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, July 25, 2009

On Norwich

Paul Richards has some pithy thoughts about the Norwich North disaster here.

I was particularly shocked that the entire Cabinet was meeting in Cardiff on polling day. How can we expect to win if our entire national leadership is several hundred miles away rather than leading the effort to get the Labour vote out?

Compass are talking about a conspiracy to oust Ian Gibson as MP because of his left views. Presumably a key conspirator was the equally leftwing Ann Black, who sat on the NEC panel that de-selected Gibson, and last month admitted to the Hackney North GC she had made a mistake?

Finally, an excellent comment from my successor as Castle Point PPC, Julian Ware-Lane:

"I am not one to join the rush to praise Dr Gibson. Dr Gibson may have been a fine MP, but enriching one’s progeny via the taxman is not on. I accept that he is not alone in what he has done, but that does not excuse it. The by-election was needless and I find Dr Gibson’s petulance unforgivable.

This has cost the Labour Party an MP. It is also an unnecessary expense for the tax-payer. Did Dr Gibson not think he could do anything useful in the months remaining before the General Election?"


Anonymous BeautifulBurnout said...

The most useful thing Labour MPs can do is resign - preferably after passing the Repeal of New Labour Legislation Act. Or they can wait another ten months and let the Tories do it...

3:45 pm, July 25, 2009

Anonymous James Thurston said...

So Julian Ware-Lane PPC for Castle Point sais in a post:

"This has cost the Labour Party an MP. It is also an unnecessary expense for the tax-payer. Did Dr Gibson not think he could do anything useful in the months remaining before the General Election?"

Unlike you Luke I think that the above comment is far from excellent.... indeed it is a disgrace....

It was not Dr Ian Gibson who cost the Labour Party an M.P.

There is no doubt that what Dr Gibson had done re: the expenses scandal he was involved in.... is totally inexcusable and as such I do not wish to make any defense of him regarding that particular act....

However.... what I will do is defend Dr Gibson for working so hard and dilegently for his constituents.... a lesson that many Party Stooge M.P.'s could learn....

It is patently clear that Ian Gibson was far from being the worst perpetrator in the M.P.'s Expenses debacle concerning Labour M.P.'s.... He was singled out and then made a "Sacrificial Lamb" while Labour Ministers escaped Scot Free....

That is a disgrace.... it was perfectly sensible and above all Honourable for Dr Gibson to resign.... after all as he was de-selected (effectively an act of passing a no confidence motion in him) by the Party Chiefs how on earth could he have maintained the confidence and credibility of the constituents he represented.... The only thing he could have done.... which is what he did.... was to resign and cause a By-election....

It is not Dr Gibsons fault that the Labour Governemt is still posessed with arrogantly carrying on with its ludicrously unpopular and ridiculous policy programme....

As for whether Dr Gibson could have done something more useful in the months remaining before the General Election.... I have a good idea as to why he decided to resign.... It is highly probable that he did not wish to continue supporting the out of touch.... extremely arrogant and stupid Government on whose benches he sat....

Therefore in conclusion I say to both you Luke and Mr Ware-Lane.... it was not Dr Gibson who is responsible for Labour losing an M.P..... the blame lies fairly and squarely and without any doubt on the shoulders of Gordon Brown and his shabby Government....

8:51 pm, July 25, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of the 1,000 or so Tory supporters drafted into help with this by-election (in my case from Cumbria). Labour put the wrong candidate there (nice guy, wrong place) and completely under-resourced the whole campaign. I have to say your views are long way from that of the Labour voters on the doorstep that I encountered. Not one hint of criticism towards Gibson. An awful lot of criticism towards the Labour Party process that allowed this to happen. The Star Chamber only looked at 5 MPs, one of the 3 judges denies attending Gibson's courtmartial. You have to ask yourself how Gibson ended up on that list of 5, and I rather suspect the pathway leads to one Brown or the other. Funnily enough, not one voter spontaneously raised the expenses issues with me, which rather surprised me too. Also, when I went around some of the council estates a number of residents said that only the Conservatives, UKIP and the LibDems were canvassing that area.

9:17 pm, July 25, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

But it all comes down to Brown. People are blaming him for many of the problems being experienced now.....are they have good cause.

I've just come back from two weeks in south of France and one thing struck me....we are not the only ones in the shit. However, it is very clear that British people are feeling the pinch more than our German and French neighbours. Both are feeling the effects but due different policy it would appear that Brits really are the hardest hit.

No matter who you talk to Brown comes up as the man to tar.

I've had it from a very reliable source that crude oil prices will push petrol over £1.50 a litre next year. But when will Brown react.....what has he got planned.....if I know he must surely know.....but where are the policy announcements etc etc.

Another announcement from one of the leading advisers to the government for social housing...has admitted there are no signs of green shoots and estimates recovery to be at least 2 years away....in contract to what Brown is saying.

Unless you remove Brown then I'm afraid the British voter still views him as unelected and incompetent.

11:01 pm, July 25, 2009

Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Brown's greatest skill : micro-managing almost ewverything while at the same time blaming anyone/everyone else for the ensuing problems.

Remember, it started in America ....

Alan Douglas

8:54 am, July 26, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear - still as craven a Party hack apologist as ever. Gibson was harried out by the star chamber for being left while Blears et al get away with it. Fair play to him then for "costing the Party - t'Movement, comrade [swells of Red Flag from the Hoxton Grauniadista Sinfonia] - a seat": you deserve to lose 200.

9:34 am, July 26, 2009

Blogger DiscoveredJoys said...

There is an unspoken part of a contract of employment - the employee owes a certain amount of loyalty to the employer, and the employer owes a certain amount of loyalty to the employee.

This works in other relationships too.

So when Dr Gibson finds that his 'employer' cynically uses him as cannon fodder, breaking the implicit contract, it does not seem to strange that he chooses to walk away.

I'm only suprised that he (so far) has chosen not to 'vote and tell'. I assume that is because he still feels loyalty to his left wing ideals.

11:16 am, July 26, 2009

Anonymous Tom Copley said...

Ian Gibson was not being petulant. He was appallingly mistreated by the Party leadership and felt that he did not want to carry on as a "lame duck" MP. We should also remember that by resigning early he has forgone a lot of money in winding up allowances and pension contributions that MPs like Margaret Moran, who did fleece the taxpayer, will receive.

Hazel Blears and many others did far worse than him and yet remain eligible to stand.

Sadly, it was the Labour leadership that brought about this needless defeat, not Gibbo. To misquote Radiohead, "we did it to ourselves, we did, and that's what really hurts."

3:59 pm, July 26, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

But the point is that the Party's responses have been inconsistent

Blears and many others at cabinet level did stuff far worse than Gibson. Thus, they should have also been told that they could not re-stand if that was the intention with a far lesser offence.

Lets face it. Labour will lose the next election. I think then, the new Labour experiment must be laid to rest. It provided some years of government but many of those years were wasted. It has effectively past its sell-by date. Labour must then regroup around policies far less accepting of the market.

6:43 pm, July 26, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Would you be reacting the same way if the result was different. You are angry because you have lost yet another seat.

You should your aim your anger at the man who started this whole mess....Brown and Blair.

MPs are paid too much and it was Mrs Thatcher who put a stop to their lavish pay. I recall it was Blair who relaxed the expenses. It is too easy being an MP...they need to remember how the people paying their wages live.

I was not surprised at all by the expenses row. The whole of Europe is run by political elite. I have more faith in the monarchy than I do with the political system.

8:12 pm, July 26, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...


In the time of Thatcher MPs did not bother so much about expenses as they acquire extreme large sums of money and lavish gifts from lobbyists in exchange for the Parliamentary services over riding Constituents needs!

10:02 pm, July 26, 2009

Blogger Tom said...

What Gibson did was, in my view, unacceptable. The party was right to remove him.

It was very, very wrong not to remove a lot of others, including the tax avoider you backed for the deputy leadership.

12:31 am, July 27, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

I don't agree that MP's earn too much. The role should be equivalent to that of a principal management post in the public sector. And if we do expect MP's to maintain both a constituency and London home, then it is reasonable to pay for this

4:13 pm, July 27, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Presumably a key conspirator was the equally leftwing Ann Black, who sat on the NEC panel that de-selected Gibson, and last month admitted to the Hackney North GC she had made a mistake?"

How can you justify this ? It was actually said, as if it was then why not made BIG news !! Nothing reported that this was admitted ? Unless you were there

2:45 pm, July 28, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Merseymike, most management in the public sector earn way too much....and they are about to realise that fact too.

Plain fact is Britain can't afford to be paying lavish wages to public sector managers especially when those providing front line services.....nurses, social workers, probation officers, teachers, police are paid so little.

MPS should be going into politics for the love of it and not for money. No MP in this country can claim poverty...they are well paid simple.

11:06 pm, July 28, 2009

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anon 2.45pm,

Ann Black says this in her latest NEC Report:

"If I had argued more strongly for deferring judgment until we had the full report on all MPs, maybe I could have prevented the Norwich North debacle, maybe not. I have to live with that, and worse, so do the people of Norwich."

5:21 pm, July 29, 2009

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Gibson = guilty, but in range for no penalty. 0-1 to party.
Stasi = guilty to send him up. 1-1.
NEC = guilty to send him down. 2-1 to Gibson.
Gibson = guilty to resign, he wasn't going to stand again anyway.

Making this a 2-2 thriller. But Gibson would have been the clear winner had he not resigned in the way he did.

PS Luke: Ann Black is not close to as left wing as the former SWP guru Ian Gibson. Don't be silly.

8:31 pm, August 02, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Rich: that is exactly the way to ensure that the only people to enter parliament will be those with an independent income. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys, and if the loathsome British public want even worse representation, which they certainly deserve, then they are taking exactly the right action.

2:50 am, August 04, 2009

Blogger Duncan Hall said...

I like Ian Gibson. He made a mistake. If it was the NEC's decision to say all the wrong-doers were unable to stand next time then fair enough. It would have to include Hazel Blears, James Purnell, Jacqui Smith, etc. but fair enough.

It didn't.

I think the public mood was for people who'd been 'found guilty' to stand down rather than continue claiming expenses. I don't think Ian's decision there was the wrong one, though it was regrettable.

10:26 am, August 08, 2009


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