Friday, February 02, 2007

Luke Akehurst: Trident Worshipper on Tour, Shock as CNDs Armoury Bigger Than His Pride and Joy

Luke Akehurst is being complimentary about grass roots Labour people and our ability to grasp and debate contentious policy areas in our constituencies. Hallelujah!

Once again Luke got the impression that most of those gathered to debate Trident supported CND's Kate Hudson rather than his good self.

Luke asks the National Executive Committee and National Policy Forum to take note of the fact that : "there are a lot of people out there in the party with intelligent contributions to make to policy debate and a lack of opportunities to contribute".

"It was one of those good debates where you come away with respect for the integrity and thoughtfulness of the position taken by your opponent".

The mystery for me then is why party managers - elected and salaried - make such an effort to keep these debates off the conference floor.

In Brighton 2005 delegates were urged to vote in the priorities ballot to include and then defeat nasty Trade Union resolutions on NHS Privatisation and Trade Union Rights (Gate Gourmet). The delegate (aw shucks) who stood up and suggested voting for four CLP resolutions got some hard stares I can tell you.

The same line was occurring in each of the regional briefings however and when followed by naive and/or loyal delegates kept Iraq and Trident Replacement off the agenda. At least this meant some of the loyal "resolutions" which had not been passed by CLPs but which were passed by CAC didn't need to be used to try for a pro-war resolution if worst came to worst. Probably for the best.

In Manchester 2006 the same line: "It's a tradition to vote for some of the Union motions, and they vote for some of ours" Anon Minister (BB), again kept Trident and Iraq and Civil Liberties and so on off the agenda.

Luke Akehurst believes I think that delaying or opting against Trident replacement could make Labour unelectable in the super marginals. I'm not so sure. And I don't believe that chasing the votes of some of the floaters in these places is a sustainable option for the party.


Luke Akehurst said...

Unilateralism wouldn't just make Labour unelectable in super-marginals, we would lose safe seats as well - when we had a unilateralist policy in 1983 and 1997 we got less than 230 seats. It is core working class Labour voters who have the strongest pro-defence views.

Chris Paul said...

Hi Luke

I didn't think I'd prescribed unilateralism just now. Just delay on decision and/or tapering Trident. It was and is a false dichotomy this "disarm and let Iran arm" vs "retain Trident". Unsubtle and inaccurate representation of intelligent opposing voices with a range of ideas.

Core workers may well have strong pro-defence views but I say two things:

1. They might prefer body armour or cheap and flexible and quick to implement airborne Cruise or better assassins to sub Nukes;

2. They might respond to leadership. They have been conditioned for Nukes. And actually the generalisation you've made may be getting less accurate as time goes by. The idea of following these voters in every regard is not one I feel bound by. Not one bit.

If the Star/Sun/Mirror and perhaps Mail/Express came out against Trident would you down tools and accept our disarmament leveraging major gains elsewhere?

Best w

Chris P

Luke Akehurst said...

You're in no position to prescribe anything, you insignificant little rat. Typical of you people to get uppity just because we gave you the casino. You only got it because we couldn't give it to Anshutz after the awful business with fatso on the ranch and couldn't give it to Blackpool because it's some place out of the 19th century (sorry Joan and Gordon).

Chris Paul said...

Good on ya Luke. That's the way to do it. Obviously I recognise I am an insignificant little rat. Which is why I didn't prescribe anything. Unlike your happy hoaxer, that other LA.