Friday, July 25, 2008

There is life after Glasgow East

Okay, okay waking up this morning to news of the defeat in Glasgow wasn’t exactly a great start to the day but it’s happened.

It was not exactly unexpected and such is life – this is after all what happens in politics. The Nats won by 365 votes out of 25,259 votes cast on a 42.25 turnout.

I’m not going disguise the fact that this is a defeat but it is not unimaginable that Labour could have sneaked in by a similar margin. Then the headlines would have still been bad but the mood music would have been very different.

I don’t think anything in politics is predictable and I do not think defeat for Labour at the next general election is at all inevitable. I am not sure that a change of leader will make any difference, change of policies - yes. There may not have been a local government strike in Scotland in the run up to this election but UNISON are balloting Scottish council staff members over their below inflation (pay cut) offer of 2.5%. I am sure that there were at least 365 council workers in Glasgow East who had received a strike ballot paper in the last week or so.

By coincidence last night in West Ham we had probably our most constructive Labour Party campaign committee meeting I have ever chaired. Despite our difficulties and differences there is still lots of enthusiasm for the Party.

After all it is only just after a year since the stunning Labour victory in Ealing and Southall (19 July 2007). Mind you I won’t go down “a year is a long time in .....


Bill Quango MP said...

no its not over yet.

In Ealing Southall, Labour's majority fell from 11,440 to 5,070.
the first signs of the storm couds?

sorry john, I don't see any possibility of a Labour victory.
What's odd is so many supporters seem to want to go on.
When john major shuffled into the 1997 election many Tories wanted the embarrassment to end.
it was humiliating being beaten by on policy, on charisma, on sleaze..
and the Tories had a golden economy to play with.

Do you really want this farce to continue?

the Tories were wiped away by Blair's landslide. They only retained the narrowest support of self interested people. this led to years to such disasters as Howard- save the pound - cut spending on the NHS - Europe - Death penalty etc..
The world had moved on look how long it took to recognise it.

Now, I concede a weak and frightened and desperately cash strapped Labour party is good for Union legislation. But if they are returned with 50 MPs what's the point?

Surely better to dump the man perceived responsible and begin the mantra of 'real change'
Labour won't win any elections, but it may not go completely down the plug hole.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bill, expect to add that Brown in particular richly deserves the predicament he now finds himself in. Iron Chancellor? The economy in the UK is particularly badly placed to get through the coming recession and he was arrogant enough to believe that he had banished the economic cycle of boom and bust. He sold our gold reserves off at the worst possible moment, and raided our pensions. Next he will be abandoning his Golden economic rules? Labour and Brown make it up as they go along. Frankly whether they ditch Brown or not the game is up. Lets just hope that Labour cling to power for as long as possible so that everyone gets to really understand the extent to which Labour and in particular Brown have cocked this up. Ten years in power? Brown is finally going to go down as not only the most unpopular Primemimister since 1900 but one of the worst chancellors. Outstanding....and finally John...I recall you telling us for weeks Ken would be beating Boris - well you got that wrong mate, oh and Gordon was going to call a snap that one wrong too...and now you are wrong about Labour and the next election - you are going to be quite justifiably annihalted. Get Tom P to a put a post up about how actually Gordon has done a great job with the economy - we could all do with a laugh in Gordon's final days in the bunker.

Anonymous said...

Lets face reality the New Labour party are just a bunch of Tories passing a law to crimilise the long term unemployed and make them slaves must be the final straw. I see the Trade Unions think making people slaves is a good idea as l haven’t read anything about Trade Unions objecting to New Labours latest attack on the poor. Keep up the good work because at the next election New Labour will be virtually extinct as a political force.

Anonymous said... extinct as old Labour! Keep going and there will hopefully be no more Labour at all!

Anonymous said...

Shettleston By Election.
In a area with 50%unemployed with life expectancy lower than Iraq Thanks to ZaNulabour we also have slavery.
Laws passed by the ZaNuLABOUR party,”The New Deal” makes slaves of the long term unemployed. My brother has been on numerous schemes never finding a job at the end of any of them not even minimum wage jobs. Now we hear the workers party has passed a new law to crimilise the long term unemployed.ZaNulabour are a affront to descent British thinking,even the Trade Unions appear to be anti-working class by there total silence of the abuse the unemployed suffer. Thank god the people in Scotland have the S.N.P as a alternative and don’t be surprised if ZaNuLabour lose there core vote in England to the B.N.P.

John Gray said...

Hi Bill

Many apologies for the delay in responding – dreadful computer problems - see what happens with free markets and private manufacturing! Bring back ICL! (Joke).

Ealing was a huge victory – 3rd term government winning by-elections with big majorities? Now, I do agree with your analysis of the Major government, but the current Labour government should be a million miles away from the Tories situation in 1997.

You are trying to have it both ways. Are the current “difficulties” Brown’s fault or the Party/governments? This cannot be just about Brown, even though as leader he has to take responsibility. This is about “the economy stupid” and the Tories finally moving back to the centre. It is going to be tough, but the Tories do inspire me on this issue strangely enough....

If John Major could win in 1992 then Gordon Brown can still win in 2010.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon1
Quite right - Even though the polls showed Boris in the lead I did think Ken would get in again. That was proved wrong, but I did not say Gordon was going to hold a snap election? I still feel that it is likely that Gordon will lead us into victory at the next election. However, it is going to be tough. I actually think that if Gordon felt he was a hindrance to the Party winning that he would resign.

Hi Anon2
Please read some proper history books! Maybe one on the slave trade would be educational?

Hi Anon3
The New Labour Coalition is still about – alive and kicking (even if we are kicking each other at the mo)

Hi Anon4
I am not 100% sure about the proposed reforms but I am sure that it will not make “slaves” of anyone. This is just silly to suggest this.

Your connection though of high unemployment with low life expectancy is real. This is what the government is trying to change. Something needs to be done. Leaving people to rot on substance disability benefits is not an option.

The “tartan Tories” (aka “SNP”) are no friends of the working classes. Yes, the BNP have taken “some” of our core vote which we need to address, but they have also taken votes from the Tories/Lib Dems as well.

Anonymous said...

Seriously you seem a nice enough chap but even you must see the damage this Neo-Nazi Labour party is doing to our country and to the working class movements in general. We have virtually no trade unions left in the private sector; it’s like living in soviet Russia with a two tier workforce. The poorest are now poorer after 11 years of this horrible phoney government. They appear to detest the working class who l may add were there core voters.Everyone l talk too hates this labour party anyway bye for now till the next argument.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon
Come along now, calm down, calm down – yes there is problems, big problems – but Labour for all its faults is the party of ordinary working people in Britain.

I think come the election people will remember this.

Damien McKee said...

What is your view on MP's such as Jim Dobbin as well as peers such as Lord Alton back in July 2008 saying that the HFE Bill that was going through parliament at that stage and was due back in the commons in October helped contribute to Labour's defeat in that by-election?

John Gray said...

Hi Damien

It probably did contribute to the defeat.