Sunday, May 24, 2009

Poor Little Georgia!

Again I have to admit my interest in the Labour Party going-ons in the Erith and Thamesmead constituency is because for most of the time I lived in the UK my home was there. Yesterday's Evening Standard interview with Georgia Gould must give you a chuckle. Guessing that most things she does follow Daddy and his friends advice, the Blairite spin doctors got it wrong yet again.

The Standard allows Georgia to whinge about how she was smeared during the selection process without any questions from the Standard's 'reporters'. In fact it looks like a celebrity press release from Max Clifford rather than an interview. Were reporters David Cohen and Joe Murphy actually there.

Let's read a paragraph in her 'own' words as she does her poor little rich girl act. "I was the victim of a well orchestrated and vicious smear campaign," she said. "Every day, I'd wake to articles in the media, and they came from both the Left and the Right, assailing me for being too rich, too young, too inexperienced, but mostly — too well connected. There were days the flak got so bad that I became quite depressed, which is really quite unlike me, and I never wanted to get out of bed."

What she doesn't mention is that in order to help her the local constituency party chairman was removed and her helpers started a campaign to misuse postal votes so she could win without having to get the majority of those who actually turn up for the party selection meeting. (The rules on postal voting at this stage are they should only be used when there are good reasons for not being able to attend the meeting.)

I love this bit. "It's not about Old Labour or New Labour, or Blairites or Brownites any more," she said. "These are old divides, a false split, a dead language, and they speak of a moribund politics that totally misses the point." So I guess Georgia doesn't work for the Blair Faith Foundation then and the papers got it wrong. Who was it that got her on the shortlist one wonders?

Whatever the aims of this piece of New Labour spin, and whether it was done by Alistair Campbell or not, the outcome was it didn't work. Just look at the comments under the article. It seems to be running at 90% against poor Georgia. (A note to the spin doctors - it just doesn't work any more. With the MP expenses scandal people just don't believe in you. They won't clap their hands to bring back Tinkerbelle, or Campbell, or Mandelson.)

Sadly where the article is correct is that Georgia Gould will probably turn up again as a candidate for a Labour seat at the next election and it will probably be through a women only shortlist in a 'safe' Labour seat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More on Labour's National Executive Committee

Below is a quote from Roy Hattersley, I think writing in the Guardian. Now Roy could never be accused of being a rabid lefty so it's worth reading.

"When I was a member of Labour's national executive, Tony Benn would make long speeches about the plot to transfer all power from party members to the parliamentary leadership. Neil Kinnock and I shook our heads in bewilderment and mumbled about the need for Tony to lie down in a darkened room. I now realise that, far from being demented, he was prescient. The prime minister no doubt congratulates himself that it has become virtually impossible for Labour party members who disagree with his policies to make nuisances of themselves at the annual conference. But the complaint that it is no longer possible to express dissent is why so many members have left the party. In the short term the changes guarantee a quiet life. But when the pendulum begins to swing there will be too few members with enough long-term loyalty to defend an increasingly unpopular government."

Return the power to the people.

So Gordon Brown has asked Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) to decide which MPs should be deselected. The sub-committee which will do this will chaired by Blairite Kath Speight, (see picture), the NEC's chairperson. We can expect then that those close to Brown and Blair will escape punishment by the party. I would be very surprised if the NEC went after Hazel Blears, Jacqui Smith, Tony McNulty, Ed Balls & wife, Geoff Hoon and the chief whip, Nick Brown.

Who will not get any say in deselection are the constituencies these people represent via their constituency parties (CLPs). The power to choose Labour Party candidates was taken away from the local parties years ago, but Kinnock, Blair and company made it even more difficult as a way of stopping entrists like Militant choosing. That may or may not have been correct at the time, but now there is no need to guard the central leadership's power quite so closely. This power has been misused badly with shortlists and cronies parachuted in.

Let the CLPs decide if they want to deselect these and other expense thieves in the party. If the party feels it necessary they can have the right to refuse a prospective replacement but they must stop the forcing of favourites on the local parties. Even Blair had to go through this process. No more shortcuts! No more Georgia Goulds.