Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deputy Blog

I notice that YouGov has some preliminary findings for the deputy leadership race of the Labour Party.

A number of the Labour candidates for deputy leader are rather similar to each other, politicallyStroppy says this was commissioned by Harriet Harman and who am I to disagree? A nothing! A worm, no, less than a worm - a worm with an ASBO to stop me talking to other worms who have done nothing to deserve having to put up with me. Something like that, I expect.

The first thing that strikes me is that quite a lot of people have never heard of any of the current possible contenders. Harriet and Peter come out OK but for John Cruddas to be even less well known than the non-entity Hazel Blears... well, that's going some.

Number of voters who have never heard of the possible deputy leader candidates

Harriet Harman....15%
Peter Hain.......... 28%

Hilary Benn......... 31%
Alan Johnson........32%
Hazel Blears........ 38%
Jon Cruddas........58%

Well, perhaps people would come to know them... although this might not necessarily work in their favour. Jon Cruddas is currently the candidate with the least number of people who despise him (7%) but this is surely because hardly anyone has heard of the rather mediocre Blairite come "voice of the party."

Harriet Harman tops the league in people who hate her, closely followed by Hazel Blears and Peter Hain. Although she is also joint top with Hilary Benn in the "much more likely to vote Labour" stakes with a whopping 3% each. I can see this is going to be a roller coaster ride of an election.

But what of their voting records?

Hilary Benn is strongly for ID cards, top up fees,foundation hospitals, war, and a bit keen on anti-terror laws
Hazel Blears is strongly for ID cards, top up fees, foundation hospitals, war, anti-terror laws.
Jon Cruddas is strongly for foundation hospitals and war. A bit keen on ID cards, anti-terror laws. Marginally opposed to top up fees.
Peter Hain is strongly for ID cards, top up fees, foundation hospitals, war, and a bit keen on anti-terror laws
Harriet Harman is strongly for ID cards, foundation hospitals, war, a bit keen on anti-terror laws and student fees.
Alan Johnson is strongly for ID cards, top up fees, foundation hospitals, war, anti-terror laws.

My, my what a magical cornucopia of socialist vanguardists to choose from! Only Jon Cruddas has any redeeming feature at all in that he's a little soft on students (unless they live in Iraq in which case he's for blowing them up) - all the rest are about how rabid you like your neoliberalism in the morning.

Interestingly, some on the left are favouring Cruddas as a candidate because he is the least fascist of this bunch, he has been making noises about the members having a say in their party or some such communist nonsense. There is a problem with this is though, these are things that both Blair and Brown have said before - it's meaningless - and if Cruddas's vision of the party is still one of war, repressive legislation and privatisation (which it is) then what's the point of the left if they're going to give this dangerous clone their support? Cruddas couldn't even bring himself to vote for a mild inquiry into the war, ffs.

A socialist campaign on the leadership and deputy leadership of the Labour Party should be welcomed, in that it helps open up the debates around the key issues of our times where the Parliamentary Parties demand a stifling neoliberal consensus. This means the campaign has to focus on a progressive approach to the war on terror, the market, and immigration - which rules out support for candidates who don't raise these issues.

Shifting the government to the left is a worthwhile task, and if the Labour Left can gain a better purchase in the unions, party branches and in Parliament that can only be a good thing. But it's difficult to see why anyone should welcome the Labour Left's input into these debates if all they are going to do is ask us to settle for the least worst option out of a ruling party that has left a bloody trail of destruction across the globe.


Matt Burge said...

The new deputy would do well to take note of the blogworld! For example;

The 'Climate Change' poll now has over 100 votes and is now closed. There are some very interesting results which you can review at .

Thank you for taking part.


badmatthew said...

100 votes! The world jumps for joy!
Meanwhile, why does Jim seem to think that Cruddas is the main enemy we face?

Matt Sellwood said...

He's not the main enemy we face - just one of them....


Jim Jay said...

There's less criticism of Cruddas in this post than of the other contenders for the post.

I think if I thought he was the "main enemy" you'd not be able to count the number of Daily (Maybe) posts about him on the fingers of one, well, finger - or are you saying Cruddas is beyond criticism?

More to the point are you saying that those on the left who are tempted to support Cruddas should not be reasoned with?

working class hero said...

Cruddas has made some rather inflamatory remarks about Dagenham in which he has bleated on about 'people coming here taking our jobs' and really looking at that sad bunch of neo-liberals, I have to say that there is not much to choose from and certainly nobody I could support.

One thing is for sure, they are all Blairites/Brownites (is there a difference) and highlights the terminal malaise within the Labour Party. All of them have blood on their hands and all of them will pursue policies of privatisation, hospital closures and attacks on our civil liberties.

Scrybe said...

um, I'm a little confused as to the meaning of working class hero's assertion that Cruddas has made rather inflammatory remarks about Dagenham and 'people coming here taking our jobs' since he has worked extensively with anti-facist organisations and is tireless in his efforts to keep the BNP out of any position of power. if wch was trying to suggest that Cruddas has made comments more in line with the BNP than with Labour, then I'm afraid the evidence completely refutes such an assertion.