Saturday, June 27, 2009

Best Labour Victory in the UK – West Ham GC report

On Wednesday was our first Constituency Labour Party General Committee (GC) meeting for a number of months due to the EU election. It was very well attended and despite the pretty dire state we are supposed to be nationally, the mood was strangely upbeat and buoyant.

In the course of things I gave my report as agent on the recent election and tried to number crunch my take on how we had done.

Firstly the good news (and it was largely good locally) in Newham we had just over 40% of the vote. Not only was this share of the vote the best in London but also I understand the best anywhere in the UK. The Tories in Newham came a poor 2nd with just over 16%. London as a whole did much better than the national trend with only a 3% average drop. Our sister borough Tower Hamlets had the 3rd largest national Labour share of the vote. Maybe it is something in the water. Or maybe it’s Labour Councils delivering Labour Policies?

The borough of Newham includes the CLPs of East and West Ham as well as part of Poplar and Canning Town.

The Labour vote in Newham had actually gone up dramatically compared to 2004 but this was due in part to the collapse of the Dis-Respect vote which appeared to have pretty much returned home to Labour. For this election at least. The Labour vote mind is still down from the 50% plus of the vote that the Party use to enjoy 10 years ago. The independent Tamil candidate did take about 7% of the vote which if we earn the respect of this community next year should return to Labour.

Turnout was still very poor – we should have delivered more votes for the Party if we had mobilised better. Good news that the BNP had a drop in support and the Tories are still well behind their 1999 relative high points.

We then had a constructive debate on the lessons to be learnt from the campaign and I believe we are even better placed than before to go into a General and local election. We need crucially to keep up the campaigning and ward based activity. There was a constructive discussion on what worked and what we still need to work on. The new Newham Council policy of free school meals for all primary children is great example of clear red water between us and our opponents. More please more.

We also had another very positive discussion this time on the current state of the National Party. There was a wide range of strongly held views but delegates were polite and fair. Largely full of ideas, enthusiasm and positivity towards the future. It was suggested by the Chair that we will have these wide ranging debates on a more regular basis.

Our MP, Lyn Brown came hot foot from the House of Commons to give her report. We congratulated her on the promotion to the Whips office!

Afterward we retired to The Goose (where else) to complete the putting right of the world at £1.64 per pint.

(Picture is of Labour poster painted on meeting room wall in West Ham Party rooms).


Anonymous said...

Mothers Vote Labour?
Mothers living in Newham have a live expectancy of two years less than women in the rest of the UK.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

And under a Tory free market lazzire faire government/council it would get worse. If Boris is allowed to export all the poor to Labour supporting areas it would get worse. If Cameron and his Eton cabinet of millionaires became the government it would get worse.

Don’t you understand that life expectancy is linked to poverty and unfair distribution of wealth?

Newham is getting better, much better but there is still lots to do.

Mike Law said...

Where's your evidence John?

Seriously, you make a lot of statements on this blog but never produce any evidence.

It's great that you have an opinion (it sets you apart from the majority of your Labour colleagues on the Council) but back it up with some facts.

You'll make a brilliant Labour councillor... I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Certainly a better Labour Councillor than you were Mike.....

Mike Law said...

Again, an anonymous post by someone who hasn't got the gumption to put their name to a post about me! And you let them get away with it John!

Actually, I was a pretty good Labour councillor (even if I do say so myself). I'm sure if John was to ask John Saunders and John Whitworth for their assessment of me as a Labour councillor, I doubt if they would find any fault. And I was hard working Labour campaigner - I can produce documentary evidence if you want. Remeber, I was an active Labour Party member for many years.

If you must know, apart from the fact that the current Labour Government have taken us into a war and occupation with and of Iraq than I doubt very much many grass roots Labour members wanted; apart from the fact that we have a Labour Government that is hell bent on eroding civil liberties in the name of combating terrorism (the threat of which, incidentally, has possibly been exacerbated by this very same government's war and occupation of Iraq)...apart from this, I quit the Labour Party because I woke up to the fact that the Labour Party is pretty ineffective in Newham. It is run by a cabal of the Mayor, his mates and his cronies. Furthermore, I had to do something about some of the half-baked policies that the Mayor thought were (and are) perfectly okay and I got to a point where I was getting no-where in the Labour Party with my concerns.

You may be interested to know that the Tories have high regard for your elected "Labour" Mayor and in conversations I've had with many in the Tory Party (a number of MPs and council leaders - including Ian Clements)... they all see him as a jolly decent chap, and I got a sense of regret with some that he wasn't a Tory member.

One last point: anonymous, any chance of you showing a little tiny slither of spine and letting us know on this blog if you are either a former constituent of mine or are a current sitting Labour councillor?

John Gray said...

Hi Mike
Well it is a matter of record that Boris has asked for Labour councils to take a massively disproportionate number of new public housing. Concentrating the poor and the vulnerable is not going to help anyone. I will try and find the actual figures and post again on the London housing plan.

Surely Mike you don’t think that it is good that so many of Cameron’s shadow cabinet went to Eton and are so wealthy?

Life expectancy is linked to poverty and is far worse in poorer areas than rich. I thought that this was not controversial?

You complain about the anon commentator and suggest I should censure him/her? Well, I allow pretty much all anon comments that are critical or abusive of me so I think it is only fair to allow other “negative” comments on others (within reason). I think that on the whole I believe in the things I say and write so such negative comments don’t bother me. In fact they are Badges of Honour!

I believe that the 2 Johns have indeed written publically about the fact that you were a hard working councillor however, I am absolutely sure that they will not defend your decision to join the Tories.

I note that your views of the Mayor are not shared by your new comrades in Newham Tory Party and I don’t actually get your point about “being a jolly decent chap”? I have met a quite a few Tories who I think are decent and well meaning people but I am still convinced that they are politically wrong.

Actually, I think that Newham is probably the most left wing “tradition Labour” Council in London and maybe even in the country? For example I am pretty sure that more Council services are run by “in-house” by directly employed workers on decent terms and conditions in Newham than much of the country.