his opponents across the political spectrum because he was certain about what he believed.

The parties are not all the same and they are not morally equivalent. I believe that moderate social democracy is a moral superior way of running a country to laissez faire capitalism. If I didn't believe that I'd be a swing voter not a Labour activist. We need to convert more people to that certainty of belief, not just accept an age of ideological shopping around. It's bizarre that at a time when religious faith is regaining ground globally and in the UK, we shouldn't be seeking to evangelise about our secular social democratic worldview.

The Coalition has created the moral gap between the parties by pursuing extreme policies. If they were a centrist government we would have no grounds for, as Peter puts it, casting "high-minded aspersions on their morality and humanity". They chose to open themselves up to these attacks. No one made them do it. They made moral choices and they chose bad policies.

I want the attractive policies and the popular candidates as part of the mix that wins Labour elections but I want those policies to be shaped and those candidates to be motivated by ideology, a clear sense of what social and economic class we are primarily here to represent, and yes morality. Politics has to be about something more than a retail competition for votes. If that's all it is then why not quit the field and lets the supermarket chains develop political products and run for office?

Compass prepares to commit political suicide

The soft-left faction Compass has suggested many crazy ideas over the years, but has now topped it all by suggesting opening its ranks up to Lib Dems, just at the point when the Lib Dems are self-destructing as a party (down to 9-10% in the polls) and have clearly demonstrated through their actions in government that they are not a centre-left or progressive party.

There's detail here: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/98181

and here: http://www.labourlist.org/mark-ferguson-can-compass-survive-outside-the-labour-party

Part of me wants to gloat at the tactical and strategic stupidity of this move, which will destroy Compass' credibility within the Labour Party.

But on another level it is desperately sad. There are a lot of people who legitimately self-describe as soft-left and sit between the Bennite hard left and people like me. They deserve a better vehicle for their politics, a better forum for discussion and a better space to network in the Party than Compass. There must be many of them who are absolutely solid Labour partisans and want nothing to do with openings to the Lib Dems, Greens or Trots. I hope they get out of Compass and create something better that will play a more constructive role in the internal life of the Labour Party (for a start off it shouldn't be allied with the hard left Grassroots Alliance in internal party elections) and have no truck with appeasement of other parties. If they get this right it could be as significant as the Labour Co-ordinating Committee's 1985 realignment of the left (when the soft left split from the Bennites and went into alliance with the right of the Party).

 
Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount