Sadly LOL was running around on buses when the throughly surprising Oldham East and Saddleworth shortlist for Labour was announced. Thoroughly surprising because none of the three has been prominent or indeed mentioned in dispatches by any commentators I've seen. Labour List scooped the poop.
No Gwenda Manco - though now she's broken cover she'll find herself in demand I feel. Classic introductory interview with Deborah Linton in today's Manchester Evening News. Probably a little politically inexperienced, but that's not necessarily such a bad thing. I think Rochdale Labour should aim to have her on their Council Executive within a year.
Cllr Afzal Khan, the ante post favourite by a long chalk with the support of the Trade Unions and also local gangmasters former Rochdale Council leader Alan Brett and Phil Woolas' agent Joe Fitzpatrick perhaps being his problem, will be deeply disappointed I reckon, but he's a professional and he knows his turn will come.
So who is on the list? In no particular order (it's alphabetical) or precedence (I don't know the membership demographics or sentiment). We have:
Experienced PPC, public servant and academic Ms Debbie Abrahams. A good communicator and a public health expert. Here's a blog from her on Comment is Free. And here's an academic profile, drawn from the international URHIS Project:
Debbie Abrahams is a Director of IMPACT - the International Health Impact Assessment Consortium – based in Public Health, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre, at the University of Liverpool. She is the lead for HIA research and the commercial work of the Unit. Debbie started work in public health 17 years ago as Head of a WHO Healthy Cities project. Since 1999 Debbie has led over 40 HIAs of various policies, strategies and projects at local, regional, national and international levels. These include HIAs of Birmingham International Airport’s Runway Extension, the European Employment Strategy in the UK and across the EU, the North West Regional Economic Strategy, and many health policies, services and facility developments across the country. Debbie has co-ordinated various multi-centred national and international HIA research projects developing HIA methods, procedures and tools. For example, the European Commission-funded 'Policy HIA for the European Union' project and the 'HIA: Measuring the Effect of Public Policy on Variations in Health' project, funded by the Department of Health. She has acted as an advisor to national HIA developments in Brazil, Italy, Finland and Portugal as well as to the EC and WHO, e.g., on Health Systems Impact Assessment, HIA capacity and methodological development. In addition to collaborating in EURO URHIS 2, Debbie is co-ordinating a project to develop impact indicators for the European Food Safety Authority. Other work includes supporting the development of a new Health Equity Impact Assessment methodology. In addition to contributing to the MPH and e-MPH programmes, Debbie has facilitated HIA Capacity Building projects across England; she is currently leading the North West HIA Capacity Building programme for IMPACT, a joint project with North West Public Health Observatory. Whilst working at Liverpool, Debbie also worked in the National Health Service for nearly 10 years, firstly as Director of Bury & Rochdale Health Authority and then between 2002 and 2006 as Chair of Rochdale Primary Care NHS Trust. Debbie is an advisor to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Chair of the charity, North West Action on Smoking and Health, a board member of the healthcare charity, ‘Hope Citadel’ and Governor of a local primary school. She is married with 2 daughters.
Following Labour List's information next we have Riaz Ahmed, a former Labour councillor and former Mayor of Oldham. He's currently the Chair of NHS Oldham. He was also an MEP candidate for Labour in 2009 and has an Accountancy Practice in the town. His house was subject of an arson attack after the race riots. By some of those angried up white folk perchance? Here's more from Labour North West:
Riaz Ahmad lives in Oldham where he is Chair of Oldham NHS Primary Care Trust. Riaz was a Councillor for 16 years and was the Mayor of Oldham in 2002/03
As a Councillor for 16 years, Riaz played a significant part in promoting community cohesion and ensuring that the BNP does not get a foothold in Oldham. Riaz has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Preventing Extremism Together initiative and has also worked with the EC commission on Community Cohesion issues. Riaz has a passion for community development and has played a major part in the improvement to the NHS in Oldham as Chair of the Oldham NHS Primary Care Trust.
A committed Labour member and campaigner, Riaz is committed to ensuring that the North West has a strong Labour voice locally, nationally and in Europe.
Finally we have Cllr Abdul Jabbar - Mayor of the Year 04-05. Abdul is a councillor for Coldhurst ward on Oldham Council, where he is shadow to the Performance and Value for Money portfolio. Here's part of his welcome from Oldham College:
Cllr Abdul Jabbar, originally from Bangladesh, first came to the UK at the age of 12 with his family. He was amongst one of the handful of Bangladeshi pupils at Breeze Hill, Oldham with limited English language skills. Abdul made sure he rapidly learned English and then Urdu to communicate with the handful of Pakistani kids at his school. He said: " In Bangladesh we could never have made serious advancement but here it was possible, especially though education." From such humble beginnings, Abdul’s career path has been an inspiring one – Abdul pursued his British education by gaining numerous qualifications to masters level and then pushed forward with a career in the housing profession. Abdul didn’t stop there; in 2004 Abdul became the first Bangladeshi to become the Mayor of Oldham. During his time as Mayor, Abdul was focused on promoting Oldham and stated that “one of my most important charities in my year in office was the creation of the Oldham Educational Trust to improve people's skills and prospects - anyone can be helped. After all, without education, where would I be?"
At this point one can only sigh gently and admire the ninja skills of the Labour Party's officials, one or two regional MPs (Aburnhamcough), and National Executive Committee. The hustings and vote by constituency members will take place on Sunday. LOL shall be represented. Possibly thereabouts in person, depending on timings vs my band practice. Blog on that soon.
UPDATE 23:45: BBC North West news made Riaz Ahmed the favourite. My source reckoned Debbie Abrahams had it in the bag. Abdul Jabbaz is a consumate networker.