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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Labour's task

This is a useful summary of the challenge facing Labour as Ed heads towards his second year as Leader:


Friday, August 26, 2011

Council by-elections

Two tonight:

Shirebrook SW Ward, Bolsover DC. Lab gain from Ind. Lab 200 (47.8%, +15.6), Green 103 (24.6%, +24.6), Con 72 (17.2%, +11.1), BNP 43 (10.3%. +0.7). Swing of 4.5% from Lab to Green since May this year.

Saltcoats and Stevenson Ward, North Ayrshire UA. Lab hold. First preference votes: Lab 1914 (48.7%, +13.9), SNP 1306 (33.2%, +1.2), Con 284 (7.2%, -0.4), All Scotland Pensioners Party 211 (5.4%, +5.4), Ind 114 (2.9%, -22.5), LD 56 (1.4%, +1.4), Soc Lab 43 (1.1%, +1.1). Swing of 6.4% from SNP to Lab since 2007.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Council by-elections

Just two tonight:

City Centre Ward, Edinburgh CC. SNP hold. 1st preference votes: Con 837 (24.2%, +4), SNP 797 (23.1%, +2.7), Lab 682 (19.7%, +1.7), Green 494 (14.3%, -2.7), Ind 394 (11.4%, +9.8), LD 251 (7.3%, -12.6). After transfers: SNP 1368, Con 1264. Swing of 0.7% from SNP to Con since 2007.

Page Moss Ward, Knowsley MBC. Lab hold. Lab 541 (82.5%, -10.6), LD 57 (8.7%, +1.8), Ind 22 (3.4%, +3.4), Green 21 (3.2%, +3.2), Con 15 (2.3%, +2.3). Swing of 6.2% from Lab to LD since May this year.

Refounding Labour

There was a little outburst of August hysteria yesterday with accusations flying about on Labourlist (http://www.labourlist.org/what-on-earth-is-going-on-with-refounding-labour ) about the non-publication of submissions to the Refounding Labour consultation on Party structures.

This all came as news to me as a member of Labour's NEC - I hadn't known there was a timetable to publish the submissions yesterday so the first I heard about it was the allegation that it was being delayed.

My summer advice to Labourlist would be to chill out a bit.

There are a lot of political issues in the UK today worth getting excited about. The timing of the publication of reams of technical submissions to an internal review of Party structures is not one of them.

Ed Miliband made a public commitment to publishing the submissions. He is going to stick to that.

But this is actually quite a mammoth logistical exercise.

The people who sent in submissions have to be notified that these will be made public and the submissions, which run to thousands of pages in total, have to be put into a format suitable for being posted online.

Anyone who is desperate for their submission to be public in a hurry only has to post it online themselves or send it to Labourlist.

And the timing of publication relative to publication of the NEC's recommendations is highly politically sensitive.

As NEC members we are only part of the way through the process of agreeing recommendations to go before Conference (there are two more formal meetings - an Organisation Committee and a full NEC meeting where this will be discussed) and there ongoing informal discussions with stakeholders to try to reach a consensus on some of the key issues.

I would be unhappy if the politics of those discussions was jeopardised by a rushed putting of the views of some stakeholders in the public domain during these discussions.

It's the end product which is important here - getting a set of proposals that improve Labour's policy-making, internal democracy and campaigning, and that have broad buy-in across the Party. Getting there may be a messy process if previous Labour history is anything to go by and having the whole of that process conducted publicly might not be in the Party's interests - if we do manage to get a consensus hammered out that sails through conference, why would we want the media and our political opponents to have access to initial submissions from months ago that they can analyse and quote from to highlight differences of opinion which may get reconciled during the run-up to Conference?

Thus far, aside from a couple of mischievous articles the Refounding Labour process has been conducted without grandstanding or public bickering. People have strong views about the issues but are not rushing to broadcast their differences but rather trying to find a consensus way forward. I think that's rather better than the highly public infighting that accompanied every previous review of Labour's structures.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Labourlist column

My Labourlist column this week looks at the riots:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

After the riots in Hackney

A quick crosspost of some info from my council ward neighbours in Hackney Central Ward (http://hackneycentrallabour.blogspot.com/). Clarence Road where the worst violence happened in Hackney this week forms the boundary between the ward I represent (Chatham Ward) and Hackney Central Ward.

Siva Kandiah - helping him rebuild his business

Kandiah is one of the local businessmen who was most affected by the rioting and looting on Monday evening on Clarence Road.

His shop was broken into, looted and - to put it bluntly - trashed. He lost £10,000 in stock and has been left with virtually nothing.

Hackney Council is helping Mr Kandiah to rebuild and his determination to get back on his feet is a testament to the spirit of London in light of the riots.

To help Mr Kandiah rebuild his shop and life, colleagues and others such as HCVS have helped set up an online fund to help.

Please go to http://www.hcvs.org.uk/

Ways to donate:
Online - donate here: http://www.hcvs.org.uk/en/pages/rebuild_clarenceroadshop.aspx
By Mobile text : Text HCVS01 followed by the amount you want to donate to 70070 for e.g. HCVS01 £10 to 70070 to donate £10. Texts are charged at your mobile phone operator's standard rate. The charity will receive 100% of your donation. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information, please visit www.justgiving.com/info/terms-of-service.
By Cheque: Please complete the form and make cheques payable to 'HCVS' and their postal address.
By Cash: at HCVS offices.

IMPORTANT NOTE: there are a number of Paypal and other online appeals for Mr Kandiah. Please note that this is the official fund - http://www.hcvs.org.uk/en/pages/rebuild_clarenceroadshop.aspx - please don't risk your money going astray by providing money to another source.

Tea on Clarence Road - Monday

St John's, Hackney (the church which is both closest to the Hackney troubles as well as where some of the disturbances broke out in its graveyard) is organising an afternoon tea on Clarence Road on Monday 15 August at 5pm.

The tea party is to coincide with exactly a week after the trouble broke out and is a community response to take back the street.

The event is being sponsored by Hackney Marks & Spencer, Hackney Council and other local businesses.

The event set-up is from 4:30pm in the church - please do come along!

Council by-elections

I'm going to write in the next few days about the riots.

In the meantime here's a more mundance matter - a catch-up on council by-elections in recent weeks:

26 July (an unusual Tuesday by-election)

Snatchwood Ward, Torfaen UA. Lab gain from Ind. Lab 239 (47.9%, +4.8), Ind 161 (32.3%, -24.6), Ind 41 (8.2%, +8.2), Ind 37 (7.4%, +7.4), PC 12 (2.4%, +2.4), Con 9 (1.8%, +1.8). Swing of 14.7% from Ind to Lab since 2008.

28 July

Beardwood with Lammack Ward, Blackburn with Darwen BC. Con hold. Con 1097 (63.8%, +3.5), Lab 572 (33.2%, nc), LD 51 (3.0%, -3.4). Swing of 1.8% from Lab to Con since May this year.

Bush Hill Park Ward, LB Enfield. Con hold. Con 1108 (44.5%, +6.1), Lab 668 (26.8%, +2), Ind 230 (9.2%, +9.2), LD 177 (7.1%, -12.3), Green 100 (4.0%, -6.5), UKIP 70 (2.8%, -4.1), BNP 61 (2.5%, +2.5), Christian 45 (1.8%< +1.8), ED 29 (1.2%, +1.2). Swing of 2.1% from Lab to Con since 2010.

Stanmore Park Ward, LB Harrow. Con hold. Con 1395 (58.1%, -0.4), Lab 509 (21.2%, +0.7), Ind 299 (12.4%, +12.4), LD 98 (4.1%, -9.4), Green 53 (2.2%, -5.4), UKIP 48 (2%, +2). Swing of 0.6% from Con to Lab since 2010.

Poulton North Ward, Warrington BC. LD hold. LD 1106 (48.3%, +9.1), Lab 895 (39.1%, -7.8), Con 190 (8.3%, -5.6), UKIP 97 (4.2%, +4.2). Swing of 8.5% from Lab to LD since May this year.

4 August

South Petherton Division, Somerset CC. LD gain from Con. LD 1333 (53.6%, +13.3), Con 943 (37.9%, -5.4), Green 108 (4.3%, -2.9), UKIP 104 (4.2%, +4.2). Swing of 9.4% from Con to LD since 2009.

11 August

St Peters Ward, LB Islington. Lab hold. Lab 1167 (52.5%, +14.1), LD 440 (19.8%, -7.8), Con 381 (17.1%, -8.9), Green 176 (7.9%, -0.1), Ind 59 (2.7%, +2.7). Swing of 11% from LD to Lab since 2010.

Fremington Ward, North Devon DC. Ind hold. Ind 501 (42.1%, -27), Con 398 (33.5%, +11.6), Ind 196 (16.5%, +16.5), Green 94 (7.9%, +7.9). Swing of 19.3% from Ind to Con since May this year.

Eton & Castle Ward, Windsor & Maidenhead UA. LD gain from Con. LD 208 (47.4%, +19.6) Con 182 (41.5%, -23.7) Lab 32 (7.3%, +0.3), UKIP 17 (3.9%, +3.9). Swing of 21.7% from Con to LD since May this year.

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