Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On Harriet Harman On Labour List: The Jury's Still Out



Harriet Harman - who posted some thoughts on what she calls "the feminist debate" on Labour List HERE - is getting it in the neck, particularly from one Rebecca Galbraith who chooses abortion rights (not) in Northern Ireland as the stick with which to beat her sister. In fact as a socialist, feminist, trade union activist Rebecca wants (a) to deny Harriet the right to post and (b) to have her resign the Equalities brief.

Principal case for the prosecution, best not call it a witch hunt eh?, would be the decision not to take amendments on the 3rd Reading of the HFE Bill. Amendments from Tories, amendments from socialists, amendments from in between, all ruled out.

Practical politics are too easy to ignore when principles burn. But surely better to get there one day soon than have abortion rights pushed back for every woman in the United Kingdom. As Dorries, Cameron, Widdecombe, and indeed the majority of Tories and some left footing Labourites wish.

The F word has a practical opportunity. Ask your MP to sign Diane Abbott's EDM.

Harriet Harman does not have a perfect record. Which practical politician does? The minimum ask is surely do these people do "more good than harm" and build pragmatically on strong principles from there.

Joy Johnson of Compass calls leadership speculation silly, but rides to Harriet's rescue calling attacks on her "Misogyny". I think that's naive actually Joy. People hate Harriet over her class, her education, her privilege, her party politics, her micro politics, her being for Equality (a) too much or (b) not enough. And to an extent on complicity with the Labour right, of which she is actually a part of course, albeit possibly somethingly towards the Compassite left of it. For Rebecca Galbraith I suspect that being associated with Labour might be enough to trigger renunciation, irrespective of gender.

Clearly Compass types will publically pooh pooh leadership speculation as Joy has done, begging the question "why post at length about it?", ... but is this an early indication that a Harman-Cruddas ticket might be on offer when the time eventually comes? Interestingly the great Neil Lawson/John Harris "No Turning Back" Thunk-In for The New Statesman gives Harrie a mention, categorising her in this context:

Within New Labour there are people – “left Brownites”, crudely put, such as Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander and Harriet Harman – who believe that more transformative change is desirable, but clearly not feasible.

Perhaps Compass will go with Harman/Miliband or Miliband/Harman and Dr Jon will be left dangling? Serving some time on a front bench and not 'gaming' the party and the government.

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