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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Still Sick

Well, I've been here and, apart from a break yesterday, I posted every day since Monday. But I couldn't help notice that my spoofster was sick all week. This is someone who's spent the past year trying to undermine the Labour Party by pretending to be an illiterate, politically incompetent version of me - in short, the Mr. Bean of Hackney Council.

I knew nothing about drugs law and I'll learn lessons moving forwardWell, I'm sorry to disappoint this pathetic fraudster, but I haven't given up blogging, despite his best efforts to make me feel guilty and upset about the little difficulties we've been having lately with political funding and internecine warfare in the Cabinet. And pretending that I spent an evening last week hiding from the political fallout watching a local junkie screeching out the lyrics to "Fuck Forever" is simply stretching credulity to snapping point.

I mean, for Chrissake, I'm a Director of one of the world's biggest PR corporations and a prospective Parliamentary candidate at the next General Election. Do I sound like someone who - this week of all weeks - would have gone out to hear a band play "Music When The Lights Go Out"?

In-between working and blogging, I did have a busy week. I attended Alan Davidson's funeral on Friday. They say events often come in threes - but when you lose a comrade from Streatham CLP, the Glasgow Evening Times chief sports writer and one of Britain's leading food writers all in one week, you can only wonder what issue God has with Alan Davidsons.

My favourite LibDem... urrrggggghhhhhh!The rest of my spare time was spent shadowing Lib Dem Meral Ece while she was out canvassing in Springfield Ward. Unlike her I haven't picked up any comments about recent national events having an impact on people's voting intentions. We've now established 29,375 Labour "promises" with over 2 weeks to go - not bad for a ward with a turnout of 1,848 at the last local elections. Believe me, some wrists are aching from filling in all those pledge forms. Despite the fact that we've got victory in the bag (geddit!), the Lib Dem Focus newsletter proclaiming "it's a two horse race" between them and the Tories - this in a ward where in 2006 the Tories got an average 785 votes, Labour got an average 524 and the LibDems an average of just 183, behind the Greens on 264 and not far ahead of the veteran Communist Monty Goldman. Watch this space for a massive Labour victory!

On the national stuff I don't buy the idea that one man making donations through third parties somehow shows the whole system of political funding is wrong, especially when the donations are to the Labour Party. It shouldn't have happened, but I'm sure that once all the people named by David Abrahams have apologised and promised to learn lessons moving forward, they'll all manage to stay out of jail. I'm not impressed by people arguing for breaking the union link - just because of one temporary, quirky scenario. After all, the unions are vital to the New Labour project. We keep them as tightly bound by the bo***cks as Maggie Thatcher did, of course, but without them the Party would be even more in debt than the £23 million currently showing in red on the balance sheet.

Peter Watt and David Abrahams discuss footballThe Party needs to tighten up procedures to ensure donations are transparent, but the law only needs a small change to regulate campaign spending between elections which, because of a drafting omission we've blamed on civil servants, allows rich donors or candidates to "buy" marginal seats with saturation spending in the "long" campaign. I wrote that before reading what Gordon Brown said to the NPF yesterday, but I haven't deleted it because I totally disagree with the PM. I'm against a cap on individual donations. As long as people are transparent about donating, or cover it up but apologise nicely afterwards, we should have a system that encourages people and groups of people such as trade unions to give vast sums of wonga to political parties - not put limits on it in a way that somehow suggests donating is wrong or corrupting, even if it is.

As we're on the subject of election law, the bit above about Springfield is:

Printed and promoted by Luke Akehurst of Flat 1, 8 Beatty Road, London, N16 8EB on behalf of Mohamed Munaf Zina of 91 Kyverdale Road, London, N16 6PP - or at least would be if anything I'd said above made me subject to the law on political imprints, which was not the case as the law only "applies to any material that can be reasonably regarded as intended to promote or procure the election of a candidate at an election, whether or not it can be regarded as intended to achieve any other purpose as well."

As a Labour Chief Whip, I'm familiar with the Electoral Commission's Guidelines on the new imprint requirements under Section 66 of The Electoral Administration Act, para 3.20 of which states: "All election publicity must carry an imprint with details of the full name and full postal address of the printer and promoter of the material. There is no longer a requirement to include the details of a publisher; however if the material includes the publisher’s details in addition to that of the printer and promoter, this will be acceptable. The name and address of any person on whose behalf the material is being published must also be included, if this person is not the promoter." And para 3.29: "Any website that refers to an election or candidate(s) should have an imprint as a matter of good practice." So it would be poor practice, if not strictly illegal, had I encouraged people to vote for X and imprinted it: "Promoted by Luke Akehurst..."


lord london fields lido said...

Both Akehursts seem to forget that:

a) being told to piss off on the doorstep with a "yes, i'll bloody vote Labour, now f*** off" is not a hard labour vote

b) it's December and the estates will stay home.

This is a two horse race, and Labour ain't in it.

Definitely not Isaac Leibowitz said...

do all 29,000 promises have postal votes?