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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Council By-elections

6 by-elections last night, all showing an anti-Tory swing:

Ravenhurst & Fosse Ward, Blaby DC. Lab hold. Lab 1083 (68.4%, +7.8)
Con 501 (31.6%, -7.8). Swing of 7.8% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Sileby Ward, Charnwood DC. Con hold. Con 703 (55.1%, -10.3), Lab 450 (35.3%, +0.8), BNP 93 (7.3%, +7.3), LD 29 (2.3%, +2.3). Swing of 5.6% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Patching Hall Ward, Chelmsford City Council. LD hold. LD 842 (42.4%, +3.9),
Con 488 (24.6%, -7), Lab 309 (15.6%, -1.9), UKIP 263 (13.2%, +13.2), Green 84 (4.2%, -4.1). Swing of 5.5% from Con to LD since 2011.

Chelmsford North Division, Essex CC. LD hold. LD 1614 (42.1%, -4.6), Con 941 (24.5%, -7.5), Lab 711 (18.5%, +10.7), UKIP 435 (11.3%, +11.3), Green 134 (3.5%,-3.8). Swing of 1.5% from Con to LD since 2009.

Brompton Ward, RB Kensington & Chelsea. Con hold. Con 650 (70.3%, -9.3),
Lab 103 (11.1%, +0.1), LD 101 (10.9%, +1.5), UKIP 71 (7.7%, +7.7). Swing of 4.6% from Con to Lab since 2011 by-election.

Grange Park Ward, South Northamptonshire DC. Con hold. Con 313 (76.2%, +1.1), LD 98 (23.8%, +23.8). Swing of 11.4% from Con to LD since 2011.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Labourlist column

My labourlist column today is about Labour's lost 5 million voters:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Council by-elections

There were eight council by-elections last night, with a spectacular Labour gain in County Durham and good increases in our vote in two contests in Hertfordshire:

Harraby Ward, Carlisle City Council. Lab hold. Lab 637 (63.1%, -0.5), Con 180 (17.8%, -2), UKIP 90 (8.9%, +0.3), LD 71 (7%, +3), Green 31 (3.1%, -0.9). Swing of 0.8% from Con to Lab since this May.

Woodhall Farm Ward, Dacorum DC. Con hold. Con 566 (49%, -16.3), Lab 406 (35.1%, +10.3), LD 70 (6.1%, -3.8), Eng Dem 47 (4.1%, +4.1), UKIP 43 (3.7%, +3.7), Green 24 (2.1%, +2.1). Swing of 13.3% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Norton Ward, Dudley MBC. Con hold. Con 1375 (51.2%, +3.1), Lab 633 (23.6%, -0.9), LD 259 (9.6%, +2.3), UKIP 229 (8.5%, -5), Green 143 (5.3%, -1.3), NF 47 (1.8%, +1.8). Swing of 2% from Lab to Con since this May.

Peterlee West Division, Durham CC. Lab gain from LD. Lab 767 (70.1%, +26.7), Ind 181 (16.5%, +16.5), LD 99 (9%, -47.6), Con 47 (4.3%, +4.3). Swing of 5.1% from Ind to Lab since 2008.

Esher Ward, Elmbridge DC. Con hold. Con 711 (47.5%, -5.8), Res Assoc 665 (44.4%, +2.8), Lab 91 (6.1%, +0.9), UKIP 30 (2%, +2). Swing of 4.3% from Con to RA since 2011.

Hemel Hempstead Town Division, Hertfordshire CC. Con hold. Con 1413 (47.8%, -3), Lab 693 (23.5%, +8.8), LD 456 (15.4%, -5.8), Green 180 (6.1%, -7.1), UKIP 151 (5.1%), Ind 61 (2.1%). Swing of 5.9% from Con to Lab since 2009.

Earith Ward, Huntingdonshire DC. Con 524 (43.6%, -18.1), UKIP 437 (36.3%, +26.8), Lab 96 (8%, -6.7), LD 92 (7.6%, -6.5), Loony Party 54 (4.5%, +4.5). Swing of 22.5% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Tavistock North Ward, West Devon BC. Result to follow.

I missed last week’s results so for the sake of completeness they are here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-slump-at-tunbridge-wells-byelection-7854407.html

Swings (not calculated in the Indie article) were:
East Northants – not calculable as previously uncontested
Gwynedd - not calculable as previously uncontested
Kent – 6.7% from Con to LD since 2009 (caused by the Tories losing votes to UKIP)
Oldham – 1.1% from LD to Lab since this May
South Bucks – 17.6% from Con to UKIP since 2011
Wealden – 8.2% from Lab to Con since 2011 (a slightly misleading figure as Labour’s vote went up and we moved into second place)

Noteworthy that in the last two weeks there have been big increases for UKIP in three contests in previously safe Tory areas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NEC game over for me but not for my politics

After six months of intensive campaigning we finally have the results of the Labour Party NEC and NPF elections.

I have lost my seat on the NEC by almost as narrow a margin as I won in 2010 - with 17,475 votes I came 8th, but just 246 behind the winner of the final 6th place slot.

Obviously I am sad to lose as I have loved being on the NEC - it gave me the opportunity to contribute at the highest level on the issues where I have most expertise, developing party organisation and election campaigning, and to travel the country listening to and hopefully giving heart to our fantastic members.

I am proud of my record on the NEC, from how I got elected to it in the slipstream of supporting Ed Miliband as a reforming leader who stood the best chance of any of the candidates of keeping Labour united, through ensuring Refounding Labour introduced changes such as decent funding for small CLPs so they can actually resource campaigning, backing All Women Shortlists in seats where this was in dispute like Redcar and Bristol South, fighting alongside Dennis Skinner at Organisation Committee to ensure we ran a Labour candidate in every Police Commissioner election, working with Ann Black to ensure democratic council selections in Birmingham, defending Ed Balls and Ed Miliband's economic strategy when it came under attack, and voting for Iain McNicol to be a transforming new General Secretary.

I have acted at every point for members and their interests and I have done everything I could to report both in writing and in person to members so they could hold me accountable.

I've not compromised on my politics because there is no point holding political office if it is not to champion the causes you believe in.

I always knew this would be a tight election with any benefits of incumbency undermined by the drop in turnout with this not being held alongside the leadership election as in 2010. What I didn't spot was that there would be a particular drop off in London turnout because the 2010 contest also coincided with the Mayoral selection. Those who live by the sword die by the sword so it looks like I lost because of a reversion to normal regional turnout patterns removed the London-bias that caused an NEC CLP section grossly tilted towards the capital in 2010, which I benefited from.

If you are going to lose though you could not lose to a better, more decent, more deserving person to be on the NEC than Peter Wheeler.

Peter has been a friend, mentor, ally and comrade of mine in the party and our trade union for many years. I did not want to win at his expense in 2010 and he will not have wanted to win at my expense this year, but such is the messiness of life in a 6 seat election.

The net impact on the politics of the NEC is nil because the candidate with the politics closest to mine (not identical I should say in Peter's defence!) has replaced me.

If you want a detailed analysis, one of the organisers of the left slate, Jon Lansman, has provided it here: http://www.leftfutures.org/2012/06/labour-executive-elections-left-47-right-33-ind-20/#more-10125 According to Jon my vote went up from 5.2% to 6.2% of the total.

In passing I want to comment on one factor - the portrayal of recent rows over Progress as a fight between the unions and the moderates in the Party makes no sense at all.

Arguably the Labour First and Progress backed slate I ran on has better union credentials than our left opponents: Peter was the Amicus National Political Officer, Ellie is a trade union lawyer, she and I served together on the Amicus London Regional Political Committee, I've been an Amicus sponsored Parliamentary Candidate, Joanne has also been active in Unite, Ruth worked in the AEEU Research Department.

I say this not to pretend there is not a row going on but to stress that there was  no one I was aware of running for the NEC from any slate or none who was not committed to trade unionism and the union link with Labour.

Jon Lansman has also analysed the National Policy Forum results: http://www.leftfutures.org/2012/06/labours-national-policy-forum-slight-shift-to-left/

Put basically there was a lot of regional  churn, the net result of which was to leave the left with  a net 1 extra seat out of 48 (and no change at all if you just count the CLP members not the extra seats for councillors). Moderates won 29 of the 48 seats up for grabs, and independents another 5.

As with the NEC, most of the people Jon labels as "right" have impeccable CVs as trade union activists, again undermining the unions vs moderates narrative.

So there has been no lurch to the left.

I lost - by a sliver to a friend who shares my politics - and nothing else changed.

There is no insurrection. No battle for the Party's soul.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have a mandate from the members to stick to the path they have set, moving on from the politics of the past but demonstrating the economic responsibility needed to convince voters we are worthy of power.

Well done to all the winners. I hope you will enjoy your time in office as much as I have. I know that whatever label you won under we all put the Party and its members first when we take decisions as office-holders. I know that from serving with people on the NEC who I disagree with on many policies but learnt were people of the greatest integrity and wise decision-makers.

I have to serve as a "lame duck" on the NEC until Annual Conference ends on 4th October. After completing my work I will go back to what I always have been - a local grassroots campaigner for Labour with a lot of strong views I am not afraid to advocate for.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Labourlist Column

My Labourlist column is about the GMB passing a resolution against Progress: http://labourlist.org/2012/06/progress-and-the-gmb-should-be-looking-for-ways-to-work-together/

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Labour Party Policy Consultation - Have your say

Six policy consultation documents drafted by the Policy Commissions and agreed by the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) were distributed to CLPs, stakeholders and affiliates after the 3 May elections. The documents can be viewed or downloaded online at www.labour.org.uk/have-your-say.

The Labour Party is hoping that as many CLPs and stakeholders as possible will make submissions by Monday 12 June - submissions made by this date will be fed in to the National Policy Forum meeting on 16/17 June meeting in Birmingham. CLPs and stakeholders can still make submissions after this date, and those received by the end of June will reach policy commissions as they make amendments to the six policy documents before they go forward to Annual Conference.

Submissions from CLPs, individual party members, or other stakeholders can be uploaded on the consultation page on the party website here: www.labour.org.uk/have-your-say. Alternatively they can be sent by email to the appropriate policy commission's inbox:

Britain in the World: PiP.britainintheworld@labour.org.uk
Crime, Justice, Citizenship and Equalities: PiP.crimejustice@labour.org.uk
Education and Skills: PiP.education@labour.org.uk
Health: PiP.health@labour.org.uk
Prosperity and Work: PiP.prosperity@labour.org.uk
Sustainable Communities: PiP.communities@labour.org.uk

Friday, June 01, 2012

By-election results

Some spectacular by-election results for Labour last night including a gain in a safe Tory ward in Barnet, and a near miss in Bournemouth:

Brunswick Park Ward, LB Barnet. Lab gain from Con. Lab 1769 (51.1%, +23.9), Con 1598 (46.1%, -1.6), LD 97 (2.8%, -14.8). Swing of 12.8% from Con to Lab since 2010.

Redhill & Northbourne Ward, Bournemouth Council. Con hold. Con 675 (26.7%, -5.7), Lab 539 (21.3%, +8.5), LD 424 (16.8%, -14.6), Ind 398 (15.8%, -8.6), UKIP 327 (13%, +13), Green 54 (2.1%, +2.1), Ind 51 (2%, +2), BNP 42 (1.7%, +1.7), Ind 15 (0.6%, +0.6). Swing of 7.1% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Fosseridge Ward, Cotswold DC. Con hold. Con 379 (58.8%, -19.9), LD 168 (26%, +4.7), Ind 98 (15.2%, +15.2). Swing of 12.3% from Con to LD since 2011.

Meads Ward, Eastbourne BC. Con hold. Con 1783 (59.6%, +7.1), LD 465 (15.5%, -3.2), Lab 323 (10.8%, +1.2), UKIP 322 (10.8%, +1.3), Ind100 (3.3%, +3.3). Swing of 5.2% from LD to Con since 2011.

Town Ward, North Lincolnshire Council. Lab hold. Lab 1141 (53.6%, +4.1), C 856 (40.2%, +2.8), BNP 133 (6.2%, +6.2). Swing 0.7% from Con to Lab since 2011.

NEC Report

My NEC report is online here: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2012/06/01/nec-report-may-2012/

I also have an article about the policy review here: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2012/05/29/man-on-wire/

And I'm interviewed here by Wandsworth Labour Councillor Simon Hogg: http://simonhoggblogs.com/2012/05/31/qa-luke-akehurst-on-money-hackney-and-why-he-wants-to-help-run-the-labour-party/

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