Saturday, 15 August 2009

Tories & Labour must be running low on parachutes

The staggering trend for the main parties to choose 'high profile' candidates for General Elections continues unabated.

According to the Telegraph, Harriet Harman's husband is being lined up for a safe seat at the next election. Jack Dromey is said to be 'very likely' to get the nod for Leyton and Wanstead. Lucky people. I'm sure you're very jealous, if you happen to not be a resident in the Leyton and Wanstead constituency.

The piece states:

"Labour MPs believe Mr Dromey, 60, would be a powerful weapon in any future leadership bid launched by Ms Harman were he to become an MP."

Do even Labour Party grassroots members want this?

"The pair would...become Labour's second most influential "power couple" after Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, and his wife Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary."


And best of all...

"In 2007 Ms Harman helped fund her successful £100,000 campaign for her party's deputy leadership by jointly taking out with Mr Dromey a £40,000 mortgage extension on their London house. 

A senior Labour source said: "Leyton and Wanstead is perfect for Jack. It's in London so he and Harriet wouldn't even need to buy another house." Ms Harman is MP for Peckham."

Phew! Well, thank heaven for small mercies! Aren't you proud of British democracy in action, ladies and gents?

"I hope I land on a safe seat.....Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"

The fact is, even the grassroots memberships of the main parties are growing sick and tired of the stitch-up nominations of candidates. It is of course bad enough that our parliamentary 'democracy' appears unfit for purpose and anything but democratic.

Our elected representatives, once chosen in our First Past the Post system, disappear off to Westminster and fall swiftly into line. Either by their own choosing, or at the wrath of the Party Whip system.

In Yorkshire, we had a relatively recent example of this sort of thing, which has to be the real cherry on the cake. As reported in the Halifax Evening Courier on the 20th July 2009, a Labour Party official in Yorkshire's Calder Valley has stated:

"'Following the National Executive Committee's refusal to listen to us over the selection of Parliamentary candidates, several of our keenest activists have resigned.

"Most are just apathetic and unwilling to engage – and who can blame them.'"

Why the despair amidst the area's Labour Party rank and file?...

"There has been turmoil since Labour leaders refused to endorse Janet Oosthuysen, of Hebden Bridge, as the Calder Valley Parliamentary candidate, which forced a re-run of the selection process.

The new candidate is Stephenie Booth, of Todmorden. who was unavailable for comment"

Does the name sound familiar? Well it should do - Stephanie Booth is Cherie Blair's stepmother.

I'm guessing you can start to see a trend from all that I'm explaining here.

In a similar vein, David Cameron notably took the decision to open up the selection process for candidates to non-party members. So long as people can prove a 'record' of 'public service', they need not have any traditional ties with the party and can stand on its behalf.

This may sound like a good idea, but it is far from a good idea. It is bereft of logic and it can only encourage the phenomenon of the principle-free, ambitious, self-serving 'career politician', who has the character and ability to charm people, and connections in all the right, high places.

There's nothing wrong with having friends and people skills. But don't we want our politicians to advertise their stripe? To show integrity and loyalty to what they believe in? Everyone's politics falls somewhere on the spectrum and I believe it only honest and right that if people go into politics, they are clear about where they stand and why.

This is classic Cameron, all over. Another smooth talker. Another pretend moderate, who only has one ambition in mind - hoover up as many 'centre' and 'centre-progressive left' votes as possible in order to win. 

It's about winning for winning's sake. Just like under Blair, and just as it will likely be under Cameron.

This is what we have to look forward to. The slow poisoning of the well of British politics, which for too long has laboured under an unworkable and undemocratic system.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Yorkshire LPUK meetup will be held...

.. In York.

The votes that I received were 2 for York, and 2 for Leeds.
I should have known this wouldn't be straight forward, so I have had to cast my own vote. I was going to abstain, given the fact that I am arranging this, and I live in York, but now I have to cast my vote, it is for York.

I'm sorry if this makes things difficult for you, but if we decide to arrange another meetup after this, and I am arranging it, it will be in Leeds.

I think it'd be best, if we want to continue having meetups, that we go on tour. York first, home of Guy Fawkes and the venue of the first LPUK AGM. Next to Leeds, where we can decide where to go for the one after, where we can decide where to go after that, and so on and so forth.

As for the venue, I need to double check to see if it is still open (There was talk of it closing down a while ago, and I haven't been near it recently to see.), but I would propose we go to the same place that some of us went to after the AGM last year, The Spread Eagle.

I'll get back to you with more details when I have them, but for now, mark your calendars on the 15th August for a trip to York.