Friday, August 07, 2009

Nice One Lawson!

Was I the only one to have his commute into work ruined this morning by listening to this idiotic interview on Radio 4 Today with Compass’s Neil Lawson and Tribune’s Chris McLoughlin?

The interview was supposed to be about an article by David Miliband (of all people) published in Tribune which was interpreted as supporting the idea of a Totnes style MP selection process.

Now I suspect that many Labour Party activists including myself would have reservations about this but it is an interesting idea – what was simply unforgivable in my view was Lawson using the occasion to grandstand and attack his own Party as “Dying” a Party “that doesn’t believe in anything” where members have “absolutely no rights and no say whatsoever”.

Not only that but it is a Party that apparently “doesn’t believe in a different or better society” or has any vision and suggested it was just being run by careerists and opportunists.

With friends like this? ....What really annoys me about this is that we have less than a year to a general election? Yes, there are things wrong with the Labour Party and its internal democracy which need changing. Did this interview actually contribute to changing things or did this ex-lobbyist self publicist just achieve in getting real activists backs up?

The interviewer Jim Naughtie noted pointedly that Lawson refers to his opponents as “they” as if they are from a different party and that ordinary voters will notice this.

What I also found unforgivable is that these two self professed lefties never even bothered to discuss the only really different and radical suggestion by Miliband (again of all people) about a new possible role in the Party for the 3 million trade union political levy payers.

No, no mention of this at all – rather it was just the usual self-indulgent moans and whines by the excluded wing of the self appointed Party Intelligentsia which no doubt gets a sympathetic hearing at dinner parties and first nights.

These people self-evidently don’t give a real damn about the prospects of the Party if they are not the ones in charge. Frankly following this morning's farrago they have only succeeded in making even Hazel Blears seem an ultra Party loyalist.


Charlie Marks said...

Lawson's comments are credible - millions have stopped voting Labour, half the party has left, etc. (Lawson has been heavily involved in the campaign to stop Royal Mail being privatised - just at the time when the govt is bailing out the banks! You can understand his frustration...)

To remind people of this is forgivable - the party will have to present itself in a contrite manner at the next election. There must be modesty when discussing the positive achievements - NMW, devolution, equal rights, apprenticeships, etc.

There are many people who will want to stop the Tory takeover of parliament and know that voting Labour will be the only way to do this.

But they won't be feeling as good about voting as Tory voters will because it's always easier to vote for an opposition party than to back the incumbent at a difficult point in time.

Anonymous said...

It doesnt make any difference what Lawson does or doesnt say. what matters is what the labour Party does and it is being seen as doing very little.

Mike Law said...

Cute rant John.

However, from what I understand, the most recent selection process for Labour council candidates seems to indicate that party members are now starting to get a real say in their representation. I understand that the following sitting councillors are not on the list:
Christine Bowden; June Leitch; James Butler; Sukhdev Singh Marway; Pat Sheekey; Michael Nicholas; Judith Garfield; Ayub Korom Ali; Zulfiqar Ali; Jonathan Knott; Maureen Jones; Graham Lane; David Griffin; Regina Williams; Megan Harris Mitchell; Akbar Chaudhury; Omana Gangadharan; Lester Hudson and Ian Corbett (However, I've heard that Hudson and Corbett have appealed the decision).

Hurrah for the revival of democratic process in Newham Labour... or do I celebrate too soon.

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie
I think people are missing my point. There are lots of things wrong with the Labour Party and I for one would support significant change. However, let us get real. If you want change, rule number one is you do not go about it by rubbishing the whole of your Party. Despite everything, I and many others still feel proud and committed to campaigning for Labour.

Politics is on one level all about the “art of the possible” - persuading people about the strength of your arguments. What you don’t do is antagonise those who you want to persuade by messing on your own doorstep.

No wonder the Party is in difficulties if those who campaign for change think the best way of doing so is to smear anyone who has a different view. We all share the goal of social justice while we can’t always agree how to being this about – this means we shouldn’t be slagging off those who happen to disagree with us.

I recognise that Labour Party politics can be poisonous but I am fed up with the left and right doing their best to destroy the Party with such nonsense.

All that self righteous fanatics like Lawson achieve is to make it even more difficult for those of us who want meaningful change.

Hi Anon

Hi Mike
The panels are not over yet so I don’t think it is appropriate to comment. Have you been approved by the Tories to stand? If so where!

Charlie Marks said...

Fair enough, but would it not have been better to email Neal with your concerns than to put it on a blog? As it stands, you've called him a "self righteous fanatic" and suggested he doesn't want meaningful change.

What I get from Lawson in all his appearances and essays is not personality politics, but a concern for policy. You seem to have it backwards - I don't recall hearing any criticism of Labour policies, but plenty of bile directed towards socialists outside Labour.

Mike Law said...

Charlie has a good point - I cannot recall any instances where you have made a logical defence of some of the more questionable current Labour policies (ID cards; increases in the length of time one can be held without charge; Iraq war etc)... if you have, point me in the direction of your comments.

What is it that gives you notion that I intend to stand again?

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie
Hang on now – Lawson’s cold and deliberate decision to completely and utterly slag off Labour (listen to the actual BBC piece via the link) including all the good work the Government has done that you accept - was done publically and should be refuted publically.

The man does not appear to want change – for crying out loud he use to be a professional lobbyist! Do you think that he doesn’t realise the consequences of what he says? Does anyone actually think you get change by such means? Who is going to work with him or trust him in the future? What poor rotten judgement. He just makes meaningful change more difficult.

I firmly believe that the Labour Party can win the next election but it will not be easy – the Tories do not know how to deal with the economic crisis – “the economy stupid” will be key. But we are not going to get anywhere without self discipline.

He is convinced that we will lose – fair enough, but he should keep his mouth shut until then.

My posts also go on my Facebook account and it set off a good debate between various Party activists with different views. Your name sake Charlie M made a good point “As contributors here have shown I think we can all have a comradely debate about the options for future changes, without belittling one’s own party”. I rest my case.

For the record I don’t see anything wrong with loyalty to your political Party but I have criticised the government when necessary: - for its policy on agency rights, public service pay, privatisation, inadequate health and safety at work legislation (statutory duties on directors and jail for manslaughter), inadequate pension governance arrangements and worker representation, housing policy (rights and mass building), pointless criminalising drugs policy, allowing excessive executive pay, lack of control over legal loan sharks, FE cuts, allowing union busting etc.

I make no apology for responding in kind to all who attack the Party. Ultra left, BNP, Tories...whatever and whoever.

Hi Mike
Type in any of above in the blogger search box top left hand.

With regard to standing as a Councillor I just thought it fitted in with your plan of world domination?

Mike Law said...

Hi John,

Will check your previous posts when I get the time.

"I firmly believe that the Labour Party can win the next election but it will not be easy – the Tories do not know how to deal with the economic crisis – “the economy stupid” will be key. But we are not going to get anywhere without self discipline."

You are a card - while I agree with you that the Tories have not yet shown that they have any cogent policies to deal with the economic crisis, I fail to see how you can claim that the current Labour administration has got to grips with it.

Labour winning the next election - what odds would you put on that?

World domination... ha ha; don't go mixing me up with your elected mayor.

You know, I'm quite looking forward to you becoming an elected member on Newham council. It'll be interesting to see how long it will take for the scales to fall from your eyes re Wales' regime.

I have a couple of questions for you. Should you become a councillor will you continue to blog? And, on becoming an elected member, will you respond to any e-mail queries I send to you?
The current Labour councillors (and the respect and indie councillors) just point blank refuse to respond to anything I send them - much like the three Labour MPs.

Mike Law said...

Did as you suggested re blog search:

For ID cards I typed in "ID cards". Found one post in which you contemplate if the pictures used on a wanted poster for suspected ETA activists were taken from ID cards - you ask if this is an argument for the introduction of ID cards.

For increases in detention without charge I typed in those words - nothing.

For the Iraq war... well you can workout what I typed in as a query. A few posts came up and on a quick browse of them I couldn't find any comments from you for or against.

If I've missed something, please let me know.

John Gray said...

Hi Mike

Long and windy road to go before then.

Cricky Mike? - don't you think any of the issues I listed are important?

Current government policy in Iraq, ID Cards and increase in detention I fully support. The other stuff is about really important practical day to day trade union issues.

Mike Law said...

Not an answer John.

Will you continue to blog?
Will you respond to my queries?

It doesn't surprise me that you'd slavishly support current government policy, although I would have thought you'd have some concerns with regard to the erosion of civil liberties.

The other issues: yes they are important in their own way but I would argue that they are not as important as the preservation of individual liberty.

Charlie Marks said...

Fair points, John. But we all lose it from time to time, no? Usually he's a bit more restrained.

Certainly, fellow Compassite Jon Cruddas is always very nuanced in what he has to say about Labour, recognising weaknesses but praising the very real improvements that have been made in certain areas.

I think this is the best approach.

Incidentally, I saw Ken being interviewed on HardTalk last night. He made a very impressive case for an anti-recessionary strategy which contrasts sharply with the Tories' recipe for deepening the crisis.

The Tories were deliberately misleading over the capital expenditure brought forward - playing this as cuts to try and delegitimise very real concerns about their own policies.

We can still make this case, though - that what's needed is rebuilding, not retrenchment.

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie

Agreed on Compass, Ken and Tories.


(if I am honoured to be elected) Yes I will still blog and I will probably response to you in a similar way as I do now. Usually I do but some times some of your comments are not questions and are just not worth living to answer.

Have you ever read "How to win friends and influence People"? as a dog lover you might find it interesting.

Mike Law said...

Glad to hear that you will still blog and will respond to e-mail queries.

Interesting to note that you only respond to questions... if I make comments that are not questions then by definition (yours) that is correct - although if I make comments that you believe to be fundamentally wrong why not point out the error of my ways.

As it happens, I do have a copy of Dale Carnegie's book. Don't understand why you bring it up. Are you stating that I have no friends? Curious.

Or are you just reverting to your usual bile? It all you have, isn't it... apart from your unassailable logic.

You really are a card.

John Gray said...

Hi Mike

Please read what I posted - I would try to respond to all your questions and comments but not all the junk.

I am amazed you have got this book? Have you actually read it? Anyway - the point is I think in the first chapter - about the friendly dog you meet in the street!

Mike Law said...

That is sad... I take the time to comment on all the junk you put on this blog.

Read Carnegie's book years ago - thought it was junk - if I remember rightly, he refers to dogs because they give up unconditional love and thereby ingratiate themselves on people; much preferred
Irving Tressler's How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

I have a reading suggestion for you: The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek