Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tony Clarke Non-Story: Ex-MP "Sacked by Text" a Bit Ago

It has been a slow news day. Labour Home now have blank faces on this so here's Mike Rouse but even after reading all that it's not easy to follow and is I think being misreported and confused, but I'll not name names.

Here's my best guess at what's up. I stand by to be corrected. In comments please.

Clarke's Wiki is a bit more helpful. Clarke was a surprise winner in Northampton South in 1997 and defended adequately in 2001. In 2005 however he lost by a fair old margin. The Tories having switched their candidate.

He has since been a Councillor but - presumably after being "sacked by text" from a panel of candidates for PPC or indeed for a council seat (I'm guessing a bit here) in some deselection carve up and then he stood successfully as an independent - he was thrown out of the Labour Party in May 2007.

His majority as an independent ward councillor at 600+ is almost as great as his first parliamentary majority! No idea whether he's planning to stand for parliament as an independent. Perhaps that's it?

Clarke's major claim to fame was being an anti-war MP who found a Bush-Blair memo leaked in his direction and gave it to the police instead of to the press as some - including the soon sacked leaker - might have expected.

The MP for Northampton North is one Sally Keeble - not apparently Clarke's best mate despite or because of the proximity - who was Clare Short's junior at DFID at the time the Iraq War broke out in March 2003.

She was unlucky enough to be in Manchester for a meeting with NGOs and LP members on the evening after shock and awe. Having spent much of the day at three or four different anti-war protests I attended that meeting and was so clear in my denunciation of the war and the ridiculous claims of WMDs and then of her thin but on message answers that Ms Keeble literally ran for it.

She rushed for "the last train" about 30 minutes sooner than she needed to. She didn't last long in that job, though I do believe she's back in business.

The only story really seems to be that Labour Home foolishly killed the comments on a discussion about the seat after a local rag picked it up. The first time ever they say. And obviously shutting door after horse had bolted. They're supposed to be back up but they're not. Mike Rouse has the lot in a PDF. But I really cannot be bothered to read them.

It is clear that no MP has been sacked by text. That no-one has been "sacked" at all in any normal sense of the word. That there is a conspicuous lack of clarity on dates and sequence of events.

All in all this is a confused, sub-parochial non story that has kept some Tory bloggers off the streets for a bit.


Anonymous said...

At the time that Clarke was re-elected in 2001 with a similarly knife-edge result, many Conservatives attacked him implicitly for being a racist because the Tory candidate happened to be Shailesh Vara. I wonder if any of today's faux-angry Tory bloggers were among them.

Anonymous said...

Never mind this bollocks, it's Grels that's the story.

What's our Labour Party apparatchik's take on this nasty piece of work?

Chris Paul said...

Anonymous 23:31 Grell is obviously NOT the story today. But I have posted something at the last post, and I have something else lined up for another day. Perhaps even tomorrow. But in the meantime you can cover whatever you want on your own blog.

Chris Paul said...

David B: it was noticeable that the Tories ditched their candidate to secure their success. Rather like the Lib Dems ditching Yasmin Zalzala ahead of their win in Man Wit.

Is Clarke planning to stand as an indie in Northampton South Parliamentary? Have the boundary changes been kind to this part of the Midlands?

Farther north I had a chat with Ken Clarke a few months ago in a field somewhere in Rushcliffe. He was dying for a smoke but was at a health event. Kept trying to leave ... amusing ... anyway he reckoned that Mercer had got the talisman villages now. Ones that were always in Tory hands whichever constituency they happened to be in. He had lost them.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Tony Clarke and his supporters post under their own names and the ones who slag him off are all anonymous including one who calls Clarke "spineless". It seems that the Regional Office was bending the rules to select its favourite(s). I wouldn't say it's parochial, though it may have happened a while ago. It's symptomatic of the way party officials will intervene in a sectarian manner.

Chris Paul said...

Yes Matthew I agree about the substance.

Goodness knows I've witnessed a few issues in let's say Bobbins CLP and Muppet BLP and Feckwit LGC over panels, shortlisting, selection and so on.

I got called for blogging one selection and it turned out that the "offensive" remarks were all coming from councillors, officers, agents, employees possibly posting under pseodnyms or as anonymous.

It is of course also possible that those from other parties join in and make mischief when the crowd decides anonymous or sock puppetry is acceptable.