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.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

More spin from the Compassites and their chum, veteran Bennite former leadership candidate Michael Meacher - http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1799833,00.html

They've done a YouGov poll and are making all kinds of claims about it - I was one of 600 party members who took part. Wouldn't have done if I had known who commissioned it.

In presenting the findings they ommitted one or two results that show more accurately how moderate and sensible most Labour members are. The full findings are here: http://www.yougov.com/archives/pdf/MBC060101003_2.pdf

and reveal that:

the majority of Labour members (54%) define themselves as "slightly left of centre" or "centre"
only 32% say they are "fairly left wing" (The Compass/Tribune positioning?)
and only 6% "very left wing" (i.e. Campaign Group/Bennite?)

Only 17% of members think Labour has "not much" or "not at all" stayed true to its values

15% (including me) think removing Saddam from power was one of the six most important government acheivements

48% didn't list Iraq as one of the six worst policy mistakes

Only 28% think MPs should vote against the whip (61% think they should negotiate a deal with ministers when they disagree with a policy then vote with the Government)

Only 37% want Blair to resign this year

55% think forcing a leadership contest "would be inappropriate and damaging"

66% think Blair should decide the timing of when he steps down

Reading this makes you think the left will get a very bloody nose in the next leadership and deputy leadership contests.


Blogger Tom said...

Gordon Brown has a lot more to do with why labour has stayed true to it's values than Blair has... Blair make currency of attacking anyone in the party that aren't 'keep the faith' supporters.

The best support is critical support. So when people act as such, it is probably best to listen.

And you can't exactly complain about compass spin... do you remember the 90 days questionairre? Or the fact that when the prime minister chose Tory votes over party unity, it was a Labour bill?

I guess it's a bit symptomatic in a way... we have Alastair Campbell now lol...

4:18 pm, June 19, 2006

Blogger Manchester University Labour Club said...

I think an indicator may come in the NEC elections. All this disquiet could lead to big wins for the grassroots alliance.

11:13 am, June 20, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think Compass are twits. But describingt them as "pernicious and subversive" is not the way to win arguments over them/with them.

5:27 pm, June 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Actually I'd argue they were quite reasonable words to use: subversive = "trying destroy or weaken something, especially an established political system" (in this case the current leadership of the Labour Party) and pernicious = "exceedingly harmful" and "working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way" which unlike the conventional Hard Left they are.

5:39 pm, June 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I think part of the problem is that Compass are fighting "no holds barred" - some of Lawson's statements against the PM are frankly outrageous - whereas most of the "Forces of Light" are treating Compass as though it was a wrong but legitimate contributor to the debate and lending them credibility they don't deserve.

6:02 pm, June 20, 2006

Blogger Tom said...

I'd agree. don't like this no-holds barred stuff. but unless you believe us to be dishonest in our beliefs as well as incorrect, I don't see how you can label us subversive, when we obviously (whether you do or not) believe that we are improving labour as a whole (the leadership held regardless) and bettering it's chances.

you may disagree on that, but we aren't lying about our views on that. so whether we are subversive is like trying to draw an absolute right or wrong on something else where opinion is clearly divided, like policy.

a mere puff, nonetheless

6:47 pm, June 20, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

It's a shame the people inside Compass like you who seem to want a constructive policy debate rather than a platform for battering Blair don't take control of it.

9:29 am, June 21, 2006

Blogger Manchester University Labour Club said...

There is only one problem with compass. That is Neal Lawson. Good bloke, needs to engage brain.

12:00 pm, June 21, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta laugh at all this "it wasn't us, it was Neal" stuff. You are either a grown up and responsible adult, in which case you take responsibility (and therefore either sack Neal or take the rap for it) or your a poor little sheeplet being led on by Neal's campaign to make himself some sort of media tart.

Neal - who previuously was telling us alliance with the Lib Dems was the route to happiness - now says David Cameron is to our left. He could not be more unhelpful if he was trying.

1:37 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger Manchester University Labour Club said...

Well yes precisely. He's just quite liberal and not particuarly in touch with voters.

And as for being led on by hime. I've been the 1st to criticise when I think hes done the wrong thing.

However, as he is the one that has built compass up we're hardly going to sack him.

1:45 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

But Compass is quite happy to sack Blair even though he took Labour from opposition to 3 election wins ...

2:03 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger Manchester University Labour Club said...

No compass is not quite happy to sack Blair. Neal Lawson would like to sack Blair.

I think that compass believe that Blair has become an electoral liability.

3:50 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger Tom said...

Yeah. it is about tking responsibility. so why should we take responsibility for everything Lawson says? I personally would like blair to go, but these things should be done privately, preferably without mutiny. and I mean, the man has said he's going to go anyway!

Yes, Lawson, Simpson etc should stop behaving like student politicians(!); it's about policy, not personality. debate should not be about ad hominem attacks, verbal or substantive.

they only discredit their organisations.

it's all a bit Thomas Hobbes though. it isn't legitimate to topple the prince... not unless you achieve it. I think a lot of views would change rather quickly were it to happen.

12:58 am, June 23, 2006


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