Thursday 1 April 2010

Tristram Hunt Wins Stoke Central Labour Contest

At the selection meeting of Stoke Central Constituency Labour Party this evening, Tristram Hunt was selected by an overwhelming majority to be Labour's candidate in the general election.

The vote breakdown was:

Tristram - 50
Joe - 6
Saj - 7
Spoiled - 8

The vote to enable the selection was passed with 41 votes for.

So congratulations to Tristram.

Full report to follow, and expect more on Newsnight later.


Phil said...

On Wednesday the list's thrown open and the selection meeting postponed; on Thursday the selection meeting takes place and chooses from the (very) shortlist. What on earth happened there?

Phil said...

Erm ... the post on the opening of nominations was an April's Fool.

Boffy said...

The Newsnight report was disturbing. Its no wonder that you can get a big majority for a particular candidate if his opponents are selected from above by those who want him selected! Having said that if those wantoing to stop the selection process could only muster 8 votes or so then it suggests that most members were sort of happy. Of course, they may not have been very happy, because a couple of days before the election is called, you might feel you have no choice but proceed to select, in order to have a candidate at all, or not to simply having one directly imposed on you.

Its good that Paul Farrelly and other local MP's have written to Brown objecting to the shenanigans. It can only help Labour's opponents in the seat. Seeing Tristram's comments afterwards did not fill me with confidence. Its good that he wants to fight the BNP, but doing so on the basis of "Don't Vote for the BNP because it will put of businesses investing in Stoke", doesn't seem to me the basis of doing so. And he seemed to suggest that his main opponents were the BNP rather than the Tories, which gives the BNP way to much credit. Its one thing the BNP picking up Council seats on the basis of very small turnouts, or even scraping in with reduced votes in the Euro elections, again due to the tiny turnout, and vagaries of the PR system, but the reality is that on a normal General Election turnout, the BNP are likely to get no more than 5% of the vote. Even in places like Stoke I'd be surprised if they got more than 10-15%. Way too much for fascists to be polling, but still nothing like enough to win.

And, the reality is that whether the main opponent is the Tories or the BNP, the only way to fight is by putting forward positive socialist policies, not negatively challenging your opponent, which allows them to set the agenda. What is really required is for the whole of the left in Stoke - inside or out of the LP - to come together in a Socialist Campaign For A Labour Victory that focusses on building a working class fightback based on such a programme, whoever, Labour's candidates are, and whoever wins the election.

Phil said...

The spoiled ballot count is a misleading indicator of the depth of feeling against the shortlist stitch-up. The motion to move to the vote passed 41 votes to 30. In other words, half of the selection meeting were minded to throw out the shortlist and begin again. However, what probably swung it were the comments from Barry Stockley (chairing) who said a rejection of the list would probably mean the imposition of a candidate.

Laban said...

Good to see a horny-handed son of toil being nominated for this most working class seat. Let's hope the voters respond appropriately.

Phil said...

I definitely, definitely, definitely read it on Wednesday night. Definitely. Definitely not on the morning of April 1st. Because in that case I absolutely definitely wouldn't have fallen for it. H'mph.

scott redding said...

Any reaction to this, from Mark Seddon?

Matt Sellwood said...

Nothing like internal democracy, eh, Phil? :)


Geoff Collier said...

I hear that the Chair of the local CLP is to stand as an independent in protest at Hunt being parachuted in. What's he like politically? Would you support him, either now or in your SP days?

Imposs1904 said...

6/8 weeks before a General Election. Of course there was going to be shenannigans in the selection process. That sort of stuff's been going on since year dot in the Labour Party.

So I don't really understand the faux outrage in the comments box.

Phil said...

Darren, the background to all this is a pretty vicious faction fight whereby region and the NEC have been intervening in the party. So believe me, the outrage is very far from being faux.

Geoff, it's true, Gary has announced he's going to stand as independent Labour. His politics are pretty mainstream old Labour. And while he wish him all the best I won't be leaving Labour.

Of course what becomes interesting now is whether other independents and/or TUSC can be pulled in Gary's train.

Boffy said...


Amazing what happens when you don't have Internet contact with the world for a few weeks. I hadn't realised you had left the SP and joined Labour. Congratulations on making the right decision. For the same reasons I think Gary Elsby's decision to stand as an Independent are suicide. Back in 1983, when me and Jason stood for Burslem Central, the existing right-wing Councillor left and stood as an Independent. We quite rightly condemned him for his desertion. He got anihilated, and me and Jason got the biggest votes any candidate had received for many, many years.

I have serious criticisms of the way internal demcoracy works in the party, but as I've written elsewhere, its not as bad as it was in 1974 when I first joined. Ultimately, members could have voted to oppose proceeding, and although I'm grateful for your update on the actual vote, a majority still did vote to proceed.

I can understand the principles behind revolutionary socialists standing candidates on a clear socialist Programme in order to wave the flag, though as I've written I beleive they are wrong, but I can see little to justify someone who has lived with New Labour's politics for the last 15 years doing so. If it splits the vote it will only benefit the Tories and the BNP, and for no real gain.

But, as I've written elsewhere, given the real level of weakness of the Left, given the low level of class consciousness within the class, we can hardly expect that the Workers' Party istelf is going to select real class struggle candidates! That should not matter for the left's strategy, which should be to work in the Party to use its apparatus, and remaining implantation to mobilise workers, even on a low level basis around measures of self-activity - setting up TRA's etc., supporting local workers on strike, and so on. That is about what WE do, not who the candidates, Councillors, or MP's are, or even what the Party's Programme currently is.

And as I suggested in my blog there is no reason not to organise in each area a "Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory", in which all the Left unites to say, vote Labour but organise around these demands, begin to transform the Labour Movement, and the Labour Party. That is the way of building the left again, of raising workers confidence and consciousness, and thereby of getting those class struggle candidates, and changing the Programme.

In 1982, when I lost in a local selection against a right-wing sitting Councillor, the firt thing I did was to commit myself to going out and campaigning for her. I spent with a couple of other comrades three months knocking on doors prior to the election. When people said, "The local Councillors do nothing for us," we replied by saying, "We agree, come and join us, and help us to change that." We recruited dozens of new members over the period, and we DID change things.