Monthly Archives: July 2013

Did the South London TSA break the law?

If closing Lewisham A&E is illegal because considering Lewisham Hospital as part of the answer to SE London Health Authority’s financial problems was ultra-vires because they made recommendations that were not “in relation to the trust”,  where the trust was South East London trust; will the Secrteary of State look to recover the fees of the Trust Special Administrator who made a recommendation later proven to be illegal.

What do you think?

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Save Lewisham A&E – Hunt’s broken the Law

Hunt’s closure of Lewisham A&E ruled illegal by the High Court, and here’s how various supporters of the campaign reacted.

Mark, the artist taxi driver seems to like swearing, a lot! What he seems to like swearing about and at is the Tories! This isn’t a problem for me, in fact I find him funny, but some may find his language offensive. Of course, what he’s talking about is pretty offensive.

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Labour’s Open Primaries

Luke Sorba expressed his opposition to open primaries in candidate selections at one of our all members meetings and then put them in writing in an article on Labour List, Do Primaries damage multi-party democracy?

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Cleaning up politics

Dear Ed,

Thank you very much for announcing that you were going to ignore the “Refounding Labour” consultation by writing to me from a “no reply” address. I always appreciate those. I’d also like to thank you for when you got round to it, allowing me to submit my views by posting them to what is becoming a classic one nation labour’s web property, the  ‘consulting bit bucket’. I shall be putting this on my blog, and posting a summary to my member’s net bog.

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What should Lewisham Labour do next?

Some thoughts from New Cross Labour,

Lewisham’s Labour Group have launched an internet consultation, at Lewisham Together , a wordpress site,, anyone can contribute ideas to Labour’s Manifesto for Lewisham’s Mayor and Labour Group.  The Labour Party has been choosing candidates over the last six months and campaigning on the doorstep since they won back control of the council in 2010. As part of the consultation, Mayor Steve Bullock came to New Cross Labour Party to talk about the next administration. Members of neighbouring Brockley Ward were also invited, which is how I got there.

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Innocent until proved guilty

Having been to see “If Only” and reflected on triangulation and careerism in the Labour Party, the ramifications of the Falkirk selection affair became clearer. Last Wednesday week ago, at a Prime Minister’s Question time that Cameron actually turned up to,  Ed Miliband let Cameron accuse him of being in the pocket of Len McClusky and Unite. This is from a man who ‘let go’ his Party Treasurer for being accused by the Sunday Times of selling access, the leader of a Party where parliamentary committee members are selling their time and actions to lobbyists and the man who offered Andy Coulson, the man whom, it would seem, authorised the original Hackgate, a job in Downing St. It’s arguable that Ed Miliband has been trying to catch up since and he has taken the Falkirk selection as his trigger for action.

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If Only

Last weekend, I went to see “If Only”, a play by David Edgar about the politics surrounding the formation of the coalition and a subdued appeal for the political parties to rediscover their identities; identity destroyed by triangulation.

Triangulation is a political strategy used mainly by social democratic parties and the US Democrats, of moving to the right and forcing your opponents to differentiate themselves by moving further to the right. It’s extremely cynical and extremely dangerous. However, if it’s just about winning, it clearly worked for a number of years for the Labour Party, isolating the Tories under the leadership of Major, Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. The danger in this strategy is that many of those who genuinely agree with the policies abandoned have no-one to represent them in the national political debate; the left in society become politically voice-less. A further danger is that neither the acolytes of triangulation nor their supporters believe in what is being said and promised by politicians, it reinforces the slur that all politicians are liars by making it the truth.

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And so it begins

Four hours after Ed Miliband announces that Labour’s London Mayor Candidate will be the subject of a “Primary”, the Evening Standard reports  that Lord Andrew Adonis is considering running for Mayor. Adonis is an ex-Government Minister, who has never fought an election, and is Labour’s leading evangelist for executive directly elected Mayors and the leading evangelist for academy schools. He was made by Tony Blair, and is a leading thinker  on the right of the Labour Party and currently Chair of Progress, the Sainsbury funded think tank and caucus .

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Seamus Milne on the Trade Union’s political levies

Seamus Milne has just written about the fallout from Falkirk, the article has a sub title, “the real problem is unions aren’t influential enough.”

He makes the point that they are the only civic society movement funding ordinary people’s access to politics, and that the attack on Unite and Miliband is about reinforcing the power of the right wing, both in and outside the Labour Party.

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Clean Politics, a bit of Ed, a bit of me

Ed Miliband makes his speech; the autocue is here at Labour List. This speech more than most, one must read his words, everyone else will add their spin. So, here’s mine, by my reading, the key points for change are,

  • Affiliation Memberships by Trade Unions are to be based on consent.
  • A new code of conduct for candidates in internal elections and selections, (we have one now; so who’s fault is it that it isn’t good enough?)
  • Limiting expenditure  including  gifts in kind and 3rd party expenditure internal elections and selections (Good idea, the devil’s in the detail).
  • Regulation of CLP/TU teaming agreements (again an incremental reform; I’d like to see the evidence that the current agreements are being abused.)
  • He proposes that MP’s should be prohibited from having second jobs, (Yes please,  and include the Mayor of London in this proposal.)
  • He proposes that unspecified measures should be taken to clean up lobbying and conflicts of interests in Parliament (Perhaps the Labour Party should expel the worst offenders, and include Peers in the list.)
  • He proposes that Labour’s candidate for London Mayor is to be chosen by supporters, not members. (Why would we want the advice of people who won’t join?)

He also refers to the opening out of policy making since his election as Leader. This is delusional, moving policy initiation to a ‘bit bucket’ on the web is not extending policy making.

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Labour’s union link

The Falkirk Selection dispute has been bubbling under for months now. It exploded onto the national scene last week when the Labour leadership suspended the candiditure of Karie Murphy,  who was allegedly UNITE the Union’s chosen candidate, together with the constituency Chairman (sic). I am unclear as to whether they have decided that the NEC should play a role in the selection, and it is clear that neither the NEC nor the Orgsub have met, nor to my knowledge has the National Constitutional Committee. Tom Watson has also resigned as Deputy Chairman and Election Co-Ordinator. The usual suspects within and outside the Labour Party are attacking the Union links.

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Real (Labour) Party democracy

Paul Cotterill came out of his self imposed blogging retirement to write about the Falkirk affair at his blog, “Though Cowards Flinch”. I am glad to see him back and hope it’s  not a one off.

No traitors here!

He argues that the secretive and exclusive way in which these decisions were taken, so soon after the Refounding Labour members’ consultation is not really a harbinger of a new politics.

Most of his article relates to the issues surrounding the management of Unions’ political funds. It was written before Ed Miliband’s speech and so most comments at this time were based on presumably embargoed press releases and interested spin. Paul finishes with,

He’s done the easy bit, challenging the affiliated unions to accept the virtues of opt-in engagement.   The question is: does he have the guts to take on the PLP’s power base in the interest of real party democracy and growth.

While Paul’s journey to the obstructionism and downright destructive activities of some members of the PLP is fairly gentle, I have little doubt we’ll be hearing more.

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