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, September 27, 2010

The blog vote

It was this blog wot won it.

Michael White in the Guardian says I am a "controversial pro-Ed blogger" and won through the "blog vote" (geddit?): http://tinyurl.com/2coy4sq

Probably true as name recognition seems to be a key determinant in these national internal elections.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NEC Results

  • Ken Livingstone - 88,235
  • Oona King - 64,004
  • Ann Black - 59,200
  • Ellie Reeves - 45,481
  • Christine Shawcroft - 44,338
  • Luke Akehurst - 30,825

Not Elected:

  • Johanna Baxter - 30,653
  • Peter Willsman - 29,009
  • Peter Wheeler - 28,752
  • Deborah Gardiner - 27,531
  • Sam Tarry - 27,166
  • Shaukat Ali - 21,881
  • Peter Kenyon - 18,650
  • Sofi Taylor - 18,557
  • Susan Press - 15,465
  • Rajwant Singh Sidhu - 13,252
  • Narinder Singh Matharoo - 13,060
  • Kevin Bennett - 12,976
  • John Wiseman - 10,999
  • Julian Ware-Lane - 7,722

Thank you to everyone who voted for me - as you can imagine I've had a pretty amazing last 24 hours with the narrowness of my own win and the candidate I backed for Leader winning by almost as tight a margin.

Friday, September 24, 2010


This is a must read for the next Leader to understand our psephological challenge: http://www.policy-network.net/articles/3894/Labours-fatal-southern-flaw?

They should also have a look at Tim Horton's forthcoming Fabian Review piece on Values & Fairness to try to grasp that middle class voters aren't all obsessed by choice. Some exerpts:

"Perhaps the least surprising thing about the Labour leadership contest was how quickly it degenerated into an argument about whether to focus on the concerns of Middle England or those of the many voters Labour has hemorrhaged off its left flank. One of the first challenges the new leader now faces will be to get debates about Labour’s electoral strategy out of this cul-de-sac.

This isn’t just because it’s silly for a party to devote so much energy to arguing about which voters it doesn’t want. What is so toxic about the ‘core voters v. swing voters’ argument is that it’s based on a false premise: the idea that there are two types of voters who are completely different animals, with different concerns. And that you can’t appeal to both at once.

Of course, there are many ‘touchstone’ issues that have split the Labour Party internally over the last few years: how to deal with immigration, benefit fraud, the super-rich and public service reform. But in fact on none of them could you get a cigarette paper between your average Mail and Mirror reader.

On all of these issues the sentiments involved extend far across the political spectrum. They are all topics where polling questions get numbers of 70-80 per cent. For example, a recent MORI study shone a light on public queasiness about diversity in service provision; it found that “Two-thirds of the public think that standards of public services should be the same everywhere in Britain, with just one-in-five preferring greater local decision-making. This commitment to uniformity in standards cuts across party political affiliation…and is not altered by deliberation. Fairness and uniformity appear to be indistinguishable for many members of the public.” Similarly, when we polled people on tax avoidance last year, 88 per cent of Labour voters wanted the Government to act on it. The equivalent figure for Tory voters was 82 per cent. Far from playing to either core or swing voters, getting this politics right scoops both.


The Blairite critique of Labour under Brown is that it lost Middle England because it was too attached to tax-funded, centralised service provision. This was argued with passion, but at times was dangerously detached from reality. In 2008, Blair’s former speechwriter Phil Collins set out this critique in a Prospect article that argued the party should instead adopt a ‘liberal’ agenda of public service localism, combined with a greater emphasis on wealth taxes and green taxes. Personally, I support the idea of fair wealth taxes, green taxes and public service reform. But I also genuinely struggle to think of a less attractive headline package for Middle England.

In August, the think tank Demos did some helpful polling of the voters Labour lost at the last election. Whereas 19 per cent of Labour’s lost voters said central government “interferes too much in local services”, 35 per cent agreed instead that “the whole point of government is to make sure that there are decent standards across the board and everyone gets a fair deal”. And while 27 per cent of them thought government is “part of the problem not the solution”, 33 per cent thought the opposite. An agenda aimed at winning back the largest number of these voters will clearly need to be a pro-government one.

The Labour left can be fairly accused of not interrogating seriously enough why Labour didn’t win a majority. But the Labour right can arguably be accused of not interrogating seriously enough why the Conservatives didn’t win a majority. If people were really that queasy about the state, Cameron would have swept to power by a landslide (and that’s before you take into account the financial crisis, deep recession, a tired 13-year-old Government and an unpopular leader). He didn’t."

Ken vs Boris Round 2

Congratulations to Ken Livingstone on his selection to re-fight the London Mayoral election.

I enjoyed the unity in London Labour of the 2008 Ken campaign - hopefully we can replicate it this time but with a different result.

My tips for Ken for a Labour victory this time are as set out in previous blog posts in 2008:
  • You can't win just by firing up our core vote in inner London and BME communities. We'll do our bit in Hackney - we sure did last time - but you'll never win an inner London vs outer London turnout war because of the maths - there are more voters in outer London!
  • So you need to get out and campaign in the suburbs far more than you did in 2008.
  • The voters you are going after out there aren't posh - far from it - they just don't identify with inner London. You need to be a voice for white C1 and C2 voters in Bexley, Dagenham, Romford, Enfield, Croydon, as well as for your comfort zone in Hackney and Brent.
  • Build some bridges with the Jewish community. There are 195,000 Jewish residents in London, they have a very high turnout and they are not opposed to voting Labour, hence our ability to win parliamentary seats in Barnet etc. in recent elections. Almost uniformly they voted for Boris in 2008 because you alienated them with the Finegold affair and inviting dodgy Islamist clerics to City Hall. It will be tough to win back trust but you can't hope to be Mayor if you don't reach out to such a large community - and you have to be Mayor for all Londoners.
  • It would be a good idea to try to build bridges with black cab drivers too! Another group of swing voters - who are word-of-mouth advocates - who were alienated pre-2008.
  • Drop the Hugo Chavez stuff. Voters can tolerate you believing in Latin American demagogues but not you spending time on courting them that could be spent sorting out policies on improving bus services in Bromley or neighbourhood policing in Harrow.

Look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail in Hackney Ken - but don't spend too much time here, get on the tube and train out to where the swing voters are.

Council by-election results

Last night's results:

Lobley Hill & Bensham Ward, Gateshead MBC. Lab hold. Lab 1120 (69.3%, +15.2) LD 298 (18.4%, -5) BNP 101 (6.3%, -0.7) Con 97 (6%, -6.5). Swing of 10.1% from LD to Lab since May this year.

Saltwell Ward, Gateshead MBC. Lab hold. Lab 793 (68.8%, +10.4), LD 196 (17.1%, -5.1), Con 86 (7.5%, -5.9), BNP 77 (6.7%, +0.7). Swing of 7.8% from LD to Lab since May this year. Congratulations to Denise Robson on becoming a councillor again - previously Denise was a councillor in Northfield Ward in Hackney.

Gosforth Valley Ward, NE Derbyshire DC. Con gain from LD. Con 416 (37.1%, +8), Lab 354 (31.6%, +13.3), Lib Dem 350 (31.3%, -21.2). Swing of 2.7% from Con to Lab since 2007.

Wellington Ward, Rushmoor BC. Con hold. Con 270 (35.8%, -6.8), LD 238 (31.5%, -3.8), Lab 185 (24.5%, +2.4), UKIP 50 (6.6%, +6.6), Ind 12 (1.6%, +1.6). Swing of 1.5% from Con to LD since May this year.

Eastfield Ward, Scarborough BC. Polling day is Friday.

Ipplepen Ward, Teignbridge DC. LD gain from Con. LD 756 (62.3%, +34.5), Con 458 (37.7%, -34.5). Swing of 34.5% from Con to LD since 2007.

Heathfield North and Central Ward, Wealden DC. Con hold. Con 802 (69.2%, -2.7) LD 357 (30.8%, +2.7). Swing of 2.7% from Con to LD since 2007.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The end game

Winner of the prize for leadership election hubris goes to Dan Hodges for this piece on Labour Uncut: http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2010/09/21/david-miliband-has-won-says-dan-hodges/ declaring the election result before the voting has finished.

I would be interested to know the electoral college maths by which Dan believes this outcome will have been achieved.

And interested about the number of votes David Miliband has lost through these kind of interventions both in the mass media, social media and verbally. I've lost count of the number of times I've been told David "has to win" because of seniority, status or alleged ideological purity and harangued for "breaking the line" (whose line?). I suspect many Labour members will like me have been rather offended to be told that what we thought was an open contest where we could judge a range of good candidates on their merits, was in fact a contest with a pre-determined anointed winner. Many people will kick against that kind of message.

A veteran CLP Secretary who I know was rung this week by the David Miliband campaign and when she said she was not voting for David was accused by the caller of "wanting Labour to stay in opposition". Maybe it was someone going off script, but whether scripted or not it's not good politics to be using an attack when calling the volunteers who keep local parties functioning which insults both other candidates and the democratic choices those very hard-working volunteers have made.

This sort of messaging has also squandered a political opportunity for the wider Party. Instead of saying "look, Labour is so strong and so united that we have four mainstream candidates who would all knock the socks off David Cameron and are all electable as PM", language has been used that has given ammo to Labour's opponents to attack anyone other than David if they get elected.

I don't actually blame David Miliband for this. I think he probably knows that Labour's electoral college and transferable voting system means he needed to reach out to people in the trade union section of the college, and to offer something to get transfers from supporters of the three lower ranked candidates. But some of the unofficial cheerleaders for his campaign, some of them incredibly senior, have behaved in a way which is crass, counterproductive, and has alienated people.

If he does win despite these antics, then he will need to reach out very fast to build bridges with the rest of the party.

My hunch though is that Dan is wrong because he hasn't done the maths. Labour's electoral system is rightly designed not to anoint the leader of the biggest gang in a multi-candidate election, or the preferred candidate of MPs alone. It is quite deliberately designed to foster party unity by rewarding candidates who can get second preference votes and build a majority, not just a plurality, and to require a broad base of support across all the party's stakeholders. The criticisms that there were of the electoral college when it was set up are now void because the union section has moved from one based on General Secretaries casting block votes to an OMOV ballot where the winner needs to have demonstrated they can win vast numbers of votes from ordinary members of the public who happen to be union members.

If anything will tell you who might be the most electable of the five in a General Election it will be whether they have demonstrated mass appeal in the section that is most like the wider electorate - the TU section.

Ed Miliband's campaign has shown more awareness of the nature of the electoral college, and of Labour's internal AV voting. David's team have been fighting an AV election as though it was First Past The Post. That would only have worked if he was Tony Blair and capable of winning 50% on the first round.

Unlike Dan I think the outcome is still in doubt, but the most likely one based on a rational analysis of the data that's been published and the politics of the campaign is that Ed Miliband will win by a margin of 2 to 4%.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Council by-election results

Last night's council by-election results:

Worksop South, Bassetlaw DC. Lab gain from Con. Lab 815 (52%, +5.3), Con 669 (42.7%, -10.6), LD 84 (5.4%, +5.4). Swing of 7.9% from Con to Lab since May this year.

East Chesterton Division, Cambs CC. LD hold. LD 832 (40.9%, +5.1), Lab 663 (32.6%, +17.6), Con 334 (16.4%, -8.4), Green 117 (5.7%, -9), Camb Socialists 53 (2.6%, +2.6), UKIP 37 (1.8%, -8). Swing of 6.3% from LD to Lab since 2009.

Stanwix Urban Ward, Carlisle CC. Con hold. Con 888 (57%, +3.6), Lab 488 (31.3%, -2.8), Green 96 (6.1%, -6.4), EngDem 85 (5.5%, +5.5). Swing of 3.2% from Lab to Con since May this year.

New River Ward, LB Hackney. Con hold. Con 1567 (57.2%, +23.6), Lab 1007 (36.8%, -0.7), Green 77 (2.8%, -10.4), LD 61 (2.2%, -13.5), Ind 26 (0.9%, +0.9). Swing of 12.2% from Lab to Con since May this year.

Cremorne Ward, RB Kensington & Chelsea. Con hold. Con 602 (41.2%, -9), Lab 583 (39.9%, +16.8), LD 180 (12.3%, -9.6), Green 51 (3.5%, +3.5), UKIP 46 (3.1%, -1.8). Swing of 12.9% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Earl's Court Ward, RB Kensington & Chelsea. LD gain from Con. LD 703 (44.8%, +24.8), Con 594 (37.8%, -6), Lab 151 (9.6%, -8.7), Ind 49 (3.1%, -2.5), Ind 29 (1.8%, +1.8), Green 26 (1.7%, -10.6), UKIP 18 (1.1%, +1.1). Swing of 15.4% from Con to LD since May this year.

Park Ward, Knowsley MBC. Lab hold. Lab 650 (86%, +6.1), LD 70 (9.3%, -10.8), Con 36 (4.8%, +4.8). Swing of 8.5% from LD to Lab since May this year.

Cadley Ward, Preston. LD hold. LD 721 (43.4%, -3.3), Lab 476 (28.6%, +8.4), Con 465 (28%, -5.1). Swing of 5.9% from LD to Lab since May this year.

Worksop West Division, Notts CC. Lab gain from Con. Lab 1457 (61.5%, +28.6), Con 755 (31.9%, -18.9), LD 88 (3.7%, -12.6), Ind 56 (2.4%, +2.4), Ind 13 (0.5%, +0.5). Swing of 23.8% from Con to Lab since 2009.

If the Hackney result looks a bit strange compared to the overall movement to Labour, let me explain, as I was Labour's Agent. New River is completely polarised between the mainly Labour-voting Woodberry Down Estate (near Manor House tube) and Tory voting Chassidic Jewish areas of Stamford Hill. On a General Election turnout of 60%, Labour can win - picking up 2 of 3 seats in the ward in May. On a local election turnout of 38% the Tories win - even though we were getting about 70% of the vote in 2 of the 4 polling districts. The Chassidic community are enthusiastic voters and a large percentage of the community vote by post. About 300 extra names had come on the register since May. Tory Councillor Simche Steinberger told me the high Chassidic turnout was a protest against Labour creating a Conservation Area to cover Cazenove Road (not in the ward but near it) - the Chassidic community fear that tighter planning constraints will stop them building residential extensions to house their often very large families. Congratulations to new Tory Councillor Benzion Papier, who told me he is a reader of this blog, and to Labour candidate Jonathan Burke, who fought a very vigorous campaign and increased our vote relative to the 2006 and 2004 results in the ward. Thank you to both Oona King and Ken Livingstone for bringing teams to campaign yesterday. I have no idea what happened to the LD and Green votes - they obviously read our "2 horse race" bar charts!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Council Control Update

Seems to be a volatile time in local government:

Labour has retaken control of Blackburn with Darwen Council from a coalition of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and For Darwen Party: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/8390789.Labour_back_in_control_of_Blackburn_with_Darwen/

And the Tory/LD coalition running Wolverhampton City Council has collapsed: http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2010/09/13/wolverhampton-city-council-chaos-as-coalition-fails/

And according to Ben Bradshaw MP on Twitter, Labour has today taken control of Exeter City Council after the Tories and LibDems failed to agree a renewed coalition following their loses in last week's by-elections.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Boundary Review

This is worth a read if you want some objective analysis of the proposed reduction and equalisation of constituency sizes: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/PVSCBill_analysis.html

To see the Electoral Reform Society's first stab at new boundaries take a look here: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/news.php?ex=0&nid=484 - this should bring it home to people the scale of the disruption involved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

YouGov's accuracy

Mike Smithson, Editor of politicalbetting.com has this to say about YouGov's accuracy in predicting party leadership contests:

"YouGov have a brilliant record with Tory leadership battles getting the result to within one point in both 2005 and 2001.

In 2007 the firm overstated Nick Clegg’s lead over Chris Huhne - but got the outcome right.

Also that year they were not too bad with the first choices of party members in the deputy race and that poll took place more than a month beforehand."

Sunday Times YouGov poll

For those of you not into going behind the Murdoch paywall, the Sunday Times has a YouGov poll of more than 1,000 Labour party members and 718 members of trade unions affiliated to the Labour party.

It has the following results after transfers:

Party Members
D Miliband 48%
E Miliband 52%

Trade Unions
D Miliband 43%
E Miliband 57%

MPs & MEPs
D Miliband 56%
E Miliband 44%

Overall Electoral College
D Miliband 49%
E Miliband 51%

To quote Henry G Manson, a regular and usually accurate commenter on politicalbetting.com:
"This poll doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Ed Miliband’s team are winning the ground war. Their telephone polling operation is superb. If anything this poll is likely to understate his lead a touch since my hunch is that his supporters will be more motivated to vote and more likely to be reminded to do so by the campaign."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The sickest person is the one at No11

I'm reading this - http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/11/george-osborne-slash-sickness-benefits - about George Osborne slashing benefits for people too disabled or ill to work and thinking about what this will mean for some of the people I was in hospital with last year.

I was lucky - my illness was serious but treatable and I am gradually getting more mobile, and I had a job that didn't require me to be able to walk in order to go back - a return that was made a lot faster by my employer making adaptions to the office and the "Access to Work" scheme helping we with transport.

But there were people on my ward with conditions like progressive MS who at some stage are going to be unable to work. I cannot believe, knowing the other strains and stresses and misery that people with conditions that stop them working have to endure, that any government is proposing making these people poorer. They did nothing to cause the economic crisis, and they should not have to contribute to solving it.

Rawls' "A Theory of Justice" basically states that you judge the fairness of a society on the basis of how it treats the least-advantaged members of it. On the basis of this proposed assault on the living standards of the disabled, the Coalition gets a remarkably low score. Mr Osborne might consider that far from being a "lifestyle choice" like some other forms of claiming benefit sometimes can be, being so sick or disabled you can't work is something the people involved have no control over. I've been there so I know what it feels like to suddenly be disabled. I was fortunate to have a treatable condition, but disability can hit any of us, and we need a welfare safety net - on the insurance principle as well as the justice one - that will enable us to have as good and meaningful a life as possible if we find ourselves unable to work.

The politics of unsubstantiated assertions

I wasn't planning to write anything more about the leadership election but I felt I had to respond to the "open letter" in support of David Miliband, signed by 105 former PPCs, rather a large number of whom are my friends or long-standing allies: http://www.labourlist.org/labour-ppcs-issue-letter-of-endorsement-for-david-miliband

Whoever drafted it is obviously not a proponent of evidence-based argument.

Because I couldn't find a single phrase in it that rose above the status of opinion or unsubstantiated assertion:

It starts with a statement that supporters of every single candidate could subscribe to:
"We recognise that historically following a General Election loss our party has languished in opposition for a number of years, unable to effect the changes our country needed. We therefore feel strongly that we must elect a leader who can buck this trend, reconnect Labour with voters and lead us to victory at the next election."

Yeah, of course, those of us poor deluded fools voting for any of the other candidates obviously don't want to "reconnect Labour with voters" and are keen on "languishing in opposition".

The next bit is reasonable too: "The Party has a choice between excellent candidates, all of whom have particular strengths."

But then we get into assertion territory:

"we believe that it is David Miliband who is best placed to stand against David Cameron as a credible alternative Prime Minister at the next General Election. It is David Miliband who can win for Labour the length and breadth of our country, who can lead our party’s fight back against the coalition and who can lead our campaign to return a Labour government. That is why we enthusiastically support David as our next Labour Leader."

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the "because" - the evidence to support these beliefs, but there isn't one. It's blind faith. It's entirely subjective. There is no mention of any reason why they believe these things. There isn't even any anecdotal reference to their experience as PPCs.

I could rewrite the paragraph substituting the word "Ed" for "David" and it would be just as valid/invalid as their text. In fact I will, because it's what I believe and it makes me feel better to write it:

"I believe that it is Ed Miliband who is best placed to stand against David Cameron as a credible alternative Prime Minister at the next General Election. It is Ed Miliband who can win for Labour the length and breadth of our country, who can lead our party’s fight back against the coalition and who can lead our campaign to return a Labour government. That is why I enthusiastically support Ed as our next Labour Leader."

The difference is that in earlier posts rather than just indulge in cheer leading I've tried to make a political case for Ed - to argue what it is about him and his politics that will appeal more to voters, and represents a better vision for the kind of society and economy I want to see.

If I was going to be cruel I would suggest that the reason for the lack of evidence and argument, and the resorting to rhetoric and assertion is that there isn't hard evidence David would be more voter-friendly than Ed, and the political arguments for him depend on a belief in further triangulation and radical public sector reform which are deeply unpopular with Labour and trade union members and of dubious popularity with the wider electorate. They are trying to win despite their candidate's politics, not because of them.

Constantly saying "our guy is more electable" may create a self-fulfilling prophesy but equally it begs the question "really, have you got any evidence to support that or did you just make it up"?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Diamond thinking

I started to read this article by Patrick Diamond and Michael Kenny - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/09/labour-leader-social-democracy - thinking I would hate it because the Guardian's news piece about it (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/sep/09/labour-party-urged-abandon-tribalism) had badged it up as attack on tribalism, and well... I'm a kinda tribal Labour tribally tribalist person - or rather I see no contradiction between tribalism (wanting to maximise Labour's vote and power) and pluralism (accepting when we don't have majority support and being prepared to work with other progressives to construct a majority).

But I was pleasantly surprised when I actually read it as most of it actually make a lot of sense ... though bits of it don't.

Have a read. I thought the bits about the "centrality of the democratic state to Labour politics" and "returning to the case for a far wider diffusion of property and asset ownership in Britain" were excellent, though I baulked at the conclusion of the third strand that "Many more collectively owned assets and institutions – parks, libraries and leisure centres – should be run by the communities they serve" - they already are run by communities - that's what elected local councils are -and a better third strand would be to outflank the Tories on localism by giving real extra power to councillors, thereby reinvigorating grassroots democratic structures, and giving new purpose and power to local political parties.

Overall though it's the best thinking I've seen during the course of the leadership contest, and the beauty of it is that the ideas are ones that could easily be run with by whichever candidate wins.

Council by-election results

Yesterday was Super Thursday with by-elections for 1/3 of the seats in both Exeter and Norwich caused by the Government overturning a previous Labour decision to turn both cities into unitary councils, which had meant the members elected in 2006 didn't face re-election in May.

Both sets of results were excellent for Labour, indicating a Labour revival in the south:

Exeter - (http://www.exeter.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=12429) - Lab hold 4, gain 3 (1 regain from defection, 2 from Con), Con hold 2, lose2 and gain 2 (1 each from LD and Liberal), LD lose 1 and hold 2. New council: Lab 15, LD 11, Con 11, Liberal 3

Norwich - (http://www.norwich.gov.uk/site_files/pages/City_Council__Councillors_democracy_and_elections__Local_election_results_September_2010.html)
Lab hold 6, gain 1 from Con. Con lose 1. LD lose 1 to Green, hold 1. Green gain 1 from LD, hold 4.
New council: Lab 16, Green 14, LD 5, Con 4.

Elsewhere in the country there were the following by-elections:

Aspatria and Wharrells Division, Cumbria CC. Con hold. Con 823 (70.6%, +13.8), Green 342 (29.4%, +29.4). Swing of 7.8% from Con to Green since 2009.

Liberton & Gilmerton Ward, Edinburgh CC. Lab hold. Lab 2974 (44.8%, +9.3), SNP 1382 (20.8%, -5.8), Con 1020 (15.4%, +0.7), LD 722 (10.9%, -3.7), Green 201 (3%, -0.6), SSP 169 (2.5%, +0.9), Ind 128 (1.9%, -0.6), Pirate 43 (0.6%, +0.6). Swing of 7.6% from SNP to Lab since 2007.

Kilnhouse Ward, Fylde BC. LD gain from Con. LD 529 (44.8%, +21.9), Con 459 (38.8%, +2.7), Lab 165 (14.0%, +2.2), Green 29 (2.5%, +2.5). Swing of 9.6% from Con to LD since 2007.

Ayresome Ward, Middlesbrough UA. Ind gain from Lab. Ind 456 (48.4%, +6.1) Lab 414 (43.9%, +1.3) Con 73 (7.7%, -7.4). Swing of 2.4% from Lab to Ind since 2007.

Newtown Ward, Poole UA. LD hold. LD 809(48.3%, -7.8) Con 481 (28.7%, -3.2), Lab 205 (12.2%, +0.3) UKIP 114 (6.8%, +6.8), BNP 66 (3.9%, +3.9). Swing of 2.3% from Con to LD since 2007.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Top 100 Labour Blogs

This site has been voted #7 in the top 100 Labour blogs:


(and in the same poll #1 councillor blog in the UK but I feel that's a bit undeserved as I don't post much about my role as a councillor).

Friday, September 03, 2010

Ed M in his own words

I know that many of my regular readers are hesitant about voting for Ed Miliband because of the media narrative that he is somehow a left candidate with a core vote strategy.

My take is he doesn't fit neatly into either left or right of the Party - he's fundamentally a modernising and change candidate.

If you are on the right of the Party and haven't voted yet you should read these things that he said in a speech last week:

"It’s not a choice between Old Labour or New Labour
A core vote or middle England.
The question for us in this contest is: can we have the courage to recognise the scale of the change needed after one defeat, not after four as we had to do after 1992.I believe that we must choose change.
Ideologically, because I believe we lost our way and got trapped in old ways of thinking.
Electorally, because the electoral map has changed."

"New Labour: right for its time – but it was formed sixteen years ago and now we need to move on."

"In 1994, Tony Blair told our party that our values were still the right values but that we got stuck in outdated ideas. He was right then.And some of the truths of that time we must retain: we still need to speak to all sections of society, we still need to create wealth as well as distribute it, we still need to ally social justice and economic success."

"New Labour: right to embrace markets, but the ghosts of the 1980s meant we couldn’t recognise their limits."

"The challenge for 1990s Labour under Tony Blair was to attract back middle-income voters, particularly those who had gone to the Tories. The challenge for us now is bigger:to attract back both middle-income voters and low-income voters."

"There are no false choices to be made here between appealing to one part of the electorate or the other.The choice is whether we recognise that it is all parts of the electorate that we need to win back, not just one."

"I disagree with those in my party who argue for renationalisation of the utilities or the abolition of Labour’s academy schools. If elected, I will lead this party, I will tell it hard truths and I will change this party.But it’s not naive, it’s rational to say that on agency workers, on housing, on tuition fees our members got it right and we got it wrong."

"We do need to reduce the deficit but politics must be bigger than that.Remember our history. After 1945, with the biggest deficit in our history, that Labour government set out the vision of a good society---for a new welfare state and a new economy."

"Thirty years ago next year, tragically the Labour party split and the Limehouse Declaration set up the Council on social Democracy which led to the SDP."

"I believe there is a progressive majority in Britain and I want Labour to be its home.Some will join Labour, some will want to work with us to stop the damage this coalition is doing. But in order to win people back, in order to be the natural home of the progressive majority, my party must take a journey too, understanding why people did not vote for us and voted for others instead."

"My leadership will is not the soft option. We will not always agree. I’m not the candidate for an easy life."

Council by-election results

Yesterday's results:

Skelmersdale South, West Lancs DC. Lab hold. Lab 644 (73.9%, +0.6), Con 122 (14%, -4.2), UKIP 105 (12.1%, +12.1). Swing of 2.4% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Up Holland Ward, West Lancs DC. Lab hold. Lab 749 (51.5%, -6.6), Con 587 (40.4%, -1.5), UKIP 118 (8.1%, +8.1). Swing of 2.6% from Lab to Con since May this year.

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