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The Luke Akehurst blog - The genuine Luke Akehurst weblog about politics, elections, the Labour Party and that ghastly Hackney place. Ignore counterfeit Luke Akehurst blogs - this is the genuine article from the chap who whips Hackney Labour councillors in his spare time.
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"My favourite film is Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb" - Luke Akehurst
"Funny and clever but not particularly nice" - Time Out
"With added foie gras, steak, soft cheese, claret and port (hic!)" - Luke Akehurst
"In gustatus perquam putidus est" - Vatican Bank
"Not so much 'Who's Who?' as 'Who's Sleeping With Whom?'" - Peter Mandelson
"You can judge a blogger's politics by the colour of their blog banner" - The spoof Luke Akehurst
"By a coalition of Trots, tree huggers, anarchists, Tories and a nasty little clique over-excited about my hair colour" - Luke Akehurst

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Twenty Questions To An Unsuccessful Blogger

You won't believe it, but I've been here for nearly two years now and this is the first time I've been invited to take part in that celebrated game of the blogger - the disclosure meme. The idea of this is that one blogger invents a format involving personal revelations. Examples of this might include "10 Politicians I Hate", "My 5 Worst Experiences On The Stump" or "6 Tory Female MPs I Wouldn't Throw Out Of Bed".

Paul Burgin bloggingThe nominee of the meme then publishes his or her answers and nominates a stated number of new nominees to do the same, rather like a chain letter.

I was thrilled to receive the following invite from Paul Burgin - wannabe journalist, Press Officer for NE Herts CLP and part-time Customer Service Executive at Patel, Shah & Patel High Class Cigarette & Tabloid Kiosk, The Broadway, Letchworth.

"Dear Luke, I nominate you to respond to the following 20 Questions About Being An Unsuccessful Blogger. When you've published your answers, please forward to 5 other unsuccessful bloggers. Yours in comradeship, Paul."

How could a chap turn down an invitation like that? So here I go:

What made you decide to start blogging?

In the aftermath of Labour's victory in the 2006 local elections in Hackney, when thousands of ballot papers got up during the night and voted with their feet, I got really excited. After all, we'd exceeded all the expectations set out for us when we were sent in to sort out the Party. I remember staying up all night with Linda, drinking claret and dancing to "Maladjusted". Our favourite track was "Ambitious Outsiders" and I was planning to use this title, before I came up with the more pithy and hard hitting "Luke's Blog". Things have changed a bit since then. It's clear with hindsight that we should have paid more attention to "Sorry Will Come In The End". In my first ever post I said I was "just getting started on this blog which will be a place to post my views, rants & stats about elections, the Labour Party, and the borough where I am a Labour councillor, Hackney". Since then, of course, I've blogged endlessly (some would say mindlessly) on just about everything except Hackney. Top of the list have been the national leadership and deputy leadership campaigns, followed by Morrissey, the NEC, Trotskyism, The Smiths, David Cameron, Sweden, Ken Livingstone, nuclear weapons, Morrissey, Australia, Diane Abbott, Johhny Marr and the House of Lords. I only mention Hackney on bad news days and no news days.

What is your best blogging experience?

Hazel Blears telling me she had this post up on her office wall. I wrote back to tell her that I've got this poster up on my toilet wall (vroom, vroom!) and asking her whether she'd like to come to a Smiths concert with me. Strangely, I never got a reply.

And your worst?

a) Having to apologise to Jon Cruddas when I realised that, far from being an ordinary, fallible human being, Jon is actually infallible, superhuman, broadly supported, d) uniquely insightful, Tony Woodley's voice, front-runner in the Iowa primary, inventor of the internet and annointed by Ken Livingstone. Just the latter virtue alone is enough for me.

b) Some creep taking photos of my house and putting them on the web. This weirdo waited for a day when he knew Linda would be in and took a series of candid snaps through the living-room windows. I mean to say - what kind of extreme pervert would want to take saucy photos of my wife? Even I don't want to look at her naked with the lights on. I still wonder to this day whether I got it all wrong and he was actually checking the place out with a view to coming back and nicking all my Morrissey albums.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

No contest. It has to be this one. What a great picture. Unfortunately, I did get a bit carried away with the spoof attack and some people were fooled into thinking that I really found Morrissey to be an unpleasant racist scumbag. Whereas, of course, I was just trying to pull off the same sort of satire that my spoofster accomplishes so well.

Favourite blogs?

Meral's Musings
Liberal England
A Liberal Goes A Long Way
Liberal Democrat Voice
Peter Black
Liberal Burblings
Millennium Dome, Elephant
Cicero's Songs
Andy Mayer
Lynne Featherstone
Norfolk Blogger

Did it work that time?

What inspired you to go into politics?

Well, after getting a lower second in Politics from Bristol, what other choice did I have? I wasn't exactly fitted for a career as a barrister, a surgeon or a merchant banker. It was 1993 and you could smell the coffee. There was little doubt that Labour would win the next election and with a man named Smith as Party Leader, how could they go wrong? I just loved people called Smith - we used to dance to a bunch of them in the Senior Common Room. My two great-grandfathers were socialist Mayors of Gravesend and I grew up helping to leaflet at election time. Thank God they weren't around to see the 'Labour' politics that I developed - they'd have turned in their graves.

A weekend watching Stoke Newington play or a weekend at an Amicus conference?

Stoke Newington doesn’t have a football club. Well, strictly speaking there are several football clubs registered in Stoke Newington, but they're all Turkish drinking and backgammon clubs associated with teams in the Turkish First Division. We don't hassle them - and they vote Labour in return. The south of Stoke Newington is Arsenal territory, whereas the north has always been Spurs territory. I don’t like football, but I like Amicus because they recruit people like me who never did a real day's work in their lives. You know the sort - nondescript people named Smith. So I’d settle for the conference.

You seem to have an interloper claiming to be you. What's the story behind that?

I guess I am easy to spoof! I do write the sort of crap that is piss easy to parody. 90% of it is legitimate satire and well-observed – the other 10% is personalised abuse, which I think says more about the writers than about me. It suggests to me that there's a team of about 300 writers working on this in shifts. The eclectic nature of the posts indicates that some are LibDems, some Tories and some Trotskyites. An information has told me that the people behind the spoof blog are all named Smith or Morris, but someone else told me that it's all done by one disaffected ex-Labour Party member named Morris Smith (Morrie to his Jewish friends and Morrissey to us goys).

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Definitely Iran, because of this. And Cuba, to witness the end of Communism. Perhaps a quick visit to Guantanamo Bay while I'm there, to see how the Americans deal with trouble makers like my doppelgänger. I'd also like to visit Smithtown, New York and Morrissey, Alberta.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Sshhh! Don't mention Cómpeta, second home of Hackney Labour Councillors. Let's say Italy instead.

Who, excluding the present leader and Prime Minister, do you regard as the best British Prime Minister, and if different, the best Labour leader?

It would have to be Herbert Morrison - although I'm cheating really as he never actually became PM or Party leader but was deputy at both. So his grandson would make an excellent second choice on the same grounds. Or similar. There's never been a British Prime Minister named Smith or Morrissey. Isn't that interesting?

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Living: Neil Kinnock. Slightly less living: Herbert Morrissey. Not breathing regularly: John Smith.

Favourite Bond movie?

"Live And Let Die" with Madeline Smith, "Doctor No" with Louis Blaazer as Plydell-Smith or "The Man With The Golden Gun", with Oswald Morris as DP.

Favorite Doctor Who?

Joanna Lumley, who played the doctor in "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death" in the second year of Tony Blair's reign. Much better looking than the others, even if she wasn't called Smith or Morris.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?


Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

The Smiths. I've seen Morrissey in concert twice and it's disappointing not to have had The Smiths perform in my living room.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?

Definitely not Oxford as it was the seat of Cromwell. Not Cambridge as it was the seat of Boudicca. It would have to be Barsby, Leics - home of the Vikings. I've always fancied myself in one of those helmets...

Favourite national newspaper?

Certainly not The Guardian – especially while it publishes this sort of thing. You'll be surprised by my answer, but it would have to be the Daily Mail. When all the other papers were attacking Labour on the front page, the Mail was the only one to attack the Royal Family instead.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Spending time with my two-and-a-half-year-old son, Augustus. Hence my main focus nowadays is on Thomas The Tank Engine, Bob The Builder and Danny The Dealer. Looking for a decent school that I can get Augustus into later on without having to leave the Borough takes quite a lot of my spare time, although I'm tempted sometimes to give up and follow in the footsteps of Diane Portillo. My other hobby is studying the history and techniques of civil war and insurgency, in case the LibDems ever get into power. I used to be a keen runner – I did half marathons and mountain marathons – but that was before the weight of foie gras and claret resulted in this stomach. Now my GP wouldn't let me run. Except to a Smiths concert.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Vote Riggers of the World Unite – The Smiths
Bandiera Rossa
The Internationale

The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 by Friedrich Smith-Smyth
Morrissey: Scandal and Passion by David Brett
Morrissey's Manchester: The Essential "Smiths" Tour by Phill Gatenby

That's the lot. Now I nominate the following unsuccessful bloggers:

Hilary Benn
Karen Cross
Louise Baldock
Rupa Huq
Thicko Watson


hymie rosenberg said...

Morris Smith was an Orthodox Jewish Wall Street Fund Manager who transformed an unknown mutual fund into the world's largest. But he saw the pointlessness of the pursuit of money and resigned, becoming a rabbinical student. Just thought I'd let you know.

lord london fields lido said...

Hymie, more than one person can have the same name... there are at least two luke akehursts, after all...

Luke Akehurst said...

Bullshit. There's me - some kind of socialist even if a bit loopy most of the time. And this other guy pretending to be Luke Akehurst, who manifestly has absolutely nothing to do with Labour, socialism or ordinary working people as evidenced by his writing. Except, strangely, when he has left-wing fits while I'm on holiday. Blimey. I hadn't thought of it like that before. The evidence points to me parodying myself most of the time and asking George Galloway to stand in for me while I'm on hols. Spooky!

Louise Baldock said...

I was not sure whether to jeer or cheer at the inclusion of my name in your quizlet. But seeing as how you have linked to Kerron Cross's top blog instead of mine, I have decided to be pleased at the mix-up.

Like you, nobody ever asked me to do this before, so if I get the chance when it is not, once again, 1 o'clock in the morning, I will give it a go!

lord london fields lido said...

i'm guessing you're with Meg Hillier in favour of closing our post offices then, Luke?