Tuesday, January 09, 2007

competence or ideology?

I've had the opportunity, over the years, to campaign for many excellent Labour candidates. I have also campaigned for a few rubbish ones. The former is far more enjoyable than the latter. When it comes to internal selections or elections, therefore, I think that there are other important things apart from deciding which candidate is closest to my political views.

For example, if the leadership election is between Gordon Brown and Michael Meacher as the candidate of the Left, then I will vote for Brown without any hesitation. If Brown decided that he didn't want to have all the bother of being Leader and the election was between John Reid and Meacher, then I would cry and then vote for Reid. As the winner of my competition put it, 'even a left-wing radical Green wouldn't vote for him as he is too bonkers'.

If John McDonnell stood, and if he continued getting people back to support Labour and putting forward leftie ideas in an effective way reaching out beyond those already persuaded (as he seems to be doing at the moment), then I'd happily vote for him.

Labour activists do no one except our opponents a favour when they vote for an incompetent member of their faction over a better candidate of another internal faction. This may sound obvious, but it has always been a cause of fierce debate amongst lefties that I've known (if any Tories are reading, this doesn't apply to you - you should pick candidates who reflect what you really think and ignore any carping that they might seem to be a bit extreme by the public).

I'm really only mentioning this because I got an e-mail today saying that the only reason why I have been criticising Michael Meacher is because I fear that Meacher might be a stronger Left candidate than McDonnell and hence might pose more of a threat to my real master Gordon Brown. This most certainly is not the case and Ed Balls told me that I should deny it absolutely.

6 Comments:

At 12:09 am , Blogger el tom said...

I must say that this runs extremely close to my line of thinking, the whole post.

The other point I'd emphasise is that McDonell has some serious reaching out to do...

 
At 9:41 am , Blogger Citizen Andreas said...

To me, Michael Meacher lost all credibility with his 9/11 conspiracy theories. If he ended up Labour leader the press would have a field day and a Tory landslide would be in the offing.

 
At 1:59 pm , Anonymous Daniel Blaney said...

I'm baffled. Why the venom? Its something I usually find reserved for Tories or Liberal Democrats.

Did Michael Meacher hit you when you were a child? There must be something. There must be some pretext. If Meacher is so hopeless, why not just leave him be? He must threaten you. He must have appeal.

And he does. He recently spoke to Castle Point CLP. It was probably the best Labour Party meeting I've ever attended. (And I've attended about two terrible ones every month for fourteen years). Another comrade who had attended Labour Party conference remarked on the contrast with the anodyne addresses in fringe meetings by supposedly sparky/young-hope Ministers like current Environment Secretary David Miliband.

Blair never wanted Meacher in government, but he survived six years because he was the best Environment Minister there's ever been. (see Roy Hattersley's Guardian article of 26/3/01).

Now everyone's claiming to care about climate change. Cameron wants to beat Labour on that issue. We know he's all mouth, but Michael Meacher is the best politician on the Labour side to demonstrate he's the more convincing green.

Maybe or maybe not the best candidate for Labour Leader and Prime Minister, but there's an issue here which no one is dealing with while falling over themselves trying to undermine Meacher's reputation has a successful progressive politician.

 
At 4:17 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

Tom - what, in your view, should McDonnell do by way of reaching out?

Daniel - Interesting to hear your thoughts about Meacher, you are someone whose views I respect.

The pretext for discussing the issue is that the leftie candidate for leader will probably either be McDonnell or Meacher, I think one is a good idea and the other a daft idea, and it appears here because I use this blog to put down rants and or half formed idea (primarily for my own benefit, though comments such as your own which challenge what I've been thinking are particularly welcome). I don't really think what I say here will have any effect on how Meacher is regarded generally as a progressive politician, and you are literally the first person in about 5 or 6 years who I've heard from who thinks highly of him.

 
At 6:12 pm , Anonymous Daniel Blaney said...

You write both

"I don't really think what I say here will have any effect on how Meacher is regarded generally as a progressive politician" as a reaction to my post

and then

"you are literally the first person in about 5 or 6 years who I've heard from who thinks highly of him."

Left wing blogs seem to be in anti-Meacher over-drive. I cannot understand it. As I said, if he is so useless why all the talk?

On the one hand (and I am not referring to your blog alone, but it appears one of the more vitriolic) he has no chance of getting on the ballot paper because MPs know him best and they know he's rubbish. On the other hand, Michael Meacher seriously harms John McDonnell's chance of getting on the ballot paper. But it can't be both can it?

There's a good few months probably. Why not talk sensibly about the varying merits of each candidate rather than a sectarian drive to destroy one because of a belief the other has a divine right to be the standard bearer? Neither does. Meacher has the experience of being a good Minister and credible environmentalist/McDonnell voted against the war, consistent critic of New Labour.

Meacher was about the best example of a left of Blair government Minister, and I don't think its right to attack him like this. It does the left no favours.

I accept I am attacking the discourse in ways you are not responsible and may not align to, but there is a theme here....

 
At 6:26 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel says:

"Meacher was about the best example of a left of Blair government Minister, and I don't think its right to attack him like this. It does the left no favours."

Not so. Andrew Smith was.

 

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