I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for a while now, and I’ve been meaning to come back with some deep, thoughtful post. Of course, I should have known that it would be blind rage that drove me back to the keyboard eventually.
Last night Labour lost a council seat. That’s not all that surprising, really. Our poll ratings are in the toilet, and we’re losing here, there and everywhere (Still winning those parish council seats, though! -Ed). The issue here is that the election was for a Labour-held seat on South Hams district council, and there was no Labour candidate on the ballot paper!
This is, to say the least, embarrassing. It happens from time to time, but Labour Parties across the country do their best to make sure that there’s always a Labour option for voters. We can’t be successful all the time, but the story here seems to be a tale of incompetence and poor decision-making.
If you’ve yet to decide your vote, I reckon Labour could do a lot worse than a Deputy Leader with an ability to laugh at herself.
I’ve never liked abstention.
It seems timely to raise the subject, but I’ve never been keen. My general thinking has been if you’re elected to a decision making position then it falls to you to…make a decision.
It’s not always easy, but if you can’t take the tough calls then you have to ask whether you should be in the position of taking them.
Which is a tough thing for me to say, given how Labour voted on the Welfare Bill on Monday night. Before I go on, I should probably point out that it’s not quite as black and white as the Greens, the SNP, and the Corbynites have been painting it, and that in fact Labour did vote against the bill — Andrew Gwyne MP has blogged an explanation which is, embarrassingly, better than anything the Labour press office or frontbench has come out with.
Nonetheless, we did not acquit ourselves particularly well on Monday night, in my opinion.
I genuinely can‘t remember if this was funny to start with or not. But if in the mists of time it ever was, it has long since ceased to be.
I am talking about the suddenly omnipresent tendency to call anyone within the Labour Party — or, indeed, the left in general — with whom you disagree a “Tory”.
The logic goes, you see, that if you disagree with somebody, then they can’t be “left wing”. If they aren’t “left wing” then they must be Tory. It’s a pretty black and white way to view the world. Not to mention fantastically thin-skinned and short-sighted.
Primarily it seems to have been aimed at Liz Kendall, in the Labour leadership race, so far. Now, bear in mind I say this as someone who is not a Kendall supporter — but really, can we get a grip? Liz Kendall is not a Tory.
In fact, I’m pretty certain none of the leadership candidates are Tories.
I went into this contest with an open mind. I hadn’t chosen a candidate, and wanted to hear what they all had to say. I could have gone for any of three of the four candidates.
The truth is that I could still live with any of those three. But one candidate has, for me, stood out as the best of the candidates. One candidate who has stood head and shoulders above. One candidate who has convinced me that they have what it takes to take the fight to the Tories and to lead the Labour Party forward from the defeat we suffered in May.
I am proud to say that I am backing Yvette Cooper to be the next leader of the Labour Party.
It’s only just getting off the ground, but “Southend For Stella” is now officially a thing. With a Facebook Page and a Twitter account.
This is a group of like-minded Southend Labour members, who believe that Stella Creasy’s community-based, grassroots approach to campaigning is exactly what the party needs. These are the same techniques which we have used to great effect in Southend, why we are now part of the administration running Southend Council, and how we held our own in a disastrous general election for Labour.
So like, follow, and let’s get Stella elected as the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.
Please note: this is neither endorsement nor condemnation of Liz Kendall, it’s just funny.
Have you already decided who you’re backing in the Labour leadership election? If so, I’d say you’ve probably chosen wrong.
Not that you’ve picked the wrong candidate. I’ve no idea who will win the election, much less who would be the leader we need to repair our party and get us back into power. But neither do almost any of the membership.
And that’s the point. If you’ve already chosen, you’ve probably chosen for the wrong reason.