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, February 29, 2012

Progress Column

My Progress column this week responds to Len McCluskey's Guardian interview:


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Labourlist Column

My Labourlist column this week is about the rising cost of childcare:


Saturday, February 25, 2012

NEC CLP Visits

On Twitter Scott Eastwood from North Norfolk CLP asked:

Can lab clp#nec members tell me how many clps they've visited. Tbh I haven't heard of any other clp nec mmbs apart from @JohannaBaxter

This is an important question so I thought it deserved a full answer of more than 140 characters.

I am very proud to say I have visited 18 CLPs to date to give reports (Barking, Dover, Hackney North, Hackney South, Hammersmith, Hertford & Stortford, Hornsey & Wood Green, Ilford North, Ilford South, Pudsey, New Forest West, Reigate, Sittingbourne & Sheppey, Thanet South, Tottenham, Twickenham, West Bromwich East and Windsor), plus 4 other bodies that are not CLPs (West Hampstead BLP, Barnet & Enfield JLM, Kent County Party Education Working Group, Leicester Progress event).

I have visits scheduled to Battersea, Leeds NE, Norwich, Crewe and Congleton. I would welcome further requests to do visits.

I try to use every possible online channel (my own blog, weekly columns for Labourlist and Progress, Twitter, Facebook and regular email reports) to communicate with members, including those who do not attend meetings, and to inform as many people as possible about how I am representing them on the NEC, and what the politics are that I fight for.

This is in addition to my core duties as an NEC member:

Attendance at Annual Conference (5 days)
6 daytime Full NEC meetings a year
6 daytime Organisation Committee + Disputes Panel meetings a year
NEC standing Panel on Birmingham Local Government Selections (daytime visits to Birmingham)
Democracy & Diversity Fund Panel
Education & Skills Policy Commission  (6 meetings a year)
SEN Policy Working Group
Refounding Labour Implementation Working Group
Full National Policy Forum meetings

Given that I am a councillor (including chairing a committee), a very active officer of my own CLP (including being volunteer Agent for this May’s elections), have a very young family who I want to spend time with (a six year old and a two month old baby), a demanding day job, and a disability, this is pushing at the limits of what I can physically do.

I take my hat off to Johanna for the amazing number of visits she has achieved and the way in which this has promoted the NEC’s work round the country.

Between the six incumbents I think we are the most outward-facing and active set of NEC CLP reps there has been.

However, given that it is a volunteer role that people do in their spare time, and the Party cannot cover any expenses incurred in visits, we have to be very careful not to deter ordinary lay members from standing for the NEC by creating an unrealistic expectation about the amount of travel people will be able to do. We need an NEC where it is possible to be a member if you have a demanding job, or are not well-off, or have young kids or other caring responsibilities.

This isn’t a whinge. It’s a fantastic honour to be one of only six representatives of ordinary members on the NEC. I love the role, and particularly enjoy visiting CLPs to meet and campaign with members.

We are only 15 years from the creation of a real CLP section reserved for lay activists by the Partnership in Power changes.

Before this almost every member of the NEC was a full-time politician – either an MP or a union full-time official. We need to take a serious look at our expectations of lay NEC reps and the support given to them to fulfil what is an increasingly active role.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Progress column

My Progress column this week is a response to Jack Straw's call for abolition of the European Parliament:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Labourlist Column

My Labourlist column this week is about the implementation of the Refounding Labour proposals:


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Council by-elections

Belatedly, Thursday's council by-elections:

Itchingfield, Slinfold & Warnham Ward, Horsham DC. Con hold. Con 557 (47.4%, -4.4), LD 320 (27.2%, +4.6), UKIP 173 (14.7%, +3.7), Green 65 (5.5%, -9.1), Lab 60 (5.1%, +5.1). Swing of 4.5% from Con to LD since 2011.

Ibstock & Heather Ward, NW Leics DC. Lab hold. Lab 480 (34.5%, +4.5), LD 372 (26.7%, +12.5), Con 357 (25.6%, -13.3), Ind 125 (9%,  -7.8), Green 32 (2.3%, +2.3), UKIP 26 (1.9%, +1.9). Swing of 4% from Lab to LD since 2011.

Oadby Woodlands Ward, Oadby & Wigston DC. Con gain from LD. Con 454 (47%, +4.9), LD 360 (37.3%, -20.6), UKIP 151 (15.6%, +15.6). Swing of 12.8% from LD to Con since 2011.

Worcester Park Ward, LB Sutton. LD hold. LD 1367 (47.2%, +2.8), Con 977 (33.7%, -3.7), Lab 315 (10.9%, +1.4), UKIP 190 (6.7%, -2), Green 46 (1.6%, +1.6). Swing of 3.3% from Con to LD since 2010.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Progress Column

I'm not impressed that Neal Lawson isn't impressed by our record in government:


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Labourlist column

My Labourlist column this week is about what we can all do to stop the Health & Social Care Bill:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Council By-elections

A bumper crop of by-elections last night, with some dramatic results:

Winchester Southern Parishes Division, Hampshire CC. Con hold. Con 1661 (53.8%, -3.9), LD 1038 (33.6%, +6.5), UKIP 133 (4.3%, -7.9), Green 130 (4.2%, +4.2), Lab 124 (4%, +0.9). Swing of 5.2% from Con to LD since 2009.

Towcester Division, Northamptonshire CC. LD gain from Con. LD 1274 (60.6%, +32.5%), Con 638 (30.4%, -30.6), UKIP 124 (5.9%, +5.9), BNP 66 (3.1%, +3.1). Swing of 31.6% from Con to LD since 2009.

Windermere Town Ward, South Lakeland DC. LD hold.  LD 418 (72.9%, +3), Con 85 (14.8%, -0.4), Lab 50 (8.7%, -6.1), UKIP 20 (3.5%, +3.5). Swing of 1.7% from Con to LD since 2011. This is in Tim Farron's constituency.

Towcester Brook Ward, South Northants DC. LD gain from Con. LD 774 (59.4%, +15.5), Con 401 (30.8%, -11.7), UKIP 129 (9.9%, -3.7). Swing of 13.6% from Con to LD since 2011.

Leek South Division, Staffordshire CC. Con gain from UKIP. Con 725 (27.3%, -0.8), UKIP 556 (20.9%, -15.7), Lab 432 (16.2%, +6.4), LD 419 (15.8%, -3), Moorlands Democratic Alliance 336 (12.6%, +12.6), Ind 192 (7.2%, +7.2). Swing of 7.5% from UKIP to Con since 2009.

Leek North Ward, Staffordshire Moorlands DC. Lab gain from UKIP. Lab 514 (54.9%, +22.9), UKIP 188 (20.1%, -13.7), Con 178 (19%, -1.6), Moorlands Democratic Alliance 33 (3.5%, +3.5), LD 24 (2.6%, +2.6). Swing of 18.3% from UKIP to Lab since 2011. The winner here was Charlotte Atkins, former MP for Staffs Moorlands.

Kesgrave & Rushmere St Andrews Division, Suffolk CC. Con hold. Con 1302 (49.7%, -7.5), Lab 804 (30.7%, +16.7), LD 514 (19.6%, -9.3). Swing of 12.1% from Con to Lab since 2009.

Kesgrave East Ward, Suffolk Coastal DC. Con hold. Con 531 (55%, +11.3), Lab 241 (24.9%, +3), LD 194 (20.1%, +2.6). Swing of 4.2% from Lab to Con since 2011.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Progress Column

This week I look at the league tables of Labour leaders: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2012/02/08/labours-most-successful-leaders/

Monday, February 06, 2012

Labourlist column

My Labourlist column this week responds to David Miliband's article last week: http://labourlist.org/2012/02/david-miliband-risks-dividing-moderate-opinion-in-the-party/

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Council by-election

Only one tonight:

Madeley Ward, Newcastle-under-Lyme BC. LD gain from Lab. LD 617 (47.7%, +21.7), Lab 342 (26.4%, -7.9), Con 294 (22.7%, -8.9), UKIP 41 (3.2%, -4.8). Swing of 14.8% from Lab to LD since 2011.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Progress Column

My Progress column this week is about the unravelling of Cameron's EU veto:


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