Saturday, February 03, 2007

Manchester Withington Selection: Nine No-Nonsense Labour Women, Round One

On today's showing my personal abridged notes (in batting order):

Jenny Lennox: Most feisty, Most visibly socialist, Most authentic (joint), Special mention for her locality;
Jane Evans PhD: Best anecdotes, Most green credentials;
Councillor Nargis Khan: Only one already elected to public office, Lib Dem basher, Most authentic (joint), Most heart;
Yogesh Virmani PhD: Most persistently local, Best poncho, Best chair-defying duration;
Casra Khan: Most experienced PPC, Audibly socialist, Most excellent on the NHS;
Jane Lewis: Most casual speech, Strongest Trade Union service;
Sandra Moorcroft: Greatest surprise, Very confident and clear, Will make someone a good PPC;
Lucy Powell: Best prepared, Slickest delivery, Clearly popular with constituency officers, Best dad in the room;
Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE: Most decorated, Strongest on housing.

All in all this is a very impressive collection of Labour women every one of whom has more integrity and vocation to serve than the incumbent rascal John Leech. Though one or two were I think slightly disingenuous about the currency and strength of their local connections.

The format used for this preliminary was a short speech and three 'identical' questions. There was some variation in the latter which made small differences at the margins. Advice to CLPs: Recite such questions WORD PERFECTLY and possibly provide wording of each on paper as they are asked.

John Leech's people were urged by a party lay officer to de-select an Asian woman who had stood with very successful swings in 1997 and 2001 on the grounds that as a black, a muslim, and as a woman she had no chance. Withington will at last have a chance to prove at least one, if not all three slurs on the electorate of Withington completely and hopelessly inaccurate.

APOLOGIES: To Yogesh Virmani, labouring under the wrong family name here. Now corrected. And the Naheed Arshad-Mather MBE who has now been redecorated.

UPDATE: Considering the rules under which this selection is being conducted I have now removed four comments from among the 50 comments to date. These are the ones that included particularly disparaging remarks - against the letter and the spirit of the rules - if anyone thinks I've missed anything serious please drop me a line at idea at mcr1 dot poptel dot org dot uk. Thanks.


el tom said...

So what's the story behind Powell?

I thought the lady who talked about the NHS was good, the one with the red sash.

Wish I could remember some of the bloody candidates names!!

Local voter said...

One of the key questions for me is this...who would continue to live in the constituency even if they are not selected?
Jenny and Yogesh for definite. They are the only ones who were campaigning in Manchester in 2005.
Lucy in the short term - but her statement is full of references to her "top level" contacts in London which suggests she'll be back there soon.

Anonymous said...

The key question is who can beat Leech. the only one who has done this is Nargis Khan

Anonymous said...

beaten Lib dems I mean not Leech himself

Anonymous said...

Jenny is a great union person and a fine socialist. She would walk it.

Chris Paul said...

El Tom: "Story behind Powell" sounds a bit ominous. Perhaps a supporter rather than an independent jorno-blogger could oblige? Otherwise some facts and figures soon.

The spiritual woman who worked at the DH as Labour came to power and reported the immediate inspiration of looking for Quality, Social Inclusion, Justice and Investment - that was Casra/Qaisra Khan who stood in Aberdeenshire 1997 and who was among the top candidates for the Banks seat.

The candidates are listed on my run down in speaking order, and in alphabetical order on the last. Trying to be helpful see.

phil said...

I think we need someone with good campaigning experience - who knows what it's like not just to pound the streets day in day out in a close election but has held the seat a second time - that's Nargis. Was more impressed by some of the others than I expected to be.

Chris Paul said...

Local voter: living in the constituency or even in Greater Manchester is a bit of a red herring isn't it? No doubt Leech - who does not now and possibly never did live in the constituency or in the ward he doesn't represent as a stay away councillor - will try to exploit this issue with the LD locality fetish. But I will back the woman from Chesham with some past in North Manchester over anyone else if I believed she could thrash the Lib Dems the best on all the other factors. It's balancing local-ness with all other abilities as a candidate and most important as Withington's new MP. That's what we're selecting here. The best MP.

Controversial Commentator said...

Anonymous 11:48/11:50: yes Councillor Nargis Khan has beaten Lib Dem incumbents and also held her seat against their resurgency. These are very strong plus points.

Jenny also as a key campaigner in a monster LD drubbing in Whalley Range 2006.

Very unfortunately the campaign team in 2005 didn't beat or properly asess the danger of a Lib Dem insurgency and I'm not sure they have the energy and ideas to take an incumbent to pieces.

Their first test will be in backing the right person for the job and not the one, let's say "most like them".

Chris Paul said...

Can all the anonymous ones and pen names please develop a nom de guerre that sticks? I'd also remind everyone:

(a) that the local Lib Dems and Tories read this blog avidly, and
(b) that we will all need to unite round the worthy winner in the end.

Undermining any of these excellent women is not necessarily the best tactic.

Accentuate the positive and please don't throw too many stones.


Chris P

local voter said...

My point is that the non careerists - who don't just want the people of Withington to subsidise their London flats - are also likely to have the best socialist politics and grass roots appeal.

Agricola said...

Great post Chris and some interesting comments. I am sure that Withington party will pick the candidate they best believe can beat the Lib Dems at the next GE. It seems the contest is still quite open although I do detect two or three pulling slightly in front. Experience and track record will be the issue I reckon rather than previous post code or primary school attended. Long way to go!

controversial commentator said...

Fair enough local voter.

Given that Leech got in on the back of successive and massive tactical Tory defections albeit topped up with some socialists (a weird coalition) then outright and strident socialism may not be quite the thing we need. Anti-war yes, sceptical of marketisation yes, but pragmatic and careful not to scare the horses.

Did home girl Lucy transfer her membership from London early enough to have a vote in the Withington CLP selection if she's not on the final shortlist herself?

local voter said...

Con Com.
Call me old fashioned but I think we should stand for what we believe in rather than what we think will win.
We then have to persuade people that what we believe in is closest to their values.
No war.
Properly funded and democratically run health, education, and rented social housing.
Rights to fight back against horrible bosses and huge corporations.
Integrated transport owned by and run by the people who use it and work for it.
That sort of thing.
People were mislead at the last election to believe that was what the Lib Dems offered.

Anonymous said...

Jane Evans has the background and attack credentials to blow lying Leach away. I saw her demolish Otis Ferry on newsnight. We need someone from Withington to do the damage.

Anonymous too said...

Dr Jane Evans needs to learn to spell Leech!

Chris Paul said...

Amusing stand off between controversial commentator and local voter emerging. Getting easier to recognise the 'voices' and who they are for or against here.

As a strident but pragmatic socialist I can see both sides of the coin.

It is true as Con Com says that a large part of Leech's electorate are "anyone but Labour" Tories and most of the others may be "anyone but Blair" socialites or even socialists.

The former need to go back to voting Tory as they see what a wretch Leech is on their agenda. The latter to voting Labour, ditto.

It is also very noble and admirable of LV to call for reformist socialism principles to come to the fore.

Did anyone other than Jane see Jane tearing foxy Otis to bits with her bared teeth?!

Jane Evans said...

Hello everyone!
Do I detect a Liberal Democrat.. is that the... Smmmeellll of.. lies.... Well the Lib Dem lying infiltrator has made a little assumption that I would be able to be in more than one place at a time.

I was out buying an old car so I could be more mobile and meet party members when the posts were sent. I bought it in Didsbury for what its worth. Beeline Garage...
I'm afraid its being MOT'd and I have to get insurance and tax before I'm truly mobile.

Fibdem's aside; To our socialist community and blog team out there:

I can assure you that I have never had any problems in spelling LEECH(as an environmental scientist - spelling common oligochaete names is not an issue).

Lower order phlya aside there is one parasitic LEECH that I'm ready to squash and despite my animal welfare credentials.. I'm a ready!

In all honesty I do not know who posted anonymously. I do know that as the news was live - impossible to have watched it myself! Waste of time, I know what I said and did. This is not about ego!

On that point, the labour party and the FIGHT FOR REGAINING WITHINGTON is about SOCIALISM, and yes, I will say it.. SOCIAL JUSTICE, EQUALITY, THE NHS, MOTIVATED SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO WANT TO SUCCEED.. PEOPLE HAVING CLEAN SAFE ENVIRONMENTS TO LIVE.... with enough food to eat, enough heat to keep them warm and a community, with representations that CARE about their welfare..

Surely this blog should PROMOTE and work WITH the community. Because only in unity, working together to fight wishy washy liberal democratic pseudo policy and returning a labour government to a 4th term.

I have no room for negativity. Life is short and I sincerly hope everyone involved in this election has the community at heart. Ego's are ephemeral.. it is the longevity that counts.

If anyone wonders why I was not campaigning in 2005 in Withington, may I please refer them to speak to Lord Bradley.

I spoke to Keith prior to the election and he said that he had a great team, and that I was free to work on the most marginal areas targeted by our research (some of which was undertaken as Witney and pre election calling by us commissioning, none other than the wonderful VISION 21).

I was here.. available and offered!


And if anyone wonders, after the selection I will still be here. Albeit up the road a mile or so. I have been for 30 years.

I will still buy my fabric at Leon's in Chorlton, I will still eat in Felicini's and late at night, needing a pharmacy I will still aim straight for what was always the fallowfield pharmacy - now up the road 3 or 4 shops bought out by Lloyds... but from Mr Harari to Mr Lloyd, over the years it's hard to break the habit!

and perhaps most of all, I will still go for summer walks with my family in Fletcher Moss...

To the goodly bloggers of this site, I would like to maintain contacts I have made and will still come to your events such as that great meal followed by Robin Cooke's inspiring speech..

I am grateful that I had the invite from Withington, to that wonderful night. I had the chance to meet a statesman, true to his socialist beliefs. A man to learn from.... amidst many who speak as they believe people want to hear.

Good night all.

Chris Paul said...

After that terse rebuttal from Dr Jane perhaps we should have a whip round and get the candidates their own blogs! They're free so that shouldn't be too hard. Still, I think it was just someone 'trolling' Jane, as in trying to wind someone up. They managed it by the look of things. Good luck with the car. Mine needs its MOT also. Expensive for two rear seat belts chewed through by my Lurcher Dog (please be assured non working) and for two replacement wheels and tyres. Aaaaaarrgh.

Chris Paul said...

I have now put some quick links to the Withington Selection posts above my blog links and main archive. Having trouble loading the logo for it however. Grrrrrrrr.

Jane Evans said...

Lovely dogs :-)

Adele said...

Good luck to you all. I can't wait to get stuck into Withington and boot out that tosser Leech. Don't underestimate the size of the task though. Look at who has got the local Government base and you should realise why we need to pick a candidate that is good for the seat, rather than just picking someone who is a good all rounder.

Chris Paul said...

The Lurcher Bitch and the Greyhound Dog don't chew seatbelts like the LD. But the LB isn't fully signed up to the doctrine of non-hunting. Or even close. Her mum taught her I think. Her brother was taken away from mum very early. But we digress.

Chris Paul said...

Adele: By the time of the next general election who knows we may well have considerably developed the local government base for Labour in this constituency. Even the Lib Dem trolls at JohnLeechWatch are now admitting he shouldn't be a councillor. Perhaps there will be two seats up in Chorlton Park in May 07? And Burnage is bound to prefer Frank to a man accused of Nazi saluting in the Council Chamber.

Jane Evans said...

On dogs: LB - Tis the providing for the family instinct.. shows she cares for her family! :-) {or loves the chase} !

On Withington: Did anyone see Leech on Politics Show today?/Sunday for those reading tomorrow..


Adele said...

Yep I agree Chris we will have developed our local Government base and thats really good; but it'll still be a tough task, starting from a lower base. Hence my previous comments.

Chris Paul said...

Didn't see Leech on Politics Show. How bad was he? Talking about casinos?? And referenda? Or the great challenge he was now facing from Labour.

Jane Evans said...

Housing - brownfield site build in gardens. Dave Watts got him on a couple of points. I will get u a copy. Though it will be in a few days as I hava a lot on tomorrow! :-)

Sent u a quick email. Gotta dash - early start.

Lets Lose Leech said...

All the candidates will have something to offer in one way or another and that is good. The one who has a track record of beating the Lib Dems though as a candidate is Nargis Khan and she will get my support.

Local voter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Paul said...

It may be that down to earth Bolton arguments play very well on the doorstep in Burnage. And that is where Nargis Khan is from. And to be quite honest the doorsteps in Hackney and the people behind the doors may be more like the ones in Burnage and Chorlton Park than the ones in didders or chorlton or even whalley range are.

1:04 yesterday there was a ruling from the blogger in chief that this locality thing is a bit of a red herring or at best only one factor among many.

1:16 there was also a request to keep the negatives out of the selection race.

If the candidate(s) you're backing has some experience or skills that trump years of beating Lib Dems then you should dust your positive arguments off and get those into play!

Meanwhile the candidates you have specifically attacked in your "signed" contributions - Lucy and Nargis - may take some heart from being targeted.

All of the candidates will presumably have to strike a balance between staying alive with some kind of work and working the patch to beat the Lib Dems. As to the location of that work? You'll be telling us next that candidates who travel to multiple locations the length and breadth of two countries for their work will be better able to cope than those splitting their week more simply?

Thanks to those who have paid attention to the requests. Please - enough of the "local candidate" already - and enough of the negative attacks.

As Lembit Opik told Lib Dems when he was seeking their votes as Party President he found from his days selling soap powder that it was better to praise your own product than didd the competition. Seemed fair enough. But naturally the Lib Dems ran a mile and voted for old dirty smears specialist Simon Hughes. Opik washes whiter.


Chris Paul said...

That's "diss" not "didd" ... sorry, fat if speedy fingers.

Adele said...

Chris mate you are the king of negativity.

Chris Paul said...

I think you'll find Adele that I have been elevated to Pope of Negativity when it comes to Lib Dems, Tories and the like.

However, I would like the candidates' machines to play nice. And if they can't be nice be a bit more subtle about being mean.

Adele said...

Its a selection contest, Chris, these things will happen. I've got every confidence that the CLP will pick the best candidate, then we can get stuck in. The sooner the better.

local voter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Paul said...

Well, local voter, press on. As you well know the comparison was with a particular candidate's job and is not in the slightest bit bogus. It is a bit different yes, but it is not bogus.

My understanding is that Nargis is not a full time councillor but does have a day job in London. She has taken a substantial leave of absence from that to take part in this selection. She will be giving that job up if selected and has got the approval and support of the Labour Group in Hackney for her candidacy here should she be selected.

Your candidate has a full time job I believe which has a national remit and is away from Manchester quite a lot as I understand it. Perhaps instead of lobbing bricks you could make a positive statement about that situation?

As you presumably know each branch and unit will be able to select two candidates. For some reason you are currently focussing on a rival who can be and is more likely to be selected in the other "division" than your own.

So if you are going to continue with negative rather than positive campaigning then you might share the heat out a bit more strategically?

I'm trying to be a fairly even handed 'referee' here but it is no great secret that in terms of getting past round one at the moment I support BOTH your candidate AND Nargis Khan in any arena in which I get a say.

I don't want to put the moderation on. But I will do if needs be. Writing any further opponents' attack scripts for them is beyond the pale.

Carpetbagger said...

As one of the many who came here from London or elsewhere I think local voter has it wrong. Many of the candidates can claim their local roots. Most have spent many years away from the City. Local voter is clearly not a Party member or they wouldn't dream of dissing any person who may soon be on the ballot paper for Labour? Probably a Lib Dem troll and should be treated as such.

Sue M said...

Hooray for Chris! Let's stop having a go at each other's preferred candidates - especially on spurious grounds. Next branch meeting ask how many people actually were born in Withington. At ours, the answer was precisely none. Withington is a very mobile constituency, and lots of people live here because they choose to, not because they were born here. None of my Chorlton friends were born in Chorlton.

Instead lets consider which candidate is most likely to get rid of Leech (who, if we want to be REALLY fussy, doesn't actully live in the constituency either). I think Nargis has got the best Lib Dem beating skills, Lucy P has got the best speech making skills, and on balance for me the Lib Dem beating skills and being good on the doorstep are the most important.

Whoever wins, we'll be behind them come April 1st, so lets not make any silly remarks that we have to back-track on then.

Lib Dem basher said...

I went out on the doorstep with Lucy and she was really good.

social socialist said...

I agree that the local thing is not an issue - as someone said most people in Withington were not born here. Even Lucy admits in her Friends Re-united profile that she does not live here:
"I've been living in London for over 10 years, but I'm now looking to move back to Manchester...and live near lots of Mancunians in London. See you in Manchester soon maybe!"
None of the candidates are truly local but I dont think that matters. We have got to unite behind the bast candidate who will beat the Lib Dems

Yates of the Yard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lets Lose Leech said...

I have seen Nargis campaigning in Chorlton, Chorlton Park, Gorton South, Gorton North, and Burnage so far. I have not seen any other candidates in so many Manchester wards. so Local Voter, lets stop this local nonsense and get behind a candidate who can demonstrate a real camapaigning and Lib Dem beating pedigree not just promise to have one in the future.

Also , Local Voter, you nasty personal attacks do you or your obvious candidate no good. If your candidate is reading this blog she should think about changing her team 'cos the current one is losing her support by thje minute.

Anonymous said...

Lucy Powell's entry on Friends Reunited below with her Manchester credntials in her own words. Local Voter you should take note.

Please enough of this local nonsense. You tell 'em blogmaster.

If you want to support a candidate please play to their strengths not the percieved weaknesses of others.

What Lucy is doing now (last updated 19 Nov 06)Add to my friends

I've been living in London for over 10 years, but I'm now looking to move back to Manchester. I've been working in politics and government since leaving university - in Parliament and Westminster, as the Director of Britain in Europe - the pro-European campaign and more recently for a government body. I'm still in touch with quite a few people from Parrs Wood and Xaverian and live near lots of Mancunians in London. See you in Manchester soon maybe!

Question master said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Repeating word for word what someone has said themselves in the public domain is an odd definition of a dirty trick but I am an idiot!!

Chris Paul said...

Question master:

Once the attack script is out it's out. People are watching in more sophisticated ways than coming back every couple of days to have a gander. You just can't take it back. That's why I've been suggesting NOT putting this kind of thing up here. It may be hours before I know about a comment myself. Comments to be either moderated by me which will introduce delays or self moderated.

I much prefer the latter.

In terms of supporting Lucy or telling tales about her I don't actually think I've done either of these things. Does QM think Local Voter is a front for Lucy's machine? I genuinely thought "it" was backing someone else. And the job references would apply to several of the candidates.

I should also say that wanting to see Nargis and AN Other though was not an exclusive list of two. All the candidates have plus points. And as I understand the rules we can have a shortlist of six, seven or eight names.

I am trying to devise a questionnaire-based interview to offer to all the candidates. There will be a deadline and all who submit will be published at once.

Any questions? Please email to idea at mcr1 dot poptel dot org dot uk.

Adele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Paul said...

Have removed my first comment from this item. Adele wins with a stating the obvious me-too comment that could be applied to a number of her own comments elsewhere ... but well done everyone else. A quiet day in Wit Man Blogland.

John H said...

The issue around all this for me is that we get the best candidate. I am slightly saddened by some of the, lets face it, nasty comments on this page about some of the candidates. We have an opportunity as a party to have different opinions about which candidate we think is best. When selected we will all share the same opinion, i.e. that the PPC is the person we will work for to remove the chancer Leech. I personally believe that Nargis with her track record of beating the Lib Dems and the fact that she is the only elected candidate is the best placed to do this. I defend anyones right to disagree with me though, as long as they do not do it disagreeably. Local Voter this is largely aimed at you.

Let's put some politics back into politics said...

For me the important thing is what their politics are and what motivates them.
Do they believe in workers’ rights, social justice, comprehensive education, affordable housing, free health care, integrated, safe and affordable public transport, and do they have the political will to tackle the environment and our abysmal recycling record. (If you think a 28% recycling rate is good you are living in cloud cuckoo land!) Where did they stand on the invasion of Iraq, where do they stand on the Bush/Blair alliance and are they really comfortable about cosying up to business?
I believe that the people of Withington want a candidate who has clear political beliefs, who does not want ‘a career in politics’, but does want to represent her constituents and to stand up for their rights. A candidate who wants to do more than just beat the Lib Dems, a candidate who offers something they can believe in, something more than constant jibes at John Leech which are counter-productive, an insult to the electorate, and a turn off. We have to have a candidate who offers an alternative, and who is prepared to challenge policies that go against Labour party principles.
P.S. Tip to two of the candidates at the hustings on 3 February. References to ‘Miss World’ contests and ‘swimming costumes’ indicate that, although you may know what feminism is, you are not feminists. (Emmeline Pankhurst will be turning in her grave!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathy

Germaine Greer said...

Kathy (or Isabelle?): Emmeline Pankhurst wore her ms manchester and ms florence sashes with pride. What are you on about?

Adele said...

I agree with what you are saying but however good an MP such and such a candidate would be, they have to win the seat back first. Therefore the candidate has got to have organising ability, drive and a passion for the party, as well as excellent politics!

Feminist said...

In response to Germaine Greer !! (Chris?)

As an iconic feminist (once, not so sure now!)I am surprised you don't know what 'let's put politics back into politics' is talking about. Emmeline was not wearing her sashes in the same way as they do in Ms. World competitions. Why am I bothering to explain this?!

Read this! said...

Emmeline was a Tory.
Sylvia was our girl.

Organiser said...

Adele wants an organiser.
Jenny Lennox was the NUJ orgsaniser who helped editorial workers at AOL in London win union recognition.
This is believed to be the only time in the WORLD that a trade union has won recognition at AOL/Time Warner.
The link above goes to the ruling of the Central Arbitration Committee.
Here is a link to a story about the victory:

And another thing said...

On November 19 2006 - according to anonymous - Lucy was living in London and looking to move to Manchester.
So how come she is listed as a voting member in this selection?
How can she have six months in the constituency?

Mark C said...

Puzzled. I posted a comment after 'lets put some politics back into politics' last night and now its not there. Is there a fault with blogger?

Anonymous said...

You were on a different thread.
Go to:
Take more water with it brother.

Mark C said...

Thank you, anon. Much obliged.

Anonymous said...

Local voter, where do you think most MPs spend their time from Monday to Thursdays? Given that parliament is in London you will find that most MPs have a base in London.