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Monday, September 24, 2007

Political Influences

I've been tagged by Mike Ion, a left-wing loony Labour journalist who shares with me the ignomy of being soundly defeated in the 2001 General Election with a swing to the Tories. This challenge is to name my five greatest political influences. Why I should bother responding to someone who lists his own greatest political influences as Tony Crossland, Nye Bevan, Sean Healy, Tony Benn and Jurgen Moltmann I can't possibly imagine. Why did he omit Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung and Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov from his list?

Anyway, I've done it. It was a bit of a rush, so I may have made the odd minor error, but you can be certain that this reflects my political thinking. Here are my five greatest influences:

1.Herbert MorrisonHerbert Morrison, who was an inspiration to all sons and daughters of Hackney police constables. He stood up bravely to the innuendo about his responsibility for Burgess and Maclean. And he went down fighting. If Gaitskill hadn't stitched him up like a kipper he'd have been one of the greatest Prime Ministers the country ever had. Morrison famously claimed that he would "build the Tories out of London", a strategy that Julian Pipeshaft has adopted in my borough of Hackney. He is believed to have inspired Dame Shirley Porter to attempt the same thing in reverse in Westminster in the 1980s. Herbert is now best remembered for designing the corrugated iron, wattle and daub air raid shelter that bears his name - the Anderson shelter.
2.Peter Mandelssohn-BartholdyPeter Mandelson, who raised my profession to its greatest ever peak. The man who put Hartlepool on the map and led to the election of a monkey as the town's mayor in protest against the EU, where he now hides. Before Mandie, PR consultants were as universally reviled as estate agents and insurance salesmen. Now they are even more so. Before Mandie, an ordinary chap whose parents could only afford to send him to a minor public school on an assisted place had little hope of ever climbing the property ladder. And like his granddad Herbert Morrison, but unlike Mike Ion, he was a young communist who eventually saw the error of his ways and became an upstanding citizen and staunch capitalist.
3.William GoldingJohn Golding, who was my type of trades unionist - "The Hammer of the Left". A genuine, salt-of-the-earth moderate working class representative. Educated at Chester Grammar School, Keele University and LSE, Golding worked in the Civil Service (some say he enjoyed a brief employment spell with MI5). He took up a job with the Post Office Engineering Union, became an MP and eventually retired from parliament to head Britain's most right-wing union, the National Communications Union. John displayed many characteristics that appeal to me - he was an outspoken opponent of Benn, Heffer and other Communists and once made a speech that lasted for over 11 hours.
4.Ernest MarplesErnest Bevin, who did so much to foster the spirit of good co-operation between Labour and Conservative parties. The man who stood next to Churchill as a proud member of the coalition government on VE Day, just as Gordon stood proudly next to Margaret Thatcher last week. A staunch anti-imperialist, who once defined his foreign policy one that would allow him to "go to Victoria station and buy a ticket to anywhere I damn please". How can I not respect the man responsible for holding back the trades unions after the war, blocking Communist infiltrators in the Labour Party and establishing NATO. My only reservation would be his anti-semitism and his desire to hand Palestine back to the Arabs. Otherwise, an unblemished Labour politican.
5.Dalton GrantHugh Dalton, a man who once snogged Cherie Blair. My ultimate choice must be the man in whose footsteps I am climbing. Another famous LSE alumnus amongst my selection, a patriot, Coalition Government member and the man who taught Clem Atlee all he knew. Hugh stood unsuccessfully for Parliament four times before eventually getting into parliament - in Cambridge in 1922, Maidstone later in 1922, Cardiff East in 1923, Holland with Boston in 1924. Sounds very familiar to me. Hugh was the Tony Blair of the early 1930s, driving the New Fabian movement in the Party. He was a Chancellor unequalled until Gordon Brown and like Gordon always willing to find the funds for military campaigns even when times were too tough to find pay rises for nurses. Unfortunately, he was forced to resign after blabbing the 1947 budget contents to a journalist. Something "tight lips Akehurst" would never do, of course.


Anonymous said...

It's bad enough being described as part of the looney-left, but as a 'journalist', that's just nasty!

Luke Akehurst said...

My sincerest apologies, Mike. Nobody who "writes the odd piece for the Guardian, Tribune and Progress" could possibly be honoured with the title "journalist". Not even me.

Luke Akehurst said...

And everyone's a loony leftie in the context of my politics.

Anonymous said...

you are an imposter - I can't believe the real Luke would have Hugh Dalton as his 5th choice. He'd go for John Spellar (living prrof that ludicrously right wing ginger people can get into parliament) or Torren Smith, or perhaps even Mary Wimbury.....

Anonymous said...

"tight lips Akehurst"? Are you referring to your dear wife?

tristan hazell said...

Why do you have a photo of the Novelist William Golding rather than the real John Golding who was my favourite uncle?