Saturday, October 07, 2006

John for leader

John McDonnell MP is a sound fellow isn't he?

Yes he is, and he's also in the race to become the next Labour Prime Minister of this country. Considering the fact he has an excellent record against war, privatisation and racism he'd certainly be a break from tradition.

I thought I'd go and look up some factoids about the chap. This is my top five 'interesting' things to say about McDonnell.

  1. John was Livingstone's deputy on the GLC until 1985 when they fell out because sissy boy Ken didn't want to set an illegal budget and John did. Red Ken gave him the boot for being too radical.
  2. John was one of only 19 MPs to vote against the Armed Forces Bill (and here, and what he said in the House) which introduced life imprisonment for desertion.
  3. In '92 John stood for his home town seat of Hayes and Harlington, but lost by 53 votes. Gutted! Never mind, he then won a seat at the '97 election with a wapping 62% of the vote.
  4. In May 2003 he praised the IRA, saying "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA". Apparently some people did not approve.
  5. He voted for the smoking ban introduced by the government (his record on smoking)

Obviously I wish him the best of luck in his valiant attempt to raise socialist politics inside the Labour Party. Now my question for you is simple, what should people who are not members of the Labour Party do to aid his campaign?

Please, please, please don't say join the Labour Party because I'd find that terribly tedious, let's move on to new ground. Thank you for your cooperation.


Ed said...

Is that a rolled up newspaper in his pocket or is he just pleased... etc

Jim Jay said...

It's a bizarre pose he's striking - I'm thinking that the strange expression on his face may back up your theory Ed...

Peter said...

Isn't he 'in the race' in the same way that marathon runners in hippo costumes are 'in the race'?

The nature of the British electoral system means that the conservatives do best when portraying themselves as far to the left as possible without alienating too many on the right; and labour do best when portraying themselves as being as far to the right as possible without alienating too many on the left.

It would be electoral suicide for Labour to elect a leftist as leader. They need to elect somebody from the political centre to stay in power.

Ironically, by standing, this is exactly what McDonnell will help to achieve. He may take enough votes from a centre-left candidate to allow a true centrist/Blairite to romp home.

Political arithmetic is a strange bird.

Jim Jay said...

I don't think history bears you out on your thesis about everyone leaning towards the middle - but I loved the hippo costume analogy, and i agree that the Labour Party is not a socialist party and so it would be very strange if it did elect a socialist leader

but I think the intention is to raise left politics rather than conquer the commanding heights of the party (I might be wrong about that of course)

weggis said...

Our local Labour lot recently had a hustings but they advertised it as a public meeting also covering the local NHS situation. So I and more than a few other non-Labs attended. On the menu was John and Harriet Harman.

Having read his leaflet and listened to him [he completely wiped the floor with Harriet] I suggested to him afterwards that he join the Green Party.