Archive for May, 2010

Web guru Jon Bounds on Jim Garner’s social media campaign

31/05/2010, 03:27:36 PM

Styling himself the ‘choice candidate’, the new MP for South Luxton and Wetfield is honest: “the Labour Party […] is on its arse“, he says, flanked not by hangers-on and Sky News flunkies but by the real grassroots. And some trees, too.

From a standing start, the Jim Garner for Labour leader campaign has taken the social web by storm in the space of a quiet Bank Holiday, with Garner himself answering questions on Twitter and opening up on YouTube.

They haven’t had time to connect up the Flickr stream yet, but it’s all part of the open, beta, transparent Nuevo Labour #teamJim ethos.

The quick success of Garner’s campaign is the inevitable result of the race to the womb; for someone with no history of having made decisions, taken positions, or held views… except on Twirls. Which Jim Garner definitely doesn’t like.

Every other candidate has a background which they either need to talk around or gloss over.  Except Garner.  He is possibly the greatest example of what has passed for change in British politics over the last few years.

And with no substance or policy, he’s a candidate that everyone can believe in — say nothing and you can say nothing wrong.

And say nothing on the Internet and you can fool yourself that you’re saying it to everyone.

Share and Enjoy.

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Pressure mounts on undecided MPs to back likely losers

31/05/2010, 10:50:47 AM

The weekend has seen a flurry of letters to MPs from unrelated activists all over the country asking them to nominate John McDonnell.  Several MPs report having received literally dozens of such emails in the last 72 hours.

There was a short burst of similar activity in support of Diane Abbott just after she announced her candidacy, but it soon tailed off.

The current deluge is the result of an impressive organisational effort by McDonnell, who has also succeeded in getting the leaders of several unions (for instance, the bakers, the Fire Brigades Union, the Communication Workers Union) to write to MPs in his support.

Reports from constituency parties reveal an almost universal desire for as many names as possible on the leadership ballot paper. Regardless of their individual allegiences, party members want the widest choice. (more…)

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Jim Garner’s Letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party

31/05/2010, 10:45:50 AM

I sent out this letter to every Labour MP today, explaining why I am standing for the Labour leadership. I signed each letter personally. It took ages.

Dear colleague,

As a Party, we have just come through one of the toughest elections in a generation. Thirteen years of governing took its toll. We need to renew.  We lost touch. We need to reconnect. Our ability to broadcast our values to our core root disappeared.

That’s why today I am putting myself forward to be considered for leader of our Party.

I realise I am not the most experienced candidate in the field, having only become an MP earlier this month. If you believe that having been a minister and dealing with the pressure that that brings, day in day out, makes you more suitable for the role of leader, then I am not your man. (more…)

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Monday News Review

31/05/2010, 07:45:59 AM

The candidates

Diane Abbott makes pitch to Sun readers

“”They all look, sound and think the same. I want to ask the difficult questions. The sort of questions Sun readers want asked.” But she faces a battle to win enough nominations to get her name on the leadership ballot.” – Diane Abbott, The Sun

“All that the contenders have to offer are their political skills, they are all creatures of New Labour. That makes them likable, good communicators and very clever; but the drawbacks are equally evident. They are all youngish men who have grown up inside the distortions of the adrenaline-fuelled life of government.” – The Guardian

“Ed Miliband said that he and David never fought during childhood because “we are both too weedy for that”. He said that he chose to stand for election so party members had a diverse choice. “The one thing about opposition is that it gives you the chance to renew,” he said. “It was an incredibly hard decision for me to decide to run against my brother. It’s unusual, to put it mildly.”” – The Telegraph  

Scotland & Wales make play for NEC seat

Iain Gray calls for NEC seats for Scotland & Wales

“Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said he wants greater influence in the UK party, after calling for a place on its ruling body. Mr Gray told BBC Scotland the time had come to give Labour’s Holyrood leader a seat on the national executive committee to “bind” the party together.” – The BBC

“LABOUR’S Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed by gaining a seat on its National Executive Committee, according to Iain Gray. The Scottish Labour leader said he had urged the party leadership challengers to allow him and Welsh leader Carwyn Jones to join the body that formulates policy” – The Scotsman

“Labour’s Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed, Iain Gray said. The Scottish Labour leader revealed that he has urged the leadership contenders to give him a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).” – Press Association

Uniting the Union

“Mr Simpson and Mr Woodley are due to retire, and will be replaced by one general secretary, who will have a major influence on the Labour Party, of which Unite is the biggest financial backer. The odds are not in Ms Cartmail’s favour, because within each of the two unions that made up Unite there was an efficient vote-garnering machine.” – The Independent

“A moment of truth is approaching for Thigmoo – “this great movement of ours”, aka the UK’s once mighty trade unions, now facing their biggest test for 30 years as the Con-Lib coalition prepares public spending cuts that could threaten at least 500,000 jobs.” – The FT

Brown down

 “Gordon Brown has “good days and bad days” but is coming to terms with losing power, ex-Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said yesterday. Mr Campbell told the BBC the former Prime Minister was “reconciled to the fact that he didn’t win the election”.” – The Mirror

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Deputy speaker election rules, from Rob Gibson’s Gallery News email

30/05/2010, 02:34:13 PM

The ballot will be held in the division lobbies from 11am to 12 noon on Tuesday, June 8. Nominations may be submitted in the Lower Table Office from 10am to 5pm on the day before, Monday, June 7.

The election of a Chairman of Ways and Means and two Deputy Chairmen of Ways and Means will be by secret ballot under the Single Transferable Vote system.

Candidates must submit a brief signed statement declaring their willingness to stand together with the signatures of no fewer than 6 and not more than 10 sponsors. No Member may sign more than three nomination forms.

The list of candidates and their sponsors will be published. (more…)

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Dawn Primarolo’s deputy speaker letter

30/05/2010, 02:10:39 PM


Sent: 24 May 2010 15:05


Subject: Deputy Speaker Elections

Dear colleague

Deputy Speaker Elections

I am writing to formally ask if you will support my candidacy for the role of Deputy Speaker.

When I was elected to Parliament 23 years ago I was a single parent. Even with support from family and friends it is difficult I know to deal with all the demands.  In that time as a backbencher, shadow minister and government minister I have always tried to support and encourage all my colleagues, to help them achieve their potential. (more…)

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George Howarth’s deputy speaker letter

30/05/2010, 02:05:12 PM

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to seek your support in the forthcoming ballot for Deputy Speaker.

I have served as an MP for 23 years – with periods as a Government Minister and on the Front Bench in opposition as well as time as a backbencher.  As a member of the Speaker’s Chairmen’s Panel, I am accustomed to chairing Westminster Hall debates and Committee proceedings. I believe that my extensive experience will enable me to fulfil the responsibilities of Deputy Speaker. (more…)

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Lindsay Hoyle’s deputy speaker letter

30/05/2010, 01:57:58 PM

Sent: 19 May 2010 17:42
Subject: Deputy Speaker Election – Email from Lindsay Hoyle MP
Dear Colleague
I am writing to formally announce my candidacy for the role of Deputy Speaker, as to be decided next Thursday 27th May.
Progressive reform is to be at the heart of our new parliament; reform that is widely recognised as both welcome and necessary. I am confident that each of us privileged to have gained the confidence and trust of our constituents believe in the fundamental values of our democracy; that of a robust, scrutinised system where parliament and people crucially, and rightfully work as a team. (more…)

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Daniel Shaw reminds us that the roots are in the branch.

30/05/2010, 11:36:46 AM

WARNING: The following post contains heretical references to Labour Party organisational structures, which references are not usually suitable for activists under the age of 65.

You can’t get more grassroots in the Labour party than your local branch meeting.?? Traditionally, they’re quiet affairs – attendance limited to an ancient party stalwart, the local nutter, an earnest Labour student type and a cat.   And discussions tend to focus on how best to defeat global capitalism and bring about unilateral nuclear disarmament, before getting onto the serious business of who’s going to bring the biscuits next time and the latest grudge match between Councillor Hatchetcracker and Brenda, who’s been secretary since 1952 and once met Clem Attlee, you know.

They’re not exactly hubs of political dynamism.  ??Part of this can be blamed on the party culture over the last 12 years – top-down message, limiting the influence of constituency Labour parties (CLPs) at conference, ignoring motions from branches and general committees – which did little to encourage active engagement at the grassroots level on national policy and campaigning.

But the branches themselves are often just as much to blame – obsessed with procedure and minutiae on the one hand, and with easily dismissed political idealism on the other. (more…)

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Sunday News Review

30/05/2010, 08:59:44 AM

Next Labour

Ben Bradshaw backs David Miliband

“David’s breadth of leadership skills and experience, combined with his clear vision of where he wants to take the party and Britain also, offers our best chance of winning again in Norwich, Swindon and Milton Keynes, without which there won’t be another Labour government.” – Ben Bradshaw MP, The Observer

“The issue has been forced because of the doomed coalition talks in the last days of the Labour government which revealed a deep chasm between the “progressive” and the traditional wings of the party. That division wasn’t just about whether to do a deal with the Lib Dems, it was about a divergent approach to politics.” – The Scotsman

“It is more eyebrow-raising that the denigration of New Labour has also been joined by the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, a quartet who served their political apprenticeships in the courts of Blair and Brown and then ascended to the cabinet. They are jostling to criticise the government of which they were very recently prominent members.” – The Observer

“Perhaps the Labour front bench believes that having been mercifully released from the death grip of G Brown, it is now under no obligation to accept responsibility for his errors: that expunging the chief perpetrator was itself an absolution.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Talent show

David Miliband threw caution to the wind last night by calling for a full television debate between all candidates for the Labour leadership, in a move that could help boost his rivals.” – The Observer

“Labour leadership contender David Miliband is challenging his rivals to a TV debate. The former Foreign Secretary made the suggestion in a letter this weekend to the five other candidates.” – The Sunday Mirror

Old, New Labour

Campbell tells of power struggle at heart of New Labour

“The full extent of the explosive feuds at the heart of New Labour are revealed today in a new book by Alastair Campbell.Tony Blair’s former spin doctor discloses furious shouting matches between the ex-PM and Gordon Brown that left both men “with purple faces”.” – The Sunday Mirror

“Whilst many of us want to concentrate on the future and the rescue of our economy, the next few months will also see some reappraisal of the Labour years. For the first time we will be able to debate them without the choking blanket of spin coming from Downing Street.” – John Redwoods Diary

Baby boom

“Both the Prime Minister and Opposition leader could be on nappy-changing duty within months if Ed Miliband wins the race to succeed Gordon Brown” – The Mail on Sunday

“The family theme to Labour’s leadership contest took a fresh twist last night as it emerged that Ed Miliband is to become a father for the second time later this year.” – The Independent

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