Posts Tagged ‘Yvette Cooper’

A win on second preferences is second-rate victory

28/07/2015, 03:22:41 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Why would a Labour leader, elected as the second or third preference of party members, go on to become the first choice of voters?

After all, coming second in the British parliamentary system usually means you’ve lost. Winning the contest by default would surely represent an inauspicious start to the leadership of an organisation that seeks to win the hearts and minds of millions of people.  

The question arises for two reasons. First, because of the unpredictability of the Labour leadership contest. The main evidence about who will win (opinion polls and the share of constituency party nominations) offers only a partial guide and shows no candidate commanding a clear majority. As a result, the mechanics of the process – which candidates come third and fourth and thus see their support transfer to the two frontrunners – may become all-important and is the current preoccupation of all camps.

The second reason is that Yvette Cooper’s campaign (third in the number of constituency party nominations) is said to basing her strategy on precisely this scenario, assiduously targeting the second preferences of Labour members in a bid to “come through the middle” as other candidates are winnowed out.

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Sorry, that Labour leadership poll is nonsense. Jeremy Corbyn is going to finish fourth

22/07/2015, 05:24:43 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Remember the general election, when most reports on voting intention turned out to be total tosh?

Well, here we go again.

The general election hopelessly wrong-footed most commentators for two reasons: dodgy polls and shouty lefty Twittervists.

The polls created an illusion that Ed Miliband and Labour were a nose in front. Labour’s voluble activist base on Twitter then leapt on every iffy poll and each tweet describing yet another great session on the #Labourdoorstep to amplify and broadcast the narrative that Ed Miliband was about to become prime minister.

Understandably, most journalists looked on and followed the crowd. The pollsters and the Twittervists seemed to be saying the same thing.

A self-reinforcing spiral of delusion took hold that was only broken when the public’s actual votes shattered the Westminster’s conventional wisdom on the evening of May 7th.

Now, it’s happening again in the Labour leadership race.

YouGov have provided the poll and the Twittervists have been hard at work since news of it broke last night (though in truth, this process was already under way, with the equally misleading CLP nominations being used as the metric of choice by Corbyn’s online barmy army).

The problem, as at the general election, is that the polling is misleading.

In the case of the Labour leadership race, the capability of any polling company to accurately sample members is highly questionable.

For online polling, the problem is particularly acute.

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The Conservative view: There’s no doubt, Liz Kendall is the candidate that Tories fear

20/07/2015, 01:22:09 PM

by Matthew Plummer

Life since our epic victory on May 8th has been a bit like recovering from Christmas lunch – having gorged myself on Christmas pudding, goose (of course) and canvassing I’ve been struggling to find the enthusiasm for things like charades, EVEL and reform of the Human Rights Act. But I was jolted out of the obligatory post-election / Queen’s Speech snooze when my local MP Sadiq Khan livened things up by nominating Jeremy Corbyn for your leadership contest.

Corbyn’s opposition to PFI and the Iraq War always struck me as principled and decent, but politically he makes Ed Miliband look like pure box-office. So when the midday deadline for nominations passed tribalism duly kicked in: I downloaded my ‘Corbyn for Leader’ twibbon (apparently that’s how you lefties do things) and began to tweet excitedly about Brother Jeremy. Although being really honest I can’t say I had any intention of parting with the £3 needed to become a registered supporter of the Labour Party – #JezWeCan and your open primary didn’t seem like my business.

And your leadership options aren’t exactly inspiring. Andy Burnham was in charge of the nation’s purse strings when the public finances started to run out of control and – uncomfortably for him – he failed to act decisively over the Mid-Staffs abuse scandal when he was Secretary of State for Health. His schtick is scaremongering about Tory privatisation of the NHS. Good luck with that: we are pro-market because we believe that is the way to drive up care standards, which is perhaps why Burnham himself oversaw the privatisation of Hinchinbrooke Hospital.

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Would Corbyn really lead us back into the political wilderness?

17/07/2015, 11:19:35 AM

by Brian Back

Let me make this clear from the start; I am backing Liz Kendall for the leadership of the Labour Party. I believe that she has the vision, the strength, the passion, conviction and charisma that we require in a leader, if we want to be successful.

When I read that Jeremy Corbyn was ahead in the polls, I was understandably dismayed. However, my dismay came; not at the thought of Corbyn leading the party, but at the thought of how members of the party would react to this news.

I was right to be dismayed, as various explanations of how Corbyn would be a disaster for the party soon surfaced and the predictable spats on social media dutifully followed. This has clearly demonstrated to me, that the biggest danger we face within the party, is not the issue of going too far to the left, right, or centre, but the problem of disunity.

It is division, rather than political position, which should be our primary concern.

All Labour members must remember we are defined much more by what unites us, than what divides us. We all want the same thing- a fairer society; only our methods for achieving this differ.

As long as we are guided by the values and principles we profess to hold- those of fairness, equality and democracy, then any of the candidates should be able to do a decent job of leading the party.

Every one of the candidates has grown and bloomed, because of the demands of the leadership contest and they have all shown themselves to be very worthy of our support.

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What happens when you ask normal voters what they think of the Labour leadership candidates?

16/07/2015, 05:38:05 PM

by Karen Bruce

On Saturday while many Labour members in Yorkshire were at the leadership hustings in Leeds I was with my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle running our local Labour party stall at the Rothwell carnival.

It’s a great opportunity to be seen by hundreds of local people and to chat with them about local issues. This year we decided to ask them two questions. The first was a specific local issue about how to spend £180,000 of ‘Section 106’ money from housing developers that has to be spent on environmental and greenspace projects. The second was to listen to what they thought about the four Labour leadership candidates.

To make it a bit more fun we had buckets with each leadership candidate’s picture on and lots of coloured balls so people could put one in their choice of candidate’s bucket.

We also created a one-page profile on each candidate so people could read and find out a little bit more about them. I’d originally wanted to put a 35 word statement from each candidate saying why Rothwell people should vote for them. I tweeted all four campaigns at 10:25 on Friday morning, but unfortunately only Andy’s campaign replied so we had to create the profiles ourselves.

The first paragraph of the profile was about their personal history – where they came from and what they did before they entered politics. The second paragraph detailed their experience in parliament and government. Both of these were taken from information on each candidate’s website and Wikipedia. The third paragraph was from their websites and was quotes about what they stood for and believed in.

Both of our questions sparked quite a bit of interest. The photos of the candidates on our buckets certainly made people look to see what we were doing. The results were interesting.

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Rationally, it shouldn’t matter that Liz Kendall has no kids. But it does.

08/07/2015, 03:18:08 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Of all the reasons to support the admirable Yvette Cooper’s Labour leadership bid, her domestic arrangements seem one of the more trivial. Yet, this is apparently enough to seal the deal for Bishop Auckland MP, Helen Goodman.

She wrote an article the other day suggesting she was backing Cooper because “as a working mum, she understands the pressures on modern family life.” (Apparently this is the same Helen Goodman who wrote this passionate feminist critique of the Blue Labour traditional view of women’s roles, criticising its adherents for “harking back to a Janet and John 1950’s era”. But I digress…)

Her piece and its sentiment have been replayed as a coded attack on the childless Liz Kendall, who, ergo, cannot understand ‘the pressures on modern family life.’

Does it matter whether the next Labour leader has children or not? Most reasonable people would suggest not, but Labour politics is awash with identity politics. The party has all-women shortlists for selecting all its political representatives because it is said to matter that ‘our politics looks like the electorate’.

Indeed, not content with addressing the shortfall in female public representation, there are now growing calls for the introduction of BME shortlists for the same reason. (And not content with representation on the grounds of gender and race, Andy Burnham has even raised the issue of the Labour frontbench not having enough regional accents).

And as this leadership contest wends its way through a long, bored summer, there is a strong prospect that two men – Burnham and Tom Watson – will become leader and deputy leader in September, a prospect that bothers some, who see it as a step backwards in terms of gender balance.

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For Labour to win again we need Tory switchers. Only Liz Kendall can reach them

08/07/2015, 09:31:29 AM

by Cameron Beavan-King, Jake Pitt and Sam Foulder-Hughes

For those who spent time on the doorstep relentlessly trying to win voters round, it probably doesn’t need to be said that the 7th of May was a bit of a tough night. In Labour’s key seats, the results were mixed and often random; we failed to win North Warwickshire, which had a Tory majority of 54, whilst Wes Streeting managed to overturn an 8,000 majority in Ilford North. In some seats we even went backwards, notably in Morley and Outwood, but also in our southern strongholds in Southampton and Plymouth which went from red to blue.

Having campaigned in seats in the West Midlands, London and the South East, we know the great challenges that face the party in winning back trust on the economy, reaching out to voters aspirations and more broadly just seeming fit for government. It’s not an issue we seek to, or could, address wholly in one opinion piece, however the direction Labour needs to head in to win in 2020 is clear. Liz Kendall is the candidate who offers by far the best chance of returning to power in five years time.

Most elections in European democracies are still decided by the Bill Clinton rule, that “it’s the economy, stupid” and so the party with the most coherent and positive vision will almost always win. The party campaigned on a variety of important issues, such as abolishing the cruel bedroom tax. However we forgot the silent majority of British people who aren’t in dire poverty but aren’t rich either, who pays their tax and work hard. These are the ‘shy Tories’ we have to bring back in order to build a winning coalition once again like Tony Blair did in in three successive elections.

For many ‘aspiration’ is a political buzz word, but for families it is about reaching their potential and doing best by those who rely on them. It can’t be understated how important is for our party to embrace, with no ifs or buts, the working and middle class families who simply want to get on and do well for themselves. The last Labour government and the coalition relied on centrally run public services to achieve social change far too much, without realising how unaccountable they are to local people.

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No, no, Yvette

01/07/2015, 06:10:20 PM

by Rob Marchant

Yes, leadership candidates need to appeal to party before they can become leader and do anything at all.  But the lengths to which some will go to tickle the tummy of a party, which has just suffered two disastrous election defeats, continues to beggar belief.

Better – for the sake of kindness – to gloss over Andy Burnham’s statement that this was “the best manifesto that I have stood on in four general elections”. I mean, what can have possessed him?

To be fair, it is difficult to see it, as some have, as an attempt to lay the blame for the party’s recent meltdown squarely at the door of Ed Miliband. That would be especially difficult, with Burnham’s area of the NHS front and centre in the campaign; and also given that he followed it immediately with the words “I pay tribute to Ed Miliband”.

Which leaves us with one of two far worse conclusions: either that it was convenient lip-service; or that he simultaneously believed Labour had both the right candidate and the right manifesto, and still lost catastrophically. A level of cognitive dissonance verging on the Orwellian.

But just as we thought there could be no dafter statements from the mainstream candidates (after all, daft statements from Jeremy Corbyn are to be expected), up pops Yvette Cooper, asking for Labour to double the number of ethnic minority (BAME) MPs if the party were to win a majority.

A laudable aim, on the face of it. Except when you stop to think about what it actually means.

First, look at the logic: “More than 15% of Labour voters are from BAME communities but just 10% of Labour MPs.” Note that we do not talk about Britain as a whole, just Labour voters (clearly we do not aspire to encourage people who do not yet vote Labour). According to Wikipedia, only 13% of Britons are from ethnic minorities (11% if you exclude those of mixed race). Do we honestly think that there are folk out there saying, “Cuh! That Labour party. They’ve cheated us out of three per cent! It’s an outrage! We demand the exact same percentage and nothing less!”

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The Tories need to be introduced into Labour’s leadership race

18/06/2015, 10:52:14 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Labour’s leadership race needs to become a lot less comradely. Last night’s debate was a pedestrian trot through the expected.

There was little direct challenge with even less to enlighten members on how these candidates would bear up when facing the Tory meat-grinder.

This has to change.

Gordon Brown serenely glided through his selection without having once been put under the type of pressure the Tories subsequently exerted on him every day.

While his disastrous leadership was little surprise to several of those who had worked with him at close quarters in government, for the rest of the Labour party his inability to deal with sustained political attack was a nightmarish revelation.

Ed Miliband triumphed without once having been robustly challenged on his innate lack of electability or an economic platform that totally ignored the judgement of the British people at the 2010 election.

Yet again, the Labour party was largely unprepared for what the Tories did to him.

This time, the membership need to see the leadership contenders run through their paces in a live-fire environment.

US primaries vet their aspirants in a way British parties’ leadership elections rarely do. Obama was a far better candidate for having faced Hillary and her 3am call ad.

The Tories need to be introduced into Labour’s leadership election.

What would they do to these candidates?

Andy Burnham is in many respects the ideal contender on paper. Experienced, decent and committed.

But he was also chief secretary to the Treasury just before the crash and opposed a full public inquiry for Mid Staffs as secretary of state for health.

This clip from the general election, highlights the continuing political danger from Mid Staffs and his inability to answer the most obvious and basic Tory attack. (more…)

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I’m a Socialist. I’m on the left. I’m backing Liz Kendall

17/06/2015, 04:51:28 PM

by Daniel Charleston Downes

I remember the first time that I read Karl Marx. I studied sociology at university and I remember reading it and my world view falling apart. Up to that point as a grammar school boy who used to stay up all night reading biographies of Thatcher and her cabinet, I thought I had a pretty good idea of which way my political ideology was going to pan out. Marx blasted that apart, he guided me through the Matrix.

I went on to devour other Marxists texts becoming obsessive about theory and ideology. Even at this stage, the high point of my intellectual journey into socialism, I felt uncomfortable with the Occupy movement and other far-left protest groups. I had become a religious zealot, as far as I was concerned I had found the Promised Land, the task now was to take as many people there with me as possible. I didn’t understand why everyone else was so angry, aggressive and insular.

The left hasn’t changed since then, at least not the hard left. It is still a movement that clings more to the processes of socialism (nationalisation, higher taxes for the rich, no private investment in state services etc.) rather than the values. Most of the time it feels as though these ideals are held religiously without any acceptance of challenge, the lack of flexibility has allowed the left to stagnate and fall apart. The lack of fresh ideas or an optimistic vision has seen the left become a rock for tenacious veteran campaigners and a disenfranchised and destructive youth.

Jeremy Corbyn represents for me the huge errors that the left has made over the last 50 years. He, like many others, is an apologist and even supporter of ‘socialist’ dictators in South America. His passion for the disenfranchised leads him to make peculiar and outrageously inaccurate statements about radical Islamic militants in Hamas and Hezbollah. He clings, like many others, to the nostalgic dream of nationalisation without a clear vision of what can be achieved by a larger state.

Corbyn’s aggressive anti-Israel stance is, in a typical leftist fashion, both inconsistent with his support of nations where human rights abuses take place in the name of socialism and drifts often into anti-Semitism. I have no affiliation with leftist organisations that see wealth and power as evil and place Jewish people in their narrative as always having both.

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