Thursday, June 28, 2007

Leadership Conference

Well, congratulations to Harriet Harman. Not the result many people anticipated but she clearly worked hard until the last minute and it will be good to have a woman as Deputy Leader.

The weekend went well. Starting with my local Branch Labour Party out canvassing and leafleting on Saturday morning. Five of us (and eighteen month old Ben) managed to cover a good bit of ground and we'll carry on until next May 1st. May Day would be a good day to regain the ward for Labour.

Saturday evening was a barbecue organised by Hazel Blears' supporters. It was a barbecue with surprisingly good food and surprisingly strong cider!

There was a National Executive Committee meeting on Sunday morning at which we received the details of plans by Gordon Brown to improve our policy making - a key priority for much of the new leadership.

The Conference in the afternoon was well attended and it was good to see Neil Kinnock there. Like other NEC members I was disturbed that the result was on the TV before it was announced to the Conference and I'm sure we'll be asking questions about that. Disappointed that Hazel went out first but she's' been prepared to fight her corner and she'll come out of this stronger.

Harriet topped the poll amongst ordinary members in every round so in a way its good to see the members' choice come through.

It's important now that we get on to the campaigning side of things - we can't rely on the Tories to beat themselves but even now its clear that up against a politician of Gordon Brown's substance, David Cameron just looks lightweight.

On Sunday night we'd arranged for Radio 5 to broadcast their political programme from our pub in Salford - The Crescent. BBC put on the food and with plenty of Labour people popping down through the evening, we gave the Beeb a different sort programme and a warm welcome to their new Salford home. Much of the BBC will be moving to Salford in 4 years time.

Anyway - weekend over and its time to more forward.

Dennis Skinner Dinner

Friday 22nd saw Dennis Skinner speaking at a fundraiser at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.
Dennis is great at this - going round the country helping constituencies to raise funds and get the message across.

He is a great speaker with a distinctive style. I suppose the point about him is that even if you don't agree with him you can see he is genuine. In fact I agreed with every word he said as he laid into the Tories and Liberals and reminded people of just how much Labour has achieved.

A lovely dinner and thanks to all the people at Bolton North East for organising it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Leadership Conference

The Leadership Conference will be held in Manchester on Sunday 24th June. It promises to be an interesting "set piece" event and there will be lots of media interest as it will mark the start of Gordon Brown's Prime Ministership.

It's also got to near the end of the recent period of hiatus and see the party organisation moving on to the first foot in terms of preparation for the General Election. What we don't need is the sort of "reorganisations" which change nothing and confuse everybody.

What we do need is change, to the Policy Forum procedure which ensures it engages much more with our members and a clear emphasis on building of our organisation on the ground and in the regions. We won’t be able to out spend the Tories next time but we can out work them with the commitment of our volunteers.

If anyone is coming to the conference and want tips on where to stay feel free to contact me on 07880 790182.
Saturday 23rd June 2007 10.30am

Mass canvas and postal vote drive

Meet at Co-op Shopping Giant, Bolton Road, Irlam’s o’th’Height, M6 7NJ. We’re on a big drive to cover a polling district and then have a Saturday afternoon pint. All welcome – the more the merrier.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Supper With The Minister

Friday 6th July 2007 - 7.30pm for 8pm

M30 Restaurant, White Horse Pub, Eccles Old Road, Salford
Claremont Branch Labour Party is organising a “Supper With The Minister” with Kitty Ussher MP for Burnley.

This promises to be an excellent fundraising evening and you are urged to book your places early to avoid disappointment.

Tickets cost just £20.00 for a three course meal.

To book your ticket and place your order phone Peter Wheeler on 07880 790182 or e-mail:

  • Leek and Potato Soup

  • Prawn Cocktail

  • Buttered mushrooms baked in leek and crumbly stilton
  • Lamb Shank, wine gravy, coriander mash, seasonal veg

  • Grilled salmon, new potatoes, seasonal veg

  • Stuffed peppers with savoury mushroom rice and salad
Coffee and chocolate mints

Deputy Leader - Its Up To You

Ballot papers are now landing on people's mats and the decision is in the hands of the members.

As you know I'm voting for Hazel Blears. All the other candidates have good things to be said about them but for me Hazel has the unique blend of enthusiasm, ability, experience and thorough-going commitment to the Labour movement which will help us to a fourth General Election victory.

I'll be giving my second preference to Alan Johnson who has good Labour and Trade Union credentials and a good political grasp but the important thing is that members actually vote. At the NEC elections only 20% of members voted and low turn-outs like that discredit the Party.

So - make sure you use your vote, get behind the winning leadership team and, after June 24th, let's show both the Tories and Liberal Democrats how a campaigning Labour Party can deliver.

Liverpool - The People's Hustings

Thursday saw the Deputy Leadership election hustings in Liverpool. The venue was Hope University in Everton and there was an excellent turnout of over 300. The format was the now standard one of a speech and then question and answers with Gordon, followed by speeches from, and questions to, the Deputy candidates.

They are all bearing up well under the strain and there is a good discussion going on about the future course of the Party. This sort of debate and activity is precisely what the party needs.
It was good to see the hustings in Liverpool. Originally the Party had not scheduled a husting in the North West but pressure from North West members did the trick and its good to see the Party listening to the members in this way.

Thanks to USDAW for their support for the event and the North West staff for the hard work they put into building the event.

As you can see we took a coachload from Salford and ended up with a lengthy post match analysis in "The Crescent" afterwards.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Manchester - Charlestown - June 14th 2007

This by-election is caused by the death of Eric Tobin, a good Trades Unionist and active Labour Councillor.
We had a big majority in May but the BNP got a quarter of the vote in a neighbouring ward and we're going to make sure they don't make any in-roads here.

We were out Saturday and Sunday morning and the local party are meeting at Moston Labour Club, Monday - Thursday 6.00 p.m. and Saturday - Sunday 11.00 a.m. If you can come and help ring Mark Hackett on 07795 960931.

Vale Royal - Davenham and Moulton 21st June 2007

Held over from May due to a death, three seats are up for election and if the Tories get two they get control. If you can help in any way - ring Anna at the Regional Office - 01925 574913.

Wigan - Tydesley 28th June 2007

Liberal Democrats held seat but we are looking to put them under pressure - ring the Regional Office on 01925 574913.

Same Old Tories

"Once upon a time there was a Tory Party which was committed to social justice, caring, compassionate . . . " but reality kept rearing its head.
The Tory MP for South Devon arrives at his railway station on Tuesday and can't find a parking space so he parks on a disabled parking space and leaves it there till Friday.

We'd all do that - wouldn't we? NO we wouldn't because most of us have more common decency. I just wonder why he hadn't been towed away.

The campaigning charity, Mobilize, says that blue badge parking schemes for disabled people are being "abused by idiots like that MP who feel they are above the law!" I think they're being kind to him.

If you have any more examples of the true face of the Tories forward them to me and I'll ensure they get publicised.

Deputy Leader Hustings

Manchester Central

On Thursday 31st May 2007 Manchester Central CLP organised a hustings for the Deputy Leader elections. There was a good turnout of over 50 and the CLP had decided not to make a nomination so it was in the nature of a discussion.

Peter Hain and John Cruddas were there in person. Hazel had a pre-arranged meeting in South London so I stood in for her. Ivan Lewis MP spoke for Alan Johnson, Tom Levett MP for Hilary Benn and Jack Dromy spoke on behalf of Harriet Harman.

To be honest I should have been in bed as I'd just come down badly with man flu but didn't want to let Hazel down - I just hope I didn't give it to anybody.

It was a good, comradely debate and if it carries on like this (famous last words!) it will be very close at the end. My financial consultants say if you can still back Hazel at 6-1 - you'd be mad not to!