Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Luke Akehurst: Still Smearing and Still Jeering

While you'd think that Luke Akehurst would be making much of the fact that Hackney's Labour Council had the good sense to recently move the Borough out of the London floodplain he's not. Other fish to fry at Hakefirst's. Sadly the boy is obsessed with carve ups and sectarianism.

In Luke's view the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) slate for the National Policy Forum (NPF), which does not endorse a full complement of candidates, is something to be jeered at. That there is a such a slate at all even is for him a great regret.

But the young man does not link to his own faction's slate. Although this is known as "Labour First" its underlying purpose is more "Noddy and Big Ears". Nodding through all policies coming down from above. Flapping ears and grassing up any debate as dissent.
In comments someone characterises CLGA backed delegates to NEC as engaged in "point blank oppositionalism". This really isn't reasonable.

It certainly doesn't show much respect for the CLP grass roots who put them there on purpose. To give some small chance that the NEC is not over-run by delegates of one particular persuasion.

So it should be with the NPF. Shame is though that this talking shop is elected by Conference delegates. Not by one member one vote. The grassroots naturally tend to do better when appealling to the grass roots than to the increasingly standard CLP delegate. Also tending to fall into the Noddy and Big Ears category. Or shamefully even sent up as malleable naifs. Or bar flies who won't even take much part. Mentioning no names.

The trouble with the NPF of course has been that it does not act, is not allowed to act as, a proper scrutiny and indeed policy inspiring, testing and tweaking body. Latterly, being packed with an excessive quotient of Luke's crew, it doesn't even want to comment. By admission of respected NEC members, on the record at hustings, submissions from CLPs stay piled in cardboard boxes and are rarely even read.

This Baa Baa Baa, how high shall we jump? is for the sheeple! At the end of the day NPF CLP delegates have a purpose. Giving ordinary party members a voice. If all are inveterate stirrers we have a problem. If all are inveterate rubber stampers too. Luke wants rubber stampers. He sets himself against participation and likes to twist party democracy so there is none.


Anonymous said...

I am amazed that the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance hasn't been taken to court under the Trade Descriptions Act perhaps Bennite Professional Hacks Alliance would be a better description!

David Boothroyd said...

I just find it depressing that there are any slates and organised factions and caucuses within the Labour Party. It was the existence of slates itself which did us immense damage in the 1980s (a useless duffer who would convince their own faction to nominate them would win a leadership position simply if the slate happened to be in a majority). It also considerably facilitated Militant in taking control of Liverpool despite never having a majority of councillors.

I have never voted for any slate in its entirety. Nor have I voted against any slate in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Also, they are not centre left. Not much centrist about them!

Chris Paul said...

"Centre left" is in the eye of the beholder. Whatever the crit. of Save the Labour Party and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy - both elements of CLGA - they are not anchored to any wing of the party, they are distinctly not Bennites, and they try to do what it says on their tins. Briefing and LRC are at the other end of the political gamut - within the Labour Party - but within the whole of the left they may rightly regard themselves as somewhere near the centre. On the "right" side of the reform-revolution divide.

Luke Akehurst said...

Chris did you really say CLPD are not Bennites!

I have just fallen off my chair laughing.

CLPD was the main organising force in the CLPs for the Bennite left in the '80s - pushing the whole mandatory reselection agenda. It was a key player in the broader Rank and File Mobilising Committee which stretched from Militant to the LCC.

Pete Willsman is it's Secretary for pity's sake!

Chris Paul said...

Whatever Luke. I'm not an expert sectarian like you are. Tho' the fact that Comrade Willsman is the Secretary of something does not make it like him in every respect. Anyway - are you going to smear the other Peter and Gaye as Bennite's too?

That mandatory re-selection thing (not a bad idea in principle) was never going to maintain traction - for fear of Noddies and Big Ears steaming in and replacing Right with Righter, or Dim with Dimmer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with CP Luke. These organisations are practical, instrumental things and any reforms they win will empower members on the left, right and even your own ahem moderate wing.

They take power from dictatorships!! Like you!!!

grimupnorth said...

Save The Labour Party and Campaign For Labour Party Democracy are key players in the CLGA. I am on the NEC of STLP......The CLGA has hard left McDonnellite members like NEC rep Christine Shawcroft, me and centre-left Michael Meacher supporters )(Gaye Johnston) plus Brownites (Ann Black) and people like Peter kenyon who I would not comment on. Let's just say he's very much his own man and much respect for that.It is a broad church
CLPD is largely of the Bennite left...I would not regard that as a smear. But let's be clear - STLP and to a large extent the CLGA does NOT comment on policy whatever its individual members views. it is about restoring party democracy, whichever wing of the Party you belong to. Surely that is not a bad thing. Chris, your comments about the NPF are absolutely right. It is a travesty packed with yes-people and most Party members I know regard it as a sick joke.
FYI Peter Kenyon will be joining John McDonnell and Tony Woodley at fringe meeting re issue of Saving Party Conference - at TUC Congress. More info to follow when i get back from holiday.

Anonymous said...

John MacDonnell AND Peter Kenyon, you are not "selling" this meeting very well!

Chris Paul said...

Sadly Bob Wareing cannot make it this time ...

grimupnorth said...

I trust you are being ironic Chris.....I find anonymous posters utterly contemptibleWhat they say usually even more so....

Anonymous said...

Ahem...my criticism of STLP et al is they seem to put all their energies into attacking the party-either the party structure or party policy.A little gun fire aimed at our opponents at times might help the rest of us be a bit more understanding of your motives.

As For Mr McDonnell, let's just say his small but very committed band of supporters in our CLP have posted less Labour Party leaflets than an arthritic cabbage in recent years.But by god they love their meetings, almost as much as the sound of their own voices.

Chris Paul said...

Anonymous 00:31: It's always the structure when it comes to Save the Labour Party.

And on McDonnell's supporters in your CLP - I'd guess that like most CLPs the participation in newsletter delivery and the like is not universal?

And that right wing cadres of Blairites who spend their time muttering about Trots and reminiscing about Militant's demise are just as guilty of "inaction" as you allege these McDonnellites are.

In my CLPs plural (boundary changes) there is the odd refusenik on a particularly illiberal leaflet or unsuitable candidate but in general the left do a goodly share of the graft.

One comrade who left the party many years ago over Blair actually did what many lefties would not do and went and worked hard for an arch-Blairite during election 2005 ...

Susan: yes I was being ironic.

tim f said...

I have never found willingness to leaflet had anything to do with personal politics, left or right.

What I have found is that many people on the left are more committed to the party than lots of the right-wing of the younger generation in the party. Lots of them say they wouldn't be nearly as committed if left-wingers in the party were in control.

It stands to reason, I suppose. If you're not part of the faction in control then you need more loyalty to the party to be heavily involved.

Another observation is that when ringing members up to get them distributing leaflets there are lots of left-wingers who refuse at first, but can be won round by talking to them. I suspect there are lots of people on the right who would just assume no means no and get off the phone as quickly as possible.

It doesn't alter the content of a leaflet whether it's distributed by a Blairite, a Trot, or someone inbetween.

eduardo da silva said...

Chris Paul, you really are a sad, gutless nonentity. My advice to you is simple: If you don't like it here bugger off and join the Lib Dems. We are a party of winners, not losers; the sooner you get that into your head the better.

Do I make myself clear, rat boy?

Anonymous said...

oh dear "eduardo", whoever you are, you are (a) anonymous and (b) wrong. mr paul's credentials fighting lib dems and other enemies of the people are known. you have no such credentials and in fact you seem to favour the sham of sectarianism and fighting your own side. dimbo da sectarian scrote would suit your on line persona better.

Anonymous said...

"my criticism of STLP et al is they seem to put all their energies into attacking the party-either the party structure or party policy"

yes, but it seems they find the counter-part on the right who seem obsessed by the Left's fringe groups

anonymous 15:05 said...

I am myself anonymous, hence with regard to my comments above that makes me a hypocritical little shit!

Time for me to bend over and let Chris Paul give me one. Oh yeah baby!

Old Sailor said...

Well, having seen Willsman and his Campaign for Labour Party Destruction in the Canterbury CLP many years ago I have no doubts as to the CLPD believing in one member one vote - Once. And once elected and in control no further debate or decisions would be necessary, or permitted

They spent their time trying to drive decent members out, and persecuting Labour Councillors (a rare breed in Canterbury)who would not toe their line.

The good thing this Labour Party member recognizes about their slates for NEC is you know who not to vote for.

Chris Paul said...

The interesting thing then is why - if this tactic of driving members out and being autocratic, allegedly - is so despicable that young Akehurst should so wish to ape that tactic?

As for not voting for anyone on this slate or that slate I'd say Dave Boothroyd's attitude - not voting for or against any whole slate - is the way to go. Though in fact many delegates will seek or get advice from their delegation "secretariat" and vote for the safer, more compliant names directed.

As we have discussed, and Lukey has admitted, these regional slates and the CLGA are a long way from being 100% Bennite or useless or whatever.

Whereas results of extensive research over quite a few years reveal that whatever they may say towards election time few NPF members do provide adequate feedback and input.

These are principally of the Labour First ilk just at the moment.

So we have an intrinsically poor system (albeit with potential) peopled or sheepled with delegates who pretty much promise NOT to scrutinise, NOT to hold accountable, NOT to stand up to the kind of dirigisme comrades reject from Canterbury days.

E10 Rifle said...

All this arguing and willy-waving about who posts the most leaflets ignores a rather obvious point - and that is that it is harder to get members out to leaflet and campaign when they are ignored and treated with contempt by the party's central structure and leadership.

When we're given such a limited involvement in policy-making, idea-forming (and don't even get to elect our party's leader), you're not on very strong ground if you then lay into people who - curiously - can't be arsed to leaflet over stuff they've had no say in. I've leafleted for Blairites before, despite being on the left, but attitudes like Luke's, and of our anonymous Arsenal striker troll, aren't exactly a great galvaniser of campaigning zeal.

Chris Paul said...

Exactly! Well said e10 rifle. Let's hope Luke is listening. Like Gordon.

Doctor Dunc said...

Right - 'Bennite' is not a slur. It's a noble tradition, and one I'm very proud to be part of.

There is theis remarkable sense of 'anti-organisation' on the right which seeks to disguise the fact that they have consistently organised their vote over the years. They cut their teeth in the mindlessly sectarian clique of Labour Students where there is this bizarre parthonegenesis of Bugginses, then they graduate to the weird world of Labour First, where the real job of unions is to organise slates for pointless committees, and the real mark of party loyalty is whether or not you'd ever contemplate voting for somebody who didn't go to all the same crappy parties you did when you were a student.

Sometimes internal Labour politics makes me physically ill.