Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Defeated candidates should always think carefully before examining election results too closely through fear of only finding what they want to find, giving them the excuse to blame somebody else for their failure. Winning candidates on the other hand are best not looking at the reasons for their success at all, they should simply bask in the glory of their win, as the seeds of any future defeat often lay sown very deep in their current flowering pots.

But last weeks County Council Elections just felt all wrong, from start to finish, I am not just talking about Castle Ward which has its own unique set of circumstances to cope with, but I mean wrong in the sense of participation and outcome. Often the wrong candidate got elected for the wrong reasons, rises in some candidates votes simply skewed the figures overall and made prediction a difficult art form.

My main concern, which I hope would be shared across the political divide is that the results were less predicted and more proclaimed. UKIP of course did incredibly well, no lets rephrase that they did remarkably well winning seats all across the Country just as the press told us they would! and therein lies the problem. UKIP's staggering success was not just predicted it was announced as a  fait accomplis (They will love that European reference!) by the national and local press as long ago as November and December 2012.

Having encouraged the swing voter to support UKIP in the Rotherham By Election (Labour Hold) and the Eastleigh By Election (Lib Dem Hold) the press secured them a second place in each, allowing them to proclaim thereafter UKIP as the new force in British Politics. This was the same UKIP of course who secured just 3% of the vote in the 2010 General Election losing their deposits up and down the country including in Northamptonshire as voters failed to understand what they were there for. But the right wing press with its own anti European agenda needed UKIP as a stick to beat David Cameron with.

So the Torygraph and the Daily Mail had soon "Galvanised" Nigel Farage back into action, a tall order in itself for a man with little charm, terrible halitosis and the worst taste in trousers this side of Texas. But Galvanise was indeed the word as in Shelley's creative novel Frankenstein a new monster was created by  the process of galvanism, the ability to bring inanimate objects to life through the power of electrical currents. This time via the 240 volt printing press rather than any lightning above Castle Frankenstein.  Publication after publication, commentator after editor all queued up to inform us that "UKIP are set to win record number of council seats" This before they had even considered how many candidates they would stand. UKIP of course happily played their part by declaring in February that "We will stand the most candidates ever" By March the TV had followed the printed presses lead and Project UKIP took another big leap forward.

The announcement by Johnston Press in the Chronicle and Echo in early February was indeed echoed throughout their publications nationwide and by their rivals who all pronounced how mighty fine the King Farages new clothes were and how we the public would be pretty stupid if we didn't also jump on board the bandwagon. Voting UKIP was safe they said, almost suggesting you could be racist without being shouted at and anti gay and just a good old fashioned Brit sticking up for their country. And even when a little boy in the crowd shouted "He is as naked as the day he was born" he found that 70 % of the people couldn't even be bothered to listen to him and that thereafter the Press refused to print his comments to the 30% who might just be interested. They instead were treated to more photographs of Nigel Farage drinking more beer in more middle England pubs on his "Common Sense" tour

And so eventually an apathetic and politically uneducated British Public did what it it proving itself extremely good at it followed the trend rather than look to set it, it tugged its collective forelock in reverence to its masters and either sat on its hands at home not voting or went out voted the way it was told to vote.

Or as Ray Davies is attributed to have said:

Money and corruption are ruining the land.Crooked politicians betray the working man, Pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, And we're tired of hearing promises that we know they'll never keep.

More than one voter informed me on the doorstep during the election campaign that, 

"Tony I will either be voting Green Party or UKIP"

What in Gods name does that actually mean? I haven't a political thought in my head and I am just as likely to vote for Ghandi as I am Hitler? 

But the reactionary poison that flows from UKIP has found a resonance with the increasingly embittered, divided population. They reflect, as all such movements have done historically, a contradictory set of social forces. On the one hand they are a party that appeal to a middle class, driven into a frenzy as a result of the economic crisis. Their anger is focused on the work-shy, the immigrant and on the European unions super state: all of whom are holding back the hardworking, pure of blood Brit who needs the help of no one to make its way in the world. 

This is then exaggerated by  white flight communities who fear (actually fear) migrants will threaten their rural idyll. I thought it was just amazingly crass to see that self confessed right wing Tory Cllr Michael Clarke polled 1553 in Hackleton and Grange Park only just seeing off a challenge from a UKIP candidate even further to the right who polled 1504. 1504 who are more right wing than the Tory candidate who won! Heaven help us.

But of course with just a 20% turnout in Castle Ward I save my real despair and my disquiet for the 80% non voters, a heady of mixture of lazy, non committal, apathetic, politically ignorant and impotent shower all committed to doing there bit by er...... not doing their bit.

Harsh? not really, if they read this piece and are upset with my comments then good for them they can always come out and vote against me at future elections and my rant will have in some way served a purpose. in the defence of a few there will be in that number those who couldn't through illness get to vote, or were perhaps working away, equally there will be some who felt that none of the candidates could muster their support, and they are all excused from my wrath, but the rest? Well they are a special sort of ignoramus half wit who think that life owes them a living and a helping hand without the need for them ever having to put anything back in.

I write this on the Tuesday after last Thursdays election and already the phone calls are coming in from people in Castle Ward asking me to continue to help them with their Housing needs and to secure "better" places for their children in "better" schools. 

They have absolutely no idea that I was not re-elected last Thursday, and probably have little idea that an election even took place! I remember last year talking to a guy in a pub who asked me about my MP's expenses! I politely told him I had had lost the election years ago in 2005 to Brian Binley and then he went on to say "Yes but your still the Labour MP aren't you"  Apparently it seems (according to my new found drinking buddy) at every election each constituency votes for a Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MP and the one who gets the most votes goes to Parliament whilst the other two hang around the town on full salary representing our respective voters! and there was me thinking Sally Keeble had simply been on Holiday since 2010!

So apathy and the inability of people to think for themselves played a massive part in last weeks weeks defeat, but was it just that that and the UKIP factor which cost me my seat? No not really. The fact is that months ago I predicted that Labours vote would rise at the election in line with their national share with the Tory's and Lib Dems in Government. I predicted to friends that they would double their low vote of 440 in May 2009 and told a select few that I expected them to poll around 880 votes this time round. They actually got 806, I told my new colleagues in the Green Party that it was an uphill struggle for us to win and that we would need to keep as many of the 760 (Independent) and 201 (Green Party)  votes that we each polled in 2009 to give us any chance of winning, we couldn't do that, and our end result of 437 (albeit on a reduced turnout) was simply not enough. Yes of course UKIP taking 273 votes without putting out a single leaflet didn't help, equally having another Independent on the Ballot Paper was not useful but none of these factors would have denied the Labour Party a deserved victory. I lost a lot of hard won support in the Semilong and St James areas when they once more moved the ward boundary and Winston Strachan it seems is strong in the area he has represented for some time, so my congratulations as they did last Thursday go out to him.

So did I make a mistake joining the Greens? Not at all, you see for all of those who can't be arsed to vote and for all of those who change their vote it seems as frequently as they change their underwear, there are those of us who are really very comfortable in our political skins, we know what we are about and we are loyal to our political convictions. I ironically have the exact same set of political values and ideals which I held 30 odd years ago when I first joined the then Labour Party, the Labour Party have coursed moved to the right, not me. And I also believe that the 437 brave soles who voted for the Green Party last Thursday in Castle Ward also include a high number of politically motivated voters who don't just look the other way, or turn up and vote how they have been told to vote, but are people of deeply held political conviction and belief and as such I was proud to have given them a choice at the ballot box.

I thank each and every one of them and urge them to email me in order that we build our data base of those wanting an alternative future

The Green Party can do better, we can work harder, in fact we will have to if we want to see success at the ballot box, but we more than doubled our vote from the same election four years ago, and we held the honour in Castle Ward of helping to ensure that the right wing medias new toy UKIP secured their only fourth place in the County having come first second or third everywhere else. 

Of course I wish I had won, as I believe I was doing my bit in holding the Tories to account at a time when the only other opposition seems to come from outside of the Council.

But perhaps I can have just as much fun with having the prefix "Cllr" before my name. The press asked me if I would be taking a rest after 22 years in active local and national politics? A rest I asked? I am not 50 until September, I have only just started to get going! I just need to decide now with the support and consent of my new Green colleagues which Labour candidate I want to upset the most now by standing as an opposing Green candidate at the 2015 General Election.

Any thoughts gladly received



  1. I foresee an opportunity in St. James. I think you would be welcome and you should consider it!

  2. What is needed now, is for Left Unity, to work collectively, to target seats and begin the campaign, that ensures that candidates are more than political, that they are embedded in the communities that they seek to represent... Although, I am not "green" I still look forward to the next part of the journey. In Solidarity BT.

  3. CastleWardMafia8 May 2013 at 16:00

    That is a really sad piece Tony. As a former MP and former Cllr I think many of us were looking and hoping for some dignity in defeat.

    A lot of bitterness comes out. Especially in your views on who voted who in Castle Ward. Basically you have written that those who voted for you did so out of well thought out, sensible thinking and anybody that voted for anyone else did so out of being a slave to the media.

    Many of us did keep our thoughts to ourselves when you joined the Greens as it looked like a 'another chance to stand for Parliament in some way shape or form'

    Your last comment seems to reinforce this.

    Judge a man by how he handles defeat not victory.

  4. CastleWardMafia, what a load of self righteous and inaccurate claptrap! what part of

    "none of these factors would have denied the Labour Party a deserved victory. I lost a lot of hard won support in the Semilong and St James areas when they once more moved the ward boundary and Winston Strachan it seems is strong in the area he has represented for some time, so my congratulations as they did last Thursday go out to him."

    did you fail to understand?

    I have no bitterness whatsoever, far from it, my post is my opinion and yes I do believe that the media talked up UKIP to the point of it affecting the elections, but not in Castle Ward as I explained.

    As for keeping your thoughts to yourself? how can you not when you are anonymous? I don't need chances to stand in elections, I enjoy the cut and thrust of the local political scene, win or lose.

    I have a habit of saying the things others cannot or will not, this still includes my view that the current Labour Party in Northampton are a disgrace to the whole Labour movement and an open wound festering beyond any possible medical intervention.

    The Borough Group are a bunch of Chancers and Self important Imposters and my old comrade Len Clarke would turn uneasy in his grave if he could see what he gave a lifetime of hard work for.

    I am now happy in the Green Party. a socialist party with principles, and I really look forward to working with them in the future

    My last comment was a question, if you have an opinion and are allowed to express it (even under a pseudonym) then please do so

  5. CastleWardMafia8 May 2013 at 17:00

    Thanks for coming back and as the PM would say 'calm down dear'

    Even the congrats to a very impressive Winston Strachan has that 'they moved the boundary' comment. How about 'Congrats to Winston and Labour. You won the debate in Castle Ward about who they wanted to represent them. Good for you.'

    Not totally sure where you get what are to be fair consistent but skewed views on the Labour Party in Northampton. We never get any names or concrete evidence. From the people I know in the party locally things are going well and an increase in County Cllrs is very welcome.

    They are the same people that interestingly spoke to me about Len Clarke (who I didnt know) who is held in very high esteem in local political circles.

    They mention his name in the same vein you do - and that he would indeed turn in his grave when a previous dedicated Labour Party member set up his own movement, then became an independent and then joined the Greens. The Len they know stayed with the party through thick and thin.

  6. You want names? really? Just tell me how the 11 complaints Cllr against Cllr on the Borough Council Labour are progressing?

    As to any debate in Castle Ward! Those were the days!

  7. Tony,

    As ridiculous as it sounds, I understand the 'UKIP or Greens' voter.

    People want an alternative. I feel that the Greens have to take some responsibility for not using the media as effectively as e.g. the BNP.

    People are desperately looking for some alternative to the 3 flacid Thatcherite parties. They will look around and take whatever alternative they can find.


  8. Graham, I agree with you 100% on the desire for an alternative, but I can't understand why any passing bandwagon will do for the public despite people's personal political views (if they indeed have any)

    Didn't a certain Adolph Hitler rise to power in the same way?

    On the media front it is a lot more complicated, thankfully most of the BNP's media is negative, but it is the media, not the party's who call the shots, my point above is that just like in the 2010 General Election when the big three tv debates drove out any role for smaller party's and independents, this set of local elections were decided BY the media rather than UKIP's press office.

    The Green Party have tried very hard in recent times to be more friendly and Caroline Lucas and more recently Natalie Bennett have both done a sterling job, but most of it goes unbroadcast, interviewers are lazy and portray Green candidates as a "type" meaning interviews are often taken up with having to defend untrue myths rather than concentrate on policy.

    I do take my personal politics seriously, which is why I have joined the Greens, I could have "gone home" to Labour, but they seem to have moved out of the family house altogether and now live in the back gardens of the rich.

  9. castle Ward mafia.
    I think I have a much right as you to comment on labour in Castle ward,and unlike you I don't hide behind anonymity.not so many years ago the Labour party won NCC largely because of the number of Labour councillors elected in the Borough.It was because of that strength that the rest of the labour party were opposed to a unitary Northampton.Their argument was that without Northampton Labour would never win the county.
    Now of course the magnificent Labour party in Northampton increased its share from one miserable seat to four paltry seats.There were by any reckoning at least four seats they should have taken-Delapre,Talavera,Billing, Six fields,a Duston seat and the old St Georges ward.Look at the figures and weep!
    Read their miserable facebook and see the poverty of ideas and innovation, at best its self congratulatory-currently they are congratulating Oxfordshire Labour Party and Nottinghamshire!
    Yet I believe there are party members willing to try and make a fight, the leadership coming from Corby at the moment is encouraging.Their collective stand on the bedroom tax has proved to be powerful.The leadership on NBC reflected in the piss poor resolution calling for an appeals forum to be set up quickly says it all! And the eegits managed to lose that too!
    I knew both Len and Ida Clarke well and I know which side they would have been on.Loyalty is about a lot more than lip service to a name.

  10. Well, where to start, 80% didn't bother to vote - most of those 80% either didn't know that there was an election or didn't care who it was that sat on some distant, archaic county council that none of them deal with. The fact for those people is that the County Council simply doesn't matter, the roads have been treated exactly the same by all political parties, the services of this county have progressively been disintegrated by all political parties to the point where they are effectively a shadow council with nothing to do except decide how much to pay themselves, that may not, depending upon your perspective, be how it really is but that is how the people see it and that is why 7,634 people decided that watching Jeremy Kyle and loose women or watever else they did was more important than voting.

    The rise of UKIP: This is simply down to the fact that most people believe EU Directives are holding the whole country back, they don't like the amount of money we spend on our membership and they don't like the way EU says jump and councillors and MPs of all colours say how high, it's called the LibLabCon it's why people are deserting those parties in their thousands, they all say the same thing- what Brussels tells them to say. There is only one thing that you can be certain of, if the LibLabCon say it before an election they will do something completely different once in office. To brand all those people racist and comparing them to the Germans who voted for Hitler is the same trick carried out by the parties the people despise. This is a spiral that will simply see more and more peoples voting UKIP. Before the European elections next year Borosso is going to lay out his plan for a federal Europe this is no doubt going to push more people towards UKIP.

    The Labour party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown destroyed any trust the people of this country had in politics their consistant spinning and lying about every single policy area was stagering, it iris going to take Liebour more than one term in opposition for the people to forget what they have done.

    Who should you stand for at the next election; considering your old labour background, your interest in Palestine ect maybe have a chat with George Galloway, and as for where to stand as an MP, please stand against Michael Ellis, that man is soo annoying and such a slave to the party machine he deserves to be booted out, everyone I know that has spoken or emailed him he always starts his reply with "It is Conservative Party Policy...." and a reply that although of the same subject to what he was asked about, doesn't consider what he was asked. The sooner he goes the better, be it Green, UKIP Monster Raving Loony or anyone just make him go.....

  11. Craig,

    Some really good and valid points, I think the loss of the local nightly newspaper also contributed to lack of knowledge and engagement, but you are right that the level of interest in an archaic County Council and electing Cllrs to it is off far less importance to Joe Public than it perhaps is to those of us who try and get elected. You are also right about the sorry state the Council is now in.

    On UKIP I believe like you that the public are more anti EU now than they have ever been, but I also believe that the debate has been one sided and I now feel it is inevitable that at some point the UK will withdraw, ironically leaving UKIP as a busted flush!

    I have also recorded your vote for standing in the North next time and so far given the first comment above it is 1-1 ? extra time anyone?

    Anyway Craig, thanks for the reflective posting, it is very welcome.

  12. Bitter and twisted diatribe

  13. Don't you think that you need to rename your blog?

  14. Oh no not more nameless critics! Come on guys grow a pair and own your criticism

  15. CastleWardMafia13 May 2013 at 17:06

    The issue that I and many have on using our names is that this is a blog when many people are criticised, usually unfairly because of who they are and what they stand for. The history of blogs is that they are so powerful because they are about the comment not the personality (a sort of on-line version of The Voice!)

    The challenge you and John Dickie now have Tony is that you are both un-elected and as passionately as you feel about things there is not doubt that the electorate have rejected those views. That therefore means you are in danger of sharing your views, which have little or no democratic support, with a smaller group of people many of late who are the same small group who appear on the Chron comment pages every day.

    My personal dissapointment is the lack of integrity and humility from you guys. Most former Leaders of Councils and former MPs move to one side, let the next generation do their thing and offer support from the sidelines. It does come across rather sadly if I might say that you and John Dickie seem to still be fighting old battles when you have had your time. You obviously wanted longer but knowing when to leave the stage is an important part of success.

  16. CWF, First of all the only people I name are those who I can factually attribute wrongdoing to, give me examples of where I have done so unfairly as you say and I will debate the points with you but if you fail to do so I will just put your first whinge down to another inaccurate and biased input.

    As to having "had your time" and "moving to one side" how condescending do you want to be? The current leader of the Labour Group on NBC Terry Wire must be in his 70's Arthur McCutcheon has just come back on Council at a similar age, the Tory Leader of the Council looks as if he may have fought in both world wars and yet you want to write me off at 49!

    Elected/unelected, matters little these days as most of our Cllrs just sit on their hands and say little election to election and I dare say myself and john have spoken more at Full Borough Council Meetings since 2011 than some of the Labour Group have!

    Integrity and humility has to have identity, and I urge you to have just the courage to be someone rather than just an anonymous non entity.

    I am certainly not fighting old battles as the real battle as to who will replace a defunct Labour Party in representing the majority in this Country who need a real alternative to continuous Tory rule is being fought out now.

    Leave the stage? wishful thinking on your behalf I think. Had my time? I like to think my new political life will start at 50 unless as you appear to say you think that is too old?

  17. Dear un-named Castle Ward Mafia,
    how observant to notice I am un-elected, I stood down voluntarily from NBC over 10 years ago, in the words of Tony Benn 'to devote myself to politics', although in fact to think more clearly about a socialist direction, hence the regular column in the Chron,hence my book on my uncle and the SCW,hence the infrequent blog.
    Not surprisingly my point of reference will always be the Labour Party,for which I voluntarily gave 40 years of my life to working for,when I could have been doing other things like having a family or making model sailing ships or being an anonymous critic.I joined the labour Party because I believed that although a social democratic party it might be a vehicle for the socialist transformation of this society.Undeniably thee have been times when that optimism was almost valid,but as things appear to be drifting quickly and tragically rightwards-UKIP is not a new phenomena merely a more plausible form of extremism dressed in the coat of the mundane bar room bore-then I have to expect more from the Labour Party.
    I would have liked to have seen the left in the Labour party acknowledge the damage that New Labour has done to the aspirations of generations of socialists and correct the drift to the right within the party.
    However dear CWM all I see is a raft of careerism and cheap opportunism.The County Council elections should have seen significant gains in Northampton,given the condition of public services in the town.It did not,in point of fact the dreadful Lib-Dems performed better! It is surely right that there should be a debate at least on the left both inside and outside the Labour party as to why if failed so miserably here!Or am I not entitled to ask that question?
    I look on the Northampton Party Facebook and weep at the trivialisation and lack of debate.I do not believe it is taking place in Party meetings, but perhaps you know better?
    Instead of asking me to move aside perhaps you should be asking your colleagues what went wrong on May2nd and perhaps offer some explaination.
    I'm sure Tony would welcome such a debate on this blog,or if you like on mine-or even on Northampton Left Unity-or maybe you prefer just to remain hidden behind your party card!

  18. Tony, Sorry to take up more space but just to make it clear to CWM that socialism is far too important "just to allow others to do their own thing",but then as CWM sees everything simply in terms of electoral politics and not the politics of ideas then I suppose that explains his fear of engaging in public debate.
    He's happy to criticise us for 'lacking integrity'but lacks the integrity to identify himself!

  19. JD, happy for you to post and inform the debate, this is as faras I know the only local "political" blog or website that even allows readers to post!

    Now what does that say about the level of local political debate?

  20. CastleWardMafia15 May 2013 at 07:42

    So much to respond to and so little time to do so.

    Your first point Tony. You unfairly criticise Sally Keeble quite regularly with a usual unfounded/personal dislike. Whatever you think to her as a person her hard work and committment to the cause is impressive.

    I dont know Terry Wire and Arthur McCutcheon but would point out that my points are not about age. I do know these guys have served on the Council for a number of years and they seem to be people who know thats what they do best and they dont have any illusions of granduer around standing for Parliament time and time again where they would look silly.

    Tony you make me laugh. Your paragraph thats states 'I am certainly not fighting old battles....' is an explanation of you fighting an old battle. The boring old 'Blood on your hands' ' we are real socialists' have been saying that in time momoriam.

    Hello John - sorry but thats the same old post you post most times someone comes on and has a go at Tony. For note (i) you didnt really leave the Council, the Labour Group chose a new Leader (who I hear was rubbish) (ii) for all the cheap and easy criticism you make of new Labour it is new Labour that got Tony elected and introduced things like the NMW (iii) I've looked at the facebook page you refer too and it looks like they are working hard to get people out knocking doors. As much you may hark back to golden days debating with friends at the Labour Club it never really won any votes did it. (iv) you have to stop thinking anyone who makes points against you is a Labour Party member.

    I feel from your posts guy the last point from John sums it up. Electoral politics over politics of ideas? I'll choose the one that makes a difference to the communities around us and not the naval gazing one.

  21. CWM-I wonder if you are one of the original CWM c.1973?
    For the record,before the Labour group selected a new leader I had indicated that I would not be standing again-30 years was long enough and I believed i the need for younger people with fresh ideas-the ward selected Lee Barron who proved an effective if short lived local councillor.
    My criticism is not cheap,if you bothered to read what I have written you will find that I enthusiastically welcomed and worked hard for the Party in 1997, and have indeed remarked frequently that the government did introduce some innovative ideas, but right from day one the acceptance of the Tories financial settlement hampered any real reforms.Added to which the failure to tackle defence spending,the rush into PFI's,the lack of support for local government and the Iraq war all caused a great deal of disillusionment amongst party members.The abandonment of Clause 4 should have signalled what was happening,but then we were willing to suspend not merely our disbelief but also our critical faculties simply to enjoy electoral success.
    What makes you think that discussing policies and ideas at Charles Street never really won any votes?
    It was the ability to mobilise people with the strength of ideas and the inspiration of change that persuaded people to go out night after night!
    You really are a set of contradictions wrapped up in in an electoral fethishism.What is the point in winning elections if all you are going to do is repeat the same old mistakes with a different set of faces?
    You need the ideas to breathe life into the activity-otherwise all you get is a hollow shell that replaces the politics of hope with a mechanical exercise of headless chickenism!
    Yup I think your a card carrying party member,what I find annoying is that you are not prepared to debate with us openly,that can only be because you are either uncertain of your position,or that we know you too well!
    One last point you mention Sallty Keeble and her commitment to the'cause'-what cause would that be?

  22. CastleWardMafia15 May 2013 at 12:21

    Hello John - you can rewrite history as much as you want and hark back to some rose tinted yesteryear of Labour Club debates, you can blame current polticians for not doing what you would do but the fact remains the platform you and Tony Clarke stand on (via the blog) is not only read by fewer and fewer people but has no democratic mandate. The last set of local and national elections in the town have shown this.

    Sally Keeble - the young mum's in my area tell me she used to work really hard for them and speak up for them on local issues.

  23. You are persistent at not answering questions aren't you CWM. I've yet to find a blog,a newspaper,a man in a pub or an anonymous correspondent who has a 'democratic mandate'.What are you bleating on about?
    Show me anywhere I have either rewritten history or viewed time in the Labour Club through rose tinted spectacles ?
    The young Mums in your area used to....so whose trying to rewrite history?
    Is it also possible that the last set of local and national elections revealed that Labour in Northampton right now has no mandate either?maybe if you showed some interest in discussing what sort of struggles we currently have to contend with and what strategies the left will need to employ to win some political credibility I might find dialogue with you more valuable.As far as I can see the only people who are putting forward a credible analysis at the moment are comrades in the trade unions and others in Left Unity.The most Northampton Labour has done recently is that pathetic resolution at NBC on the bedroom tax and then abstained as the Tories put even more services out to a body that will make a local council even more irrelevant.
    Oh sorry,I forgot they had a democratic mandate!

  24. CWF in the current climate the politics of ideas (and indeed action) may just have a stronger hand than local electoral politics.

    As to SK? I just don't feel she is in any way shape or form helpful in rebuilding a future for the Labour Party in Northampton.

    Ask her about why she paid back to Parliament MP's expenses she had claimed for new boilers, new kitchen worktops and gardening work at her Overstone Park home in 2010 saying at the time that she had refelected on matters and decided the payments claimed were wrong? But then after leaving Parliament in 2011 took some of the "repaid" money back in 2012?

    Ask her why her husband wrote cheques to pay off the Poll Tax arrears of her fellow Cllrs on Southwark Council who would have been disbarred from Council meetings if they had not been paid? Ask if she felt that was fair campaigning for a vote for Leadership of the Group? And ask her what happened to the Labour Party internal enquiry into the affair?

    Ask her about the Flaxyards development in Southwark? Ask her what the then Chief Executive and Council Solicitor had to say about her involvement, and ask her who else was involved?

    If she hasn't got an answer, just ask me, I have lots of them

  25. CastleWardMafia17 May 2013 at 10:12

    John you make me laugh and I'm getting dissapointed in myself for continuing to take part in this three way. Think the rest of the world is getting on with their lives this week.

    You are right to correct me - your views are akin to any other man in the pub or a newspaper reader.

    Critise Labour locally as much as you like but they have a bigger electoral mandate than Tony Clarke Independent/NIV/Tony Clarke Green (but red on the inside.) I seriously dont think you really believe the trade union movement is putting up credible analysis. The only time I hear from them is when they call for what seems to be a bi-monthly General Strike.

    Tony - you remind me of a sort of OCD sufferer. You fight it, you work hard at it, you try and avoid it but that deep rooted 'Keeble/Region torets' you have keeps popping out. Granted its been a while since you mentioned her but right at the start of theses exchanges we discussed not giving names out and my reason was when a name is posted, its not long before the accusations come forth etc etc etc.

    I am sure you do have lots of answers. Sadly the only people that are interested these days are yourself, John and dissapointingly me.

  26. Oddly enough you still avoid the questions we have raised,but persist in thinking you have some polemic skills.
    If you really think that all the trade unions are doing is calling for a General Strike then you really should get out more.Throughout the trade union movement there are members who are engaged in the basic activities of the union movement-educate,agitate and organise.
    Perhaps if the labour Party locally had been more interested in those principles rather than encouraging careerism and opportunism then the Ifty Choudary's of the party would never get house room.
    What makes you think I would accuse you of anything, an open discussion allows for obvious disagreements to be teased out and considered.As long as you hide behind a pseudonym then how can we have an honest discussion.Are you a Tory wind up merchant,a frustrated Lib-Dem,a Labour supporter that is genuinely interested in the future of the party and the movement or a hack who we know?

  27. CastleWardMafia20 May 2013 at 07:56

    Hello John - from what I hear the loss of this Choudary fellow has many more positives than negatives.

    I couldnt sum up my views any better than what I see in Tony Clarke's latest blog post of the Tory PCC (who really is dreadful dont you think.)

    Most of my messages to you and Tony on here are about knowing when your time is up, knowing when its time to leave the stage and realising when your arguements are tired and outdated.

    Tony ends the most recent message with a suggested headline and still (yes still) refers to himself as 'former MP' - it really is time to get over it dont you think? We are 8 years on, he is many more former things now than that (former NTFC General Manager, former Independent Cllr, former NIV Leader) and you only carry the 'former' tag well if you are achieving things in the current.

    That sums up my point about dignity better than anything.

    Definately not a Tory. I'm a Labour supporter, a member of Unite (take note Tony - no mention of any former positions here) although they seem to spend all my money on (i) holding elections for posts I have never heard off and (ii) sending me magazines about marches I dont want to go on. I care passionately about progressing our movement that will only be held back by harking back to some younder years that (i) never really were that great and (ii) kept us out of power for so long. I recognise your distaste at all things electoral but unless we are in the big Chair we dont get to change anything.

  28. Aah! We're perhaps getting near to the real CWM, or maybe not!
    The labour movement is much more than the Labour Party and I'm impressed that you are a member of Unite.But it seems to me that you have a fairly detached view of your union.That is a pity as I think it is the union route that will regenerate the left in this country.
    The reality is that there is a drift to the authoritarian right and the Labour Party is unable to do anything other than go along with it.All over Europe broad popular movements are growing as the resistance to the right,and they are often extra-parliamentary movements.
    What I find depressing about your comments is the notion that a left wing agenda "kept us out of power for so long"-well CWM, if having power meant only the NMW,not even a living wage,not really a lot to shout about!
    There is a sort of charm about your romantic attachment to being in the 'Big Chair'-but how far did that get us/
    And if you look at the current local Labour Party-what difference would it make if we put them in the big chair,the high chair or the naughty step!

  29. The only "Former" title that brings a smile to my face is when I say "I am a former Labour Party member"

    I am also a current member of Unite!

    I also think John has teased out your identity enough for us to know who we are dealing with.

    And to think we used to "former" drinking buddies!

  30. CastleWardMafia21 May 2013 at 16:15

    For two people who are so critical of the local Labour Party you seem to know so much about it. Much more than me.

    Never been drinking buddies Tony and John, if you think the unions will regenerate the left in this country then you are even more detached than I am.

    We could squabble all day together. How about we test some of our views on the electorate .....

  31. Who is being critical of the Labour Party? I have some good friends within the Party, it's just that in Northampton the movement doesn't have a Labour Party anymore, just a shell which is being occupied by opportunists and everyone else's cast offs.

    CWF, the only way to stop us speculating on your identity is to have the courage of your convictions and identify yourself as I and John have, without identity your just some sad bloke who pops by to try and wind us up and only succeeds in giving us more targets to shoot at.

    BTW any comment on Cllr Choudary?

  32. CastleWardMafia21 May 2013 at 21:22

    Love it Tony - if you read that first para back you totally contradict yourself. Do you think that the Labour Party will ever get over your departure many moons ago?

    Courage of convictions has very little to do with identification. Courage of convictions is having confidence in your own views without the need to attach your name to it for whatever reason.

    Why am I sad bloke? Just because I disagree with you both? And you wonder why people hold back their names!

    Cllr Choudary is no great loss to Labour. Politics if full of people who align themselves to a party for life, then when they don't get what they want from it at some point, they change their affiliation. Sound familiar?

  33. Well,CWM,"me old beauty",how do you propose we test some of our views on the electorate?TC or JD stand against whom? Or what?
    I think your coming to the end of a long,winding and essentially pointless road-that's the price you pay for seeking to hide your identity!

  34. Well CWM. First that stalwart of the Party Ifty, now 'Red Bev', suggest you read John Palethorpes blog and see the extent of the disillusionment within the local Labour Party.It i9s tragic that a party with such ambition has been reduced to a bunch of squabbling chancers. Time for a new socialist movement methinks!




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