Saturday, December 02, 2006

Labour Deputy Election Facebook Update (3) and My Support for Cruddas

Okay, I have been messaged by el tom to remind me that I am currently neglecting my duties in this regard. So here's an update of this week's standings.

Johnson - 218 members
Cruddas - 39 members
Blears - 15 members
Hain - 7 members
Harman - 6 members

This blog is, of course, supporting Jon Cruddas for Deputy. Having seen him speak, I would argue that he is capable of appealing to a wide range of voters/Labour Party members as he is a formidable personality and is capable of very accurately pitching his speeches/comments to their intended audience (i.e. he doesn't speak over the heads of those who are not experts, yet doesn't patronise those who are). He is the kind of politician who has the potential to be great; he engenders a sense of belief and trust in his audience towards him.

Furthermore, it is wholly evident that something must be done to stem the decline of party membership and political activism more generally. While some point to the rise of single issue grous, as someone I was recently reading astutely ointed out, there is a problem that the idea of direct democracy is being replaced by direct debit. Jon Cruddas is the only deputy leadership candidate who has given a clear outline of how he intends to reform the party stucture so as to empower the grassroots and create genuine incentives for support. He is also (to the best of my knowledge, do correct me if I'm wrong) rightly critical of the idea of supporter's clubs for political parties and how an increase in their scope could act as a disincentive to join the party proper (something I was critical of in an Anticipations article last year).

His plans to separate the party deputyship from the governmental post serves as an indication of his lack of personal gain as a motive for running for this office, and his long standing anti-facism work on the ground is further evidence that he is not merely uttering platitudes designed to curry favour with the currently favoured (i.e. the electorate in this race), but is committed to his plans and lives up to them hmself - a refreshing level of integrity which is as forceful as a slap to the face of cynics of the political process.

Regarding the anti-facism work he has done/is doing, as much as I hate to bring anecdotal arguments to the fray, I have to say that, as someone who spent four years being attacked on the grounds of race (quite seriously attacked), I have the utmost respect for the assiduous work he has undertaken.

My only concern regarding his stance thus far is the possibility that empowering the grassroots could lead to a similar situation as that created by the rise of the Militant Tendency faction within the Labour Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the damaging effect it had in places like Liverpool where it bankrupted the council. However, this is not a necessary concomitant of party reform; it would infact be detrimental to the party since the effect of MT in Liverpool was a dampening of party support and grassroots involvement which persists to this day (they bankrupted the council in 1985, not last month or anything). In this regard, I am happy to work with him to ensure that such an event is unlikely to reoccur, and I am confident that he is also concerned about this aspect of party reform. I would rather work with him to ensure that it is prevented than to use it as the sole, and hardly justifiable basis, upon which to withdraw my support for his campaign.

In short, Cruddas rocks!

Cue music.

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