My good friend Luke Bozier

by Peter Watt

Go to the Labour party website. Click on “Join Labour” and it says:

“Do you feel the same way we do about the kind of Britain you want to live in?

A Britain where there is a first-class health service free at the point of use; where education is always a priority; and where you and your family are treated equally and can feel safe and secure.

Join us and be part of our journey. Maybe you already vote Labour at election time? Maybe you have thought about joining but not actually done it? Maybe you think you are too young, too old or too busy? Maybe it’s because nobody has asked you. We’re asking you now.

Join us and help shape our country’s future”.

Stirring stuff and it was just such sentiment that made me re-join the party in 1992. I’ve been a member ever since. Through good times and bad; when I have agreed and when I have disagreed. I even stayed a member when the then party leadership decided to shaft me. And I have got no intention whatsoever of leaving. For me and for many members it is an emotional as well as an intellectual attachment. No, that is wrong; it is much more an emotional attachment than an intellectual one. It is why we can become easily stirred by things that non-believers barely register.

I mean, rationally, I would suspect that I would agree more with Tim Farron, Menzies Campbell and Vince Cable than I would with some members on the far left of the Labour party. But that doesn’t mean that I would join the Lib Dems. Rationally I agree with much of the government’s policies on international aid, and I am pretty sympathetic to some of their current education and welfare policies. But that doesn’t mean that I am going to join the Tory party. Because it is not rational for me, it’s emotional. The Labour party is my party.

But just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that feeling this level of emotional attachment is a pre-requisite for joining. If it was I would suspect that membership would be even lower than it currently is. Which is why the reaction of many members to the decision of my friend Luke Bozier to join the Conservatives has been uncomfortable.

Luke told me that he was thinking about joining the Conservatives a few weeks ago and why. I tried to talk him out of it. I didn’t agree with him but I understood his reasons.  I am sorry that he has left the party and I wish that he hadn’t. But I respect his decision.  What worries me more, to be honest, is the extent to which so many members have dismissed what he has done without consideration.

The reaction has been a classic “it’s entirely his fault”, “nothing to do with us”. And of course for many Luke represented a strand of thinking that was anathema to them. He used un-Labour language, talked about business and enterprise, criticised the quality of the state education and often went out of his way in his blogs to shock in order to make a point. If he wanted to make friends and influence people across a broad swathe of the party then he wasn’t very good at it. So Luke is not blameless in this relationship breakdown.

But on the other hand if we can’t attract people like Luke into our ranks of members, supporters and voters then in my view we have a problem. Luke is a working class lad from a Welsh council estate. He was brought up by his Mum, now has two kids of his own and has set up his own business. Young, aspirational and self-made, he felt that the Labour party was the party for him and joined in 2006.

Except five years later he feels that we let him and people like him down. He felt that we were anti-aspirational and he didn’t understand why, for instance, he was criticised for admitting to even considering private education for his kids. Although the truth is that plenty of our supporters would use private education if they could.

He felt that the party didn’t understand or care about business and small business in particular, despite the fact that they created wealth. But on the other hand the party was obsessed by the public sector and paying people to languish on welfare payments. You may think that on these things he was wrong, but you can’t just dismiss what he feels.  Because I suspect that he is not alone in thinking this among the ranks of our supporters and potential supporters.

But Luke wasn’t “one of us” and so his concerns are dismissed as lunacy. He was a Johnny-come-lately; he was never in Labour students and didn’t have a trade union background. He didn’t fit, didn’t know the “rules of the game”, or the “secret knowledge” language and social norms. We only want pure bloods, no muggles need apply. Good riddance Luke we never liked you anyway.  So everyone’s a winner and we can all pretend that Luke was a rogue who has finally gone home to where he belongs: the evil Tories. And so we are unable to even begin to think about the fact that maybe, just maybe, he had a point.

And then there is the nature of the reaction to his joining the Conservatives. There was always going to be a kick back, it’s politics, so we would have to say that he was wrong.  We would probably also have to do the classic “Luke who”? Fair enough.

But if we are honest the reaction from many members went way beyond that. It was awful, patronising, personal and offensive. He hadn’t killed anybody or stolen from the charity box. No, something much worse it seems. Rationally he had made a reasonable choice even if we don’t agree with it. But emotionally: hell no. But just think of what that says to potential members: “Join us and help shape the future of the country. But God help you if you change your mind”. Yet millions of voters choose to vote Labour one election and Tory at another. But we are clearly not trying to attract them. Oh no, only those willing to give their soul need apply. Quite frankly, it’s why the Labour supporters scheme will fail. I wish it would succeed but it won’t.

And my final thought is this. We see ourselves as nice people. We say that the Tories are the nasty party. Now go and look at the comments on twitter from some Labour party members about Luke Bozier. I’m not sure that it is always that clear cut.

Peter Watt was general secretary of the Labour party.


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32 Responses to “My good friend Luke Bozier”

  1. I agree Peter.

    The reaction to Luke’s departure was out of all proportion to his supposed crime. Some of the bile flying around Twitter and the blogosphere made me wince. I for one found Luke’s articles interesting, and always challenging.

    I’ve often thought that vast swathes of the Labour party are never more comfortable when they are not being challenged. Our niche is that we are the good guys and the Tories the intolerable. If there is ever a time to challenge conventional orthodox, to examine why we polled 29% in the General Election – then surely Opposition is the place to do it? And if not now, when?

  2. Luke Bozier’s concerns that you describe in respect of business, especially the small were not shared by many in Labour when Gordon Brown effectively raised taxes for these in 2005, while reducing them for big business. Granted that when he went on to do something very similar to some five million working poor and pensioners by doubling their marginal rate of tax in 2007, there were a few objections who, with the notable exception of Frank Field soon fell into line however. Both of these measures ended up being supported through the house by the party.

    The first was an act of stupidity the second either another act of stupidity or of inexplicable malice or just plain greed; take your pick; I for one have never been able to figure it out. My point is that when most of the principal movers who were either involved in such actions or avidly supported them at the time and are now sitting on the shadow front bench, while steadfastly avoiding any mention of their consequences, an emotional attachment is difficult to understand.

  3. Plato says:

    Peter – I couldn’t put it better in a month of Sundays. Unlike you, I gave my vote to someone else.

    I no longer associate Labour with prosperity, aspiration or quality. I think of massive waste, bent standards and all must have prizes dressed up in the meaning language of fairness or progressive politics. We were borrowing the last week’s payroll every month. Who is this fair too?

    And then there’s the endless back-stabbing and plotting. Why would I want to be governed by people like this?

    These are real issues that affect real votes. Like mine. That’s why Gordon’s Labour lost 100 seats – and I don’t just mean when he became PM.

    Some Labour supporters are blind to their own faults – its solidified into a bunker mentality that lashes out and blames every else for problems, rather than addressing them.

    Just look at the last week. Twitter has been flooded with hate aimed at one man who decided to leave, others have drawn up lists of Shad Cab members and allotted a traitor score, the unhappy called cowards or worse, dissenting voices told to shut up or leave. And now number are publicly trying to set up a party within a party – Kinnock knows how well that worked out last time.

    The thing is – lots of people don’t think like this. They don’t believe life is about endless dividing lines trying to split the world into Nice Clever People Like Me and Everyone Else Who Are Stupid and Horrible.

    If you have an overwhelming desire to write a rude comment about my post – ask yourself why. Perhaps, I may just have a point.

  4. Iain_31 says:

    Completely agree with Peter, change your party not your principles. The reaction from some Labour tweeters on Sunday was a disgrace it was nothing more than vulgar personal abuse. I respect Luke’s decision to join the Tories although I don’t agree with it. Democracy is about choices he’s made his choice which he has every right to do, without a barrage of abuse from people hiding behind their computers.

  5. martyn says:

    Peter – on condemning the personal attacks etc I have some sympathy.

    But on the idea your party is your home whatever they say, through thick and thin, I don’t. Political parties cannot be football teams where you have an irrational attachment to one for life. They exist to develop ideas in the way the country is governed, and to win the argument for them with sufficient people that they are put into practice.

    If all parties adopt your loyalty at all costsapproach, the logical outcome is we end up with several parties having internal debates about how best to govern. People are virtually randomly allocated to these parties at birth (based on parents job, where they live or whatever) and key debates are within parties rather than between them. That is not a recipe for healthy democracy.

    It ie particularly ironic at a time that the mantra of “choice” is parroted by all parties – but you can’t choose a party, you are stuck with no matter what.

    What I am saying is man up Peter (if that’s not sexist). If you don’t like where the party is, get out. You can influence politics in many other ways – other parties, NGOs, local community initiatives. I don’t mean waltz out after a mild disagreement, or don’t press for the party to move in your direction, but I do mean prepare your head for a more sensible relationship with Labour that enables you to be true to your political beliefs, nit a silly badge.

  6. Rallan says:

    I hate to say this Mr Watt, but you’re actually a part of the problem. The Labour party is very badly conflicted. Your admitted refusal to let go of a party that does not represent you is damaging to Labour and to the functioning of a viable opposition (and I do not necessarily mean the Labour party).

    When you joined Labour there was no real alternative, but now there is. The large majority of “Blairites” ought to move over to the center-left LibDems, where they honestly do belong. Likewise, there are still those in the LibDems who objected to New Labour, but really belong in a traditional hard-left Labour.

    Join a modern party that shares your views, and you can make a difference. Let Labour be Labour.

  7. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    Peter,

    The people making statements such as “Luke who?”, are the first to blub when the same medicine is sent their way. When I chose to become Independent (I have volunteered for Labour almost all my life, even sneaking off military camp on the quiet to help in a General Election) I did so in a flash. But that was because I knew the political reality, the nature of the unsustainable “stitch-up” and the bias of the people involved as well as the utter failure of the Party to practice proper procedure such as due process or even listening to the case made by either the person making the allegation and the subject of said allegation.

    Labour has become a complete mess.

    The re-founding a farce, instead of a high quality program to turn the Party into a professional outfit, it simply attempted to try and re-market voluntary activism and place all the responsibility of reforming Labour on unpaid volunteers whilst the Leadership continue with their bankruptcy program and business as usual.

    In terms of Luke’s position on the private sector, it was not that he spoke an alien language, it was not that he was pro-business it was more his attitude towards others in the articles he wrote. Labour is about more than different positions, it’s about ensuring one’s objectives are Labour’s objectives. What I find so completely strange is that Luke Bozier’s views are commonly held reality in the Parliamentary Labour Party.

    Except of course he has practised what he preached.

    In terms of sending his children to Private School, well its a result of political failure in education (especially Labour as they have just left office). Luke is not an MP, he is a private citizen and may want to see change in the education system but has to live in the real world. In a world of politics where Labour “supporters” blindly support and make excuse for the Lefties in the Party who also send their children to private school with acts of grotesque hypocrisy, I think some silence is owed.

    As for me I have always accepted the importance of diversity in all sectors, that not all businesses can be Co-Ops, mutuals, Ltd Liability Partnerships, and that some people are not by their nature willing to work under such conditions. That to me is absolutely fine. The good news for Luke is Labour does not have the faintest clue what the heck it is doing with the private sector. They only understand how to cash in from Government contracts, think tanks policy creation and lobbying etc.

    They have not got the faintest idea hence all this garbage about businesses being ethical, that is a luxury position for businesses no longer struggling for survival…and they are hardly on the increase. Its applying Public Sector administration to Private Sector practice and it can never work except to create more hurdles and obstacles and give our competitors advantage over us…and another UK business either bites the dust or gets bought out.

    Of course there has to be morality, but it has to begin with education, role models, and incentives by Central/Local Government.

    When I join the Conservatives in a few years time after I have left Barking and Dagenham it will be see such polices introduced because they are listening. They really do want to win the next election. As for Labour it could have chosen the right narrative to complete a policy package and flatten he Tories with ease as they have every advantage on being radical and building trust.

    Instead they chose to fall back to their old self-interested agenda, of cronyism. Pals and family are promoted, any dissenters are silenced. Democracy and Freedom of Speech are ignored for Authoritarian style conformity and fear.

    They have chosen bullying instead of debate, betrayal instead of radical reform, deceit instead of transparency, and vindictive cruelty to those who question or disagree with them.

    Those are the Labour Party’s values now. This is the path they have chosen and Neil Kinnock highlighted this when he spoke to the press last week.

    Labour had the opportunity of showing the World it could lead again on creative policy that would build a better economy that was fairer, had the chance to make the necessary changes that so many members and the public hoped to see because they wanted to “feel good” about Labour again, they had the chance to lead by example and raise standards in public life and be champions of equality. There is a narrative, a context that can win people over to Labours argument and not involve triangulating to the Right and conceding yet again another argument to the Tories.

    They chose the opposite and if anyone is to condemn Luke Bozier for shifting to the Tories, or indeed myself when I fill in their membership form (I have had 6 invites from them and it’s a very very painful process) at least he is open about his position, at least Luke is not deceiving the Unions and leading them to their slow destruction, at least he is not duplicitous and pretending to be Labour whilst agreeing with his opponents in bare-faced hypocrisy.

    Labour MP’s in the main were never Labour minded they were recruited to ensure Socialism dies a death, my own hopes were to show that the State is not a fundamental necessity for Socialism to live and thrive, but the agenda is set and it is ever rightwards. Today its Luke and myself who are gone for very different reasons and from different political positions…who will be next I wonder?

  8. Delbert Wilkins says:

    I agree 100% with everything that’s been written here – and it’s why I, too, am seriously considering the Labour Party membership that I’ve held for the last 11 years. I’m struggling to find ways in which the party represents me or people like me anymore. I could ignore that up to a point (the tribal/emotional attachment thing…) but the Bozier debacle has come close to pushing me over the edge. The people that attacked him without considering his reasons for leaving or that other like him might feel the same sickened me to the core. They are blinkered, delusional and, even worse, astonishingly arrogant. I didn’t think that the Labour Party was in anywhere near as bad a position as the Tories were in ’97 when we got kicked out, but I’m rapidly revising that opinion. We need to realise the need to *really* listen, not just to say we are, and to be humble in the face of all that’s happened in the last three years. Because I haven’t seen a great deal of humility recently – just a maelstrom of accusation, recrimination and blaming everybody other than ourselves. When anyone disagrees or says anything was our fault, we just try to shout them down and tell them that it’s them that in the wrong. It’s political suicide, pure and simple.

    Today I had to go through the Hansard for Tuesday’s Backbench Business Debate on town centres – an issue that affects every single MP in Parliament. I was struck how for around the last three hours of the debate, not a single Labour MP was present in the Chamber, other than the shadow spokesman. Tory after Tory with the odd Lib Dem stood up to talk about their town centres, standing up for their constituents and extolling the virtues of their areas. Not a single Labour MP did the same in the last three hours. Not one. And people wonder why voters think that Labour is complacent and doesn’t represent them? A one-line whip and most of them are out the door. Not only are we being out-played in Westminster, we’re being out-worked.

    The Labour Party needs to take a good look at itself. As it stands they’re going to be massacred at the next election – and rightly so.

  9. Mario Dunn says:

    Peter says “We would probably also have to do the classic “Luke who”? . That is exactly the point. I really have never heard of him (and care not a jot that he has joined the Tories). When I enquired from colleagues about his Labour Party provenance I was told he did some IT stuff for the party (which is presumably where Peter knows him from). So a big hitter then but I never came across him in five years working in the heart of Labour politics.

    I expect we will never hear from him again either.

  10. I’m really glad that we have Peter still in the party. I could never articulate what I feel this clearly – but I am almost always in complete agreement with him.

    The above article demonstrates, word for word, exactly what I think but am too clumsy to write down. I admit that I have had doubts on my membership because, looking at how some on the left behave, including MPs, I simply don’t feel I have anything in common with them whatsoever. It is easy to think, as a semi-logical conclusion, that the party clearly doesn’t have a place for you if you your ideology does not demand the viciousness other online commentators display. Thankfully people like Peter and, for that matter, the average party member or sympathiser, are what keep me sane and keep me feeling like I actually do belong here.

  11. Steve Lee says:

    So the Tories are the party of aspiration are they? Luke says they are. Charging kids 9 grand a year to go to Uni is apirational is it? Record levels of unemployment for 16-24 year olds is aspirational then? Sucking every ounce of demand out of the economy with austerity so it can’t grow encourages aspiration does it?

    Look, I’m sorry but I have no sympathy whatsoever with Luke Bozier. Didn’t understand why he was criticised over private education? What?? He wanted to buy his kids privilege and didn’t understand why Labour supporters criticised him for it?

    He’s perfectly within his rights to leave Labour and join the Tories. What made people angry was him plastering it all over the media.

    He deserves all the stick he gets.

  12. Stuart says:

    Surely some mistake.

    “I even stayed a member when the then party leadership decided to shaft me.”

    Weren’t you the one who shafted the party in your book serialised in the Mail on Sunday and now to be found in the remainders section of bargain bookshops up and down the land.

  13. Madasafish says:

    Well I have read many Labour Party comments. I am not surprised by them.

    A Party which can support :
    the jailing of Opposition MPs,
    90 days detention without trial
    large scale thievery by its MPs
    nepotism
    and a Leader who clearly lied more times than he has houses

    clearly is no longer a democratic party.

  14. Erica Blair says:

    Having read Luke (who?) Bozier’s reasons for leaving the Labour Party, the scandal is why such a natural Tory ever wanted to join in the first place. Peter (I love Thatcher) Watt and the other Blairites had driven the Labour Party so far to the right they made Ted Heath look like a Trot.

    Luke Bozier’s friends Peter Watt and John Rentoul should follow their hero’s example and join the party that has always represented their politics.

  15. paul barker says:

    Interesting piece but you make Membership of a Party sound like a form of mental illness instead of a decision. We dont have to be slaves of our emotions.

    On a faintly related topic, what do you think of Labour HQs attempt to sieze the property of CLPs ?
    To me it smacks of desperation, leaving aside any ethical arguments it seems silly to put all your eggs in one basket. This way if Labour goes bust Nationally it takes the network of local branches down with it.

  16. Jane says:

    I share your abhorrence of the abuse Mr Bozier suffered when he departed having given a detailed account of how alienated he felt with the party he once supported. Sadly, we all have experienced this abuse often on political blogs when we dare to criticise policy or personnel. I myself have often been told to leave as my views are not in accord with those in the “know”.

    As to tribalism I do ask how relevant it is today. Ten years ago, I too would have held your views that regardless of who was leader and what policies were adopted, I would stick to the party. My goodness, I even stuck with them through the 80’s having read a manifesto in 1983 which was totally against principles I held.

    I have now abandoned the party after loyal support for some 50 years. Having made the difficult decision, I have no regrets. The public are much more aware of politics, policies and personalities now through the internet. We have access to the House of Commons Library, Hansard and various research groups. In the past ten years we have had numerous political biographies as well as academic publications of governments, policies and their consequences. I personally feel that many of us are able to make more informed choices about political parties based on reading and analysing such publications. In addition leadership matters and I never forgave GB and his henchmen for removing TB. I would never vote for EM – no family loyalties and no experience of anything other than politics. I hate seeing friends of GB on the front bench particularly Ed Balls. He costs the party many votes as he comes across as bullying, arrogant and dismissive. He makes me laugh when he talks about the economics of George Osborne when he was so influential in the Treasury and contributed to leaving the country with the biggest structural deficit (nothing to do with the Banks). He continues to want us to borrow more money and spend and expects to have credibility with the public. I could go on

    The Labour Party no longer represents my views. I do not want a big state – I see many services provided by the State has having no meaning. I have not noticed any difference in my area with cuts. Indeed, following reorganisation we have more police in my area!!! Astonishing what public sector managers can do when they start managing. Further, the party stifles aspiration and many members are out of date with public expectation. The public do not care about the NHS – they care about the provision of a health service and not a service that puts staff before patients. We have watched in horror over the last years of a labour government as more money was poured in to
    public services without reform. Look at how much our Doctors now earn compared to their compatriots in Europe and they do not provide 24 hour cover. Salaries soared in all public sector areas, bonuses for highly paid public sector staff rose, a culture of the State will provide was encouraged and we permitted people to make a life choice of living on state benefits rather than work. That is why economic migrant levels soared to undertake work that local people would no longer do. We poured huge sums into education and training and yet the levels of literacy and citizens without skills have risen. We paid people to remain in education when a culture should exist that to do well in life requires effort. We paid people like me to vote for the party by giving us bus passes and fuel allowance when resources should have been directed to those on pension credit who need the money deperately. Sadly, Tony Blair was blocked by undertaking many reforms by GB. We are now paying the price for this vast waste of public resources with citizens rightly outraged that their income from the state in terms of benefits may reduce depending on their circumstances.

    I think the Labour Leadership needs to change dramatically in the message it is giving out. They say on one hand that they would not remove cuts but oppose every cut being made. They are appearing to again represent their core voters – those who rely on the State and many of whom have never done a day’s work in their lives. They have totally ignored me. Someone who believes strongly in personal responsibility, who has worked hard, paid taxes and who holds a very deep view that a State has to protect those who are unable to look after themselves. That does not mean paying out huge sums in housing benefit nor permitting people to sit around when they can contribute to their communities to receive state benefits which I pay for. I am no longer in despair – that has passed. You will never win an election without people like me and since TB left I have been isolated.

  17. John P Reid says:

    Madasafish, (90 days was rejected), Unlike in Italy, the Merdedith Kercher case where they were held for police for months (just helping their enquiries) or the U.S.A where if they think you’ve done it can’t prove it they say “you’re A material witness and set bail at $1million dollars’ , regarding oppsiotion M.P.s bieng jailed, whether DAmian green should have been arrested on breaking the official secret acts for doing nothing more than revealing sensetive information is upto you, but was it right for Clive ponting to face prosecution for revealing the Belgrano was sailing away fromt he falklands ,when Thatcher said it wasn’t, as for Jeffrey archer, Jonathan Aitken bieng jailed surely that was right,

    Cllr Ralph, Delbert wilkins, it reminds meof those who wanted to get Michael foot leader as it would give the SDP the incentive to leave and form the new party,

    peter watt, the similarity You, me,Luke akehurst, sunder katwala, Swantantra ,and co, have in common as we all voted for the first time in the 92 election having felt that Kinnock had done enough to win and that defeat effected our political thinking.

    as for the M.P.s expences i hardly thnk a few back benchers bieng done for fraud is An example of teh laobur party, anymore than the tories who have the same, or for that matter The Wintertons or bill cash using tax payers money to Buy their second homes then selling their homes to their relatives and then renting them back off their reletives at the Tax payers expense.

  18. Peter, this is an utterly ridiculous article. If Luke Bozier agrees with the Tories on a range of issues and wants to dedicate his time to ensuring their electoral success, then that is a matter for him and has nothing to do with the Labour Party.

    I’ve had many discussions with Luke over Twitter and he’s never demonstrated much commitment to social democracy. He waves around vague statements about “entreprenuership” and business, but his grasp of broader macroeconomic issues is shakey, bordering on incoherent. The fact that he’s left the party doesn’t suddenly make his thoughts any more valid than they were last week.

    By way of example, he demanded that Labour apologise for it’s overspending, but calls for a return to Blairite economics. The same Blair that was responsible for the overspending? When I asked about this, he said “Gordon Brown was holding Blair to ransom”. It’s very messy thinking and we should take it on its merits, regardless of which party he supports.

    His background is irrelevant. Show me any member of any party and I’ll show you a different story behind their membership. Are you saying he “should” be Labour? The “one of us” angle is no more pertinent than me saying “I went to grammar school so I should be a Tory”, or claiming that all Tories are braying morons from the shires.

    The thrust of your point seems to be “why can’t we appeal more to Tories?” You think we need to appeal to the Lukes, rather than accept that his views find a better home in the Tory pary Well, I’m all in favour of reaching out to a broad electorate, but we’ve lost a lot of the traditional “core” support and I’d worry about them first.

    Despite what he thinks (and the “statement” was the most self-regarding load of garbage I’ve ever read), Luke Bozier is completely irrelevant to Labour. I’m sure he’ll find the Tory party is equally disfunctional (as you see it) and at least as emotional. To suggest he’s abandoned emotion for rationality is a very shortsighted view.

    I’m not wishing him good luck in his political career because I don’t want his new party to do any more damage than they already are. As a person, I’m sure he’s lovely, but politically he’s now working to privatise the NHS, cut support for cancer patients and is backing an economic strategy that’s throwing over a million young people on the scraphead. Good riddance, frankly.

  19. Jane, why on earth would Labour read your views, agree with them and change accordingly, to become the Conservative Party?

    If you support all the measures you say, there’s another party for you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – in fact it’s the essence of democracy – but to expect Labour to change into something it’s constitutionally obligated not to be is crazy.

    The point of Labour is not to accommodate Tories, but to be distinctive and sell it’s message across the board. Frankly, given your views, it amazes me you were such a committed Labour fan in the late 1970s and 1980s!

  20. Mike Homfray says:

    Peter: I think the truth is that Luke was always in the wrong party – politically, he is very clearly on the centre-right, not the centre-left, and that is very clear from the material he produces online.

    To me that’s no criticism, just a recognition of fact. Yes, there will be people who change their vote from one party to another – but party membership does imply a stronger ideological commitment as well as tribal alliance.

    Luke is a Conservative who has now joined the Conservatives.

  21. Edward Carlsson Browne says:

    This is idiotic. We don’t have a problem if we can’t attract the likes of Bozier to our party, because like it or not we are a party to the left of centre and Luke is most certainly not. It doesn’t matter that he’s from south Wales, it matters that his views are well to the right of the mainstream of Labour and that his standard reaction to this was to vociferously denigrate the party.

    Even aside from the incoherence of many of his statements (covered well by posters above), this is somebody who thought it was appropriate to describe Labour members as a ‘cancer’. And we’re the ones being unpleasant?

    It’s long past time to drop the passive aggression.

  22. Ralph Baldwin says:

    John Reid lol

    You couldn’t be more wrong lol.

  23. Clr Ralph Baldwin says:

    I think this highlights my case on so many levels of wrong…..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jack-dromey-payments-breached-mp-rules-6291775.html

  24. Chris Hawes says:

    Lovely man this Luke I’m sure. But he’s a Tory thus Tory party best

  25. Tim Sewell says:

    We find ourselves at a juncture where malcontents to the left are joining the Greens and malcontents to the right are joining the Conservatives (notice they don’t opt for the Liberals, now that party has doomed itself).

    This is probably a good thing.

    As Labour takes up its natural position as a centre left social democratic party – doing the job it was invented to do – there are bound to be those for whom it doesn’t go far enough in one or other direction. Given that those are the elements who generally lose us elections (the left pre-Blair, the right post-Blair) I think we can wish Mr. Bozier fair weather and strongly encourage Mr. Watt to follow him.

  26. mark polden says:

    I picked up this thread as I have been interested broadly in labours complete and utter failure. Labour used to stand for the working man but since 1997 threw that away and if anything has become an extortion racket for the public sector. This is because since thatcher the unions have become ghettoised within the public sector. As a small business man i have no desire to return to that era but also do not desire the corporatism of the tory party and hate the dictatorial nature of europe so vote ukip. I could be persuaded to vote labour because I believe in the power of the working man but labour has sold me down the river in encouraging the benefit culture to the point in the hard times it is a tossup whether to bother carrying on work because i would receive as much on the dole. Labour needs to be honest and admit its faults of 1997-2009 and get sideline the characters involved and start with fresh blood. It needs to stamp on immigration and assylum seeking, reinstate grammar schools to give clever poor kids a method to excell and not so clever be taught non academic life skill. I have no doubt this will fall ondeaf ears though.

  27. Anon E Mouse says:

    I like Luke Bozier – he was always polite and in complete contrast to other, shall we say “less honest” Labour activists and those silly tribal types on other less reputable sites.

    What is worrying is how Labour smear merchants never want to discuss points and only want to attack people’s characters – you should know.

    Until Labour get’s rid of tribalism it will never capture the public mood or govern this country again and the sooner they realise that the better.

    The party is a shambles and no one can blame Luke Bozier for jumping ship. This country never has or never will want to be Socialists and Labour activists need to either grow up or go and join another party because the working man is no longer represented by these stupid student types.

    The reasons Luke Bozier (especially considering his family connections to Labour) left need to be addressed and addressed quickly. Good post….

    This comment has been edited.

  28. John P Reid says:

    Mark polden, thanks for this, it would be interesting to see pre 1979 what percentage of the ‘working class ,small busines man’ didn’t vote tory,

  29. bert says:

    One of the greatest myths perpetrated by the Left is that they are somehow more caring, or compassionate, or charitable. What utter nonsense. None of the Labour voters I know donate to charity – almost all of the Tory voters do; none of them take part in community projects; almost all of the tory voters do; very few of them have ever worked in private business, or are net tax payers; almost all of the tory voters are/do; ALL of the Labour voters carry around with them a disgruntled, overwhelming sense of entitlement; the Tory voters do not.

    Whoever this Luke fella is, he is obviously an intelligent man who has seen through the fallacy of socialism and deeply entrenched left wing dogma. Good on you, Luke – welcome to the human race.

  30. Michael says:

    Politics is a thinking person’s game – yet so often it turns into just a slightly angrier version of football hooliganism.

    Ask why an Arsenal fan hates Spurs and you’ll get a response along the lines of “I’ve always hated them – they’re scum”. Ask a Labour supporter why they hate the Tories and they’ll reply with something similar.

    Tribalism is the scourge of British politics – and the Labour party have reveled in it during Miliband’s leadership. Miliband refused to work with Clegg on political reform, he marches his troops through the ‘No’ lobby to oppose things that Blair used to champion such as academies (a project which has turned around failing schools) and attacks the private sector like they are a pack of wolves trying to tear the poor and vulnerable apart.

    What saddens me most as a moderate, centre-left urban liberal (ie: Ed’s demographic) is that there is so much potential for members of all parties to work together to improve policy. Andrew Adonis and Alistair Darling should be working with Lib Dems and Tories on High Speed Rail and other infrastructure projects – they’re joint venture schemes between the 3 parties – but politics dictates “thou must hate something that the other lot are doing” – and Ed has come up with a fudged semi-opposition involving routing via heathrow.

    Coalition politics is refreshing compared with a government of toadies blindly doing what dear leader says. We should be broadening the tent even further – Well done to Hutton and co who have dared to be called a traitor for trying to help the government improve our country.

    I fear that next, Ed Miliband will march the troops against gay marriage because it is the evil Lib Dems fighting for it the strongest.

    Personally I hope we have a coalition involving Labour and another party (maybe the libs, maybe the nationalists) rather than a majority Labour government – coalitions force parties to work beyond tribalism and thus nullify some of the ego trips that Prime Ministers wish to embark on, like the Iraq war or scrapping European human rights laws.

  31. Rob the cripple says:

    New labour died, Luke was on the out side he did not like it, be thinks he can improve his out look in the Tories, fine by me these people see parties in terms of earnings. I spent 46 years in labour and left because it was no more left then I am to the right. he told everyone how high up he was to improve his chance of getting a job, that’s political life, Hutton Field Purnell all do the same.

    But the fact is this labour party is closer to the Tories then it is to the left.

  32. Robert says:

    My god how many on here are going to carry on joining the Tories, this place is now a second Progress

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