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.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What next?

Not calling an election was the correct decision.

But let's not lose the huge amount of organisational momentum that's been gained in the last few weeks.

Frankly we were behind the curve on candidate selection and a host of other key factors in an election and now we have caught up with where we should be two years before a poll.

I'd like to see:

- Every CLP out campaigning each weekend for the next month as though there was an election - let's get the doors knocked and some leaflets delivered anyway
- Every candidate in place as soon as the timetable for a full democratic selection - started now - will allow
- Cash that would have been spent on an election used to fund more organisers on the ground for the "long campaign"

And let's stop whinging about Lord Ashcroft's cash and start fund-raising to match it - the numbers quoted in the press are that he is giving £40,000 per year to each Tory constituency association he is targeting - that isn't beyond the capabilities of the unions, our own major donors and levies on councillors and MPs to match in the CLPs where it matters - there are already some Labour CLPs that raise that kind of annual income. £40,000 is not much more than the cost of a professional Agent in each key seat - and back in the 1950s we were funding professional Agents in several hundred seats.


Blogger David Boothroyd said...

In Westminster North CLP we have set our goal as being to outspend the Tories.

10:00 pm, October 06, 2007

Blogger Steve Horgan said...

Given that your leader has just presided over a political disaster you will need every penny.

12:22 am, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke - i hope that we now have time to set out why a left of centre labour Government will continue to represent the interests of the vast majority of people, whilst the tories talk about lifting multi millionaries out of tax rates (inhertiance tax) and representing their narrow class based interests.

i hope that the time we have will give Gordon opprtunities to set out his vision.

I also hope that you personally and others from the democratic socialist/social democratic wings of the party will be selected for winnable seats to represent all of our interests.You cetainly have my support in any seat you are seeking nomination for

12:56 am, October 07, 2007

Blogger Praguetory said...

"In Westminster North CLP we have set our goal as being to outspend the Tories."

V amusing that DB is boasting that Labour plans to throw money at a problem.

1:15 am, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In Westminster North CLP we have set our goal as being to outspend the Tories."

...and Westminster North's position on election spending caps, expected to feature prominently in the next Queen's speech, is...?

8:37 am, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a disaster for Brown.He's had it.

10:50 am, October 07, 2007

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

It really isn't a disaster for Brown. It'll have blown over in a couple of weeks. I don't think he should have allowed the speculation to get where it did - but in the end he has to make a judgement the same as any other Prime Minister. To more-or-less rule out an election next year too is quite a surprise. But it does give us plenty of opportunity to organise, as Luke suggested. I have to say it's a bit of relief not to be working up for an election next month. Not that I think the result was in any doubt: just because I think it's better to have a good run-up for these things!

1:17 pm, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, for once you're pretty much right - you should be aiming to go and do some community politics. It's what's often missing in Hackney. I can't remember the last time I heard anything from my local councillors (Labour), and I can't see anything they've done for the community. If they were to get off their fat backsides and do some work, we might see an improvement to this area.

As far as money goes, I'd be looking to make the most of it with the unions. Those who don't realise sooner or later that you lot are about as socialist as Augusto Pinochet (and no, Luke, that's not a pleasant Chilean wine), will hopefully get banned from funding elections round about the same time Lord Cayman Islands (sorry, Ashcroft) does.

I don't like the idea of state funding of political parties much, but it's a simple fact that many local parties in all major parties would not be alive without the significant "large" donations they receive. And the collapse of the local party infrastructure of all the parties would be a disaster for democracy in the UK.

1:50 pm, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke it's the right decision for the country because we should never have got into this fix in the first place. The Cabinet connived at stoking up the electoral fever after allowing a pragmatic tactic of distracting the Opposition to get out of hand.

And people like yourself have to bear some of the blame with your contributions about being there being nothing more exciting than elections. (Personally I think the exciting thing ought to be what you do as a Government between elections).

One of the most damaging things about this 'up the hill and down again' farce is that it has portrayed the PM and the party as scurrying around making a big decision as momentous as the General Election, based on nothing more than what latest polls say about the PM's personal mandate.

So david boothroyd states:
"In Westminster North CLP we have set our goal as being to outspend the Tories."

To offer that kind of politically vacuous response is hardly going to win back respect or regard for the Party from an now-maybe-inclined-to-be-skeptical electorate.

Maybe, just maybe, the General Election ought to be about more than the PMs personal mandate and about an ambition to out-spend the Tories?

dactor dunc I fear you may be very wrong about this all blowing over in a few weeks. Gordon Brown's own credibility has encountered real damage... in the spin world that we have created in the past decade or so, perceptions are something that the Blair/Brown Government courted and lived by... it cannot just be dumped and run away from with a wish that it will all blow over in a few weeks. The media has been given it's hare and it will now hound it endlessly - why was the hare ever given over?

1:56 pm, October 07, 2007

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Ted - I agree, we shouldn't have got into this position. But I don't think there's the appetite to pursue it for long. I may be completely wrong - I've missed most of today's political TV/radio programmes, for instance, and they may have given more of a flavour of the mood. But, in the end, Brown can reasonably claim to have never suggested there was to be an early election, and just say that a few of his supporters were a tad over-eager. Yes, there's a bit of damage to mend, but I think it's mostly Westminster/media gossip, and it will soon be superceded by real events.

3:09 pm, October 07, 2007

Blogger Tom said...

Totally agree. The campaign begins here.

We can match Ashcroft if we work hard enough. And are nice to the unions.

Rights for agency workers anyone?

4:16 pm, October 07, 2007

Blogger David Boothroyd said...

Typical Praguetory nonsense. The Labour government and the Labour Mayor have been the best thing that's happened in Westminster North for decades, and we're not going to be outcampaigned by our bunch of reactionary Tories in any respect when we go out trying to tell everyone about it.

How good to see Peter Kenyon doing everything he can to build up Labour Party unity as he always does.

4:21 pm, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In Westminster North CLP we have set our goal as being to outspend the Tories."

David, leaving aside the flipant, and usual comments of "wannabe" revolutionarys the question to your comment must be how ?

'Cos if Westminster Norf can do it so can many other constituencies.

Personnally I have to install and commission our ( The Labour Party ) NEW mulitcolour printing press next week and I did not want to have to do that in a General Election.

8:29 pm, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duncan, for once I totally disagree with you. I don't think this will blow over. Brown's asssetion that it "would have been easy" to call an election id frankly risible when everyone knows the reason it was called off was because Labour was in trouble.To pretend otherwise is treating the public with utter contempt.Browns USP was his supposed straightforwardness - this episode has damaged him big-style. Even today's announcememts on Iraq etc will be greeted with cynicism.
Unless he reslly does change tack, and stop pandering to the right, 2009 will be his first - and last- election

11:14 am, October 08, 2007

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

Susan - of course I agree about the need to change tack and stop pandering to the right. I do think the two issues are seperate though. I'm not saying that I don't think things were handled badly, just that events are likely to consign them to the dustbin of history quicker than today's headlines might suggest.

5:18 pm, October 08, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phrase 'Peter Kenyon', and 'party unity', do not trip off the tongue easliy. He was a disaster on Hackney Council.

11:19 pm, October 08, 2007


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