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, April 30, 2009

Democratic socialism in one borough

Great praise for Hackney's Labour Council in today's Times:

"Hackney now symbolises everything that new Labour was supposed to be all about. The revival began in 1996, when the party expelled a number of rebel councillors, mainly on the old Left, who were partly to blame for the borough's previous poor running. Things then stalled for a while, as Hackney was run by a coalition that included many of the expelled councillors before year zero in 2002.

That was when the Government bailed out the borough with a £25million grant to keep services going, while Labour, led by a forward-looking Mayor, Jules Pipe, was elected with a clear majority.

The turnaround has been textbook. The Audit Commission labelled Hackney the “most improving” local authority in 2004 after council tax collection rates were stepped up dramatically, housing and social services improved and fraud - once endemic - was stamped upon. The commission followed this with a similarly glowing report last year - and council tax has just been frozen for the third year running. Crime figures are also tumbling.

Hackney now bursts with confidence. The long-awaited extension of the East London Line next year will see it appear on the Tube map for the first time. Trendy bars, shops and restaurants proliferate. Dalston, previously one of the “edgier” neighbourhoods, was this week even compared with the Lower East Side in mid-1990s Manhattan in a newspaper article.
It is pro-business, too.

... all in all, Hackney could be a poster child for new Labour... Hackney has shown that it is possible to improve public services while helping business to thrive, holding down taxes and providing genuine value for money."

I'd like to think that my seven years as Chief Whip, which ended when I stepped down last week, may have helped create the stable political environment that made this transformation possible.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Medical Bulletin

Just a lengthier explanation of why I'm not blogging much lately.

I'm 4 weeks into a 3 or possibly 4 month stay in the National Hospital for Neurology, with severe problems with my nerves meaning I can't stand or walk and have some loss of arm/hand co-ordination and strength too.

Diagnosis is not 100% confirmed but the medics here and at UCH have found a lesion on a bone in my pelvis. They will do a biopsy on this at start of next week and suspect it is a solitary bundle of cancerous cells - a plasma cytoma I think it is called - which is generating proteins into my blood which are attacking my nervous systems amongst other effects. Left untreated this would have proved fatal within under 3 years.

If it is this, it's called POEMS syndrome and can be put into remission by radiotherapy and/or surgical excision. Then my nerves would start to regenerate - a few months for the myelin sheath to regrow (i.e. about same timeframe as my rehab in hospital) but any damage to actual nerve axons may take up to 2 years to repair, so I may be returning to work and political life with some residual walking problems - we won't know until time shows basically.

I'll try to do some political blog posts in due course.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Council by-elections

Belatedly, Thursday's council by-election results - I'm still in hospital and typing is difficult:

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Ward, Aberdeenshire Council. LD gain from Con. 1st preferences (LDs won on STV transfers): Con 1144 (31.5%, -18.3), LD 969 (26.7%, +0.6), Ind 842 (23.2%, +23.2), SNP 617 (17.0%, -3.1), BNP 44 (1.2%, +1.2), Ind 19 (0.5%, +0.5). Swing of 9.5% from Con to LD since 2007.

Derby Road West Ward, Erewash BC. Lab gain from Con. Lab 696 (39.0%, +6.7), Con 584 (32.7%, -12.7), LD 301 (16.9%, -5.4), BNP 205 (11.5%; +11.5). Swing of 9.7% from Con to Lab since 2007.

Inverness West Ward, Highland Council. LD gain from Ind. 1st preferences: LD 1503 (59.6%, +34.5), SNP 556 (22.0%, -6.8), Lab 210 (8.3%, -7.7), Christian People's Alliance 115 (4.6%, +4.6), Con 111 (4.4%, -2.5), Solidarity 27 (1.1%,+1.1). Swing of 20.7% from SNP to LD since 2007.

Wanstead Ward, LB Redridge. Con hold. Con 1300 (37.3%, -5.6), LD 1030 (29.6%, +17.9), Lab 694 (19.9%, -7.7), Green 256 (7.3%, -10.5), BNP 171 (4.9%, +4.9), UKIP 33 (0.9%, +0.9). Swing of 11.8% from Con to LD since 2006.

Alfold, Cranleigh Rural and Ellen's Green Ward, Waverley BC. Con hold. Con 429 (64.3%, -5.9), LD 238 (35.7%, +13.5). Swing of 9.7% from Con to LD since 2007.

Totteridge Ward, Wycombe DC. LD gain from Lab. LD 733 (54.1%, +36.5), Con 408 (30.1%, -10.9), Lab 214 (15.8%, -25.6). Swing of 19.2% from Con to LD since 2007.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Council by-election results

I'm still in hospital and will be for another 5-7 weeks whilst doing intensive physiotherapy to get myself walking again.I hope to be blogging a bit more from next week.

There was only one council by-election on Thursday:

Minehead South Ward, West Somerset DC. Ind hold.
Ind 393 (51.5%; -7.5), Con 370 (48.5%;+7.5). Swing of 7.5% from Ind to Con since 2007.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Council By-Election Result

Apologies for the lack of posts. I am still in hospital and will be for another week.

There was only one council by-election last night:

Moston Ward, Manchester City Council. Lab hold.
Lab 1353 (38.7%, -10.8), BNP 815 (23.3%, +23.3), LD 696 (19.9%, +7.2), Con 558 (16.0%, -13.9), Green 74 (2.1, -5.7).

Swing of 17.1% from Lab to BNP since 2008.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Council by-election results

Thursday's results - a little later than usual because I have restricted use of blogger as I am in the National Hospital for Neurology awaiting treatment for some neurological problems - working diagnosis is CIDP - which over the last two months has progressively reduced my ability to walk.

Anyway, the results were not good for Labour:

Felpham West Ward, Arun DC. Con hold.
Con 630 (52.1%; +12.8), LD 269 (22.2%; +6.2), BNP 165 (13.6%; +13.6), UKIP 89 (7.4%; -8.8), Lab 56 (4.6%; +4.6). Swing of 9.5% from LD to Con since 2007.

Skircoat Ward, Calderdale MBC. Con hold.
Con 1327 (36.8%; -17.2), LD 1209 (33.5%; +0.5), Lab 274 (7.6%; -0.2), Ind 238 (6.6%; +6.6), BNP 235 (6.5%; +6.5), Ind 229 (6.4%; +6.4), Green 92 (2.6%; -2.6). Swing of 8.9% from Con to LD since 2008.

Belsize Ward, LB Camden. LD hold.
LD 1136 (46.0%; +5.4), Con 952 (38.6%; +1.7), Lab 270 (10.9%; -3.2), Green 109 (4.4%; -3.9). Swing of 1.9% from Con to LD since 2006.

Ramsey Ward, Huntingdonshire DC. Con hold.
Con 626 (38.1% ;-8.1), UKIP 520 (31.6%; +9.8), LD 432 (26.3%; -0.9), Lab 67 (4.1%;-0.8). Swing of 9% from Con to UKIP since 2008.

Temple Newsam Ward, Leeds City Council. Con gain from Lab.
Con 1785 (28.0%; -5.9), BNP 1502 (23.6%; +1.4), Lab 1476 (23.2%; -6.4), LD 1468 (23.1%; +15.6), Green 137 (2.2%; +2.2). Swing of 3.7% from Con to BNP since 2008.

Dormanstown Ward, Redcar and Cleveland BC. LD gain from Lab.
LD 809 (42.4%; +17.3), Lab 667 (35.0%; -17.1), BNP 305 (16.6%; +16.6), Con 125 (6.6%; -16.2). Swing of 17.2% from Lab to LD since 2007.

Moulton, Weston and Cowbit Ward, South Holland DC. Con hold.
Con 937 (81.1%; +28.5), LD 219 (18.9%; +18.9). Swing of 4.8% from LD to Con since 2007.

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