Friday, December 29, 2006

Labour Supporters Call on Hazel Blears to Resign

Hazel Blears is not the first Cabinet Minister to appear at a protest against their own Government's policies. John Reid and Jacqui Smith beat her to it. But it does take some brass face to appear on a picket line at a hospital you are at least in part responsible for closing. She protests that she is doing it in her role as a constituency MP, but that argument just doesn't wash. Many believe that if she felt so strongly, rather than just having private little chats with Patricia Hewitt about 'heat maps' concerning hospital closures in marginal seats, she should resign.

Paul Linford disagrees. He writes: I have always regarded Hazel Blears as a just another shameless New Labour careerist, but perhaps there is more to her after all. She has certainly gone up in my estimation this week, and more importantly, I suspect she will also have gone up in the estimation of thousands of Labour members with votes in the party's deputy leadership election.

And there we have it. Could this be the real reason for Ms Blears putting her nose above the parapet? Well, if so, she need only look at THIS thread on LabourHome to see the reaction of some Labour members. They are not impressed. Not impressed at all.

I suspect that Ms Blears is rather more worried about her political future closer to home than the Deputy leadership. She's taken a calculated gamble, and the gamble is that local Labour Party members will view her move positively and help her be selected for her much redrawn seat. Hmmm. Not so sure.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This analysis seems a bit wanting Iain. Haze can simultaneously support the idea of consolidation, specialisation and centres of excellence while opposing the (very close) decision of civil servants that Hope gets it - subject to final decision. As to the heat maps ... given that concentration of facilities is likely to involve sites in the biggest conurbations and that these areas vote Labour and that more remote sites are likely to change to lower order facilities (as predicted by the spatio-economic theories of Kristaller which you may remember along with the economics of economies of scale?) and also be less politically red then the geographical distribution of changes currently proposed makes a lot of sense whoever is doing the rationalisation. In Greater Manchester the proposed changes are actually a gift to the Lib Dems and Tories offering them the chance to fight the power - even if they would do the self same thing, according to their principles as far as these are known. So if that is political favouritism and brilliance I'd not like to see them on a bad day.

Anonymous said...

PS Haze will win the selection race. Her supporters will care a lot more than Ian's IMO. And so their turn out (and her organisation to get them out) will be much better.

David Lindsay said...

Hazel Blears is campaigning vigorously to save NHS provision (specifically, to save renowned and award-winning maternity services) in her constituency.

This is in marked contrast to the record of Hilary Armstrong, who campaigned vigorously, and only too successfully, to destroy such provision (including just such services) here in her own constituency, even conspiring spitefully with the then Tory Government to that end.

To this day, her mini-me and preferred successor (one Neil Fleming) refers to that much-missed provision as "a tip" and such like, when not pretty much demanding at meetings held in public that the elderly have their Zimmer frames kicked away for his own sadistic amusement.

Blears, apparently, is facing deselection, and so is pulling out all the stops. Well, that's called democracy, folks. But just what does Hilary Armstrong have to do, or not do, to face any such threat? The level of sycophancy towards politicians in this part of the country beggars belief, and genuinely baffled one of the leading campaigners to save Shotley Bridge Hospital, who put it to me at that time that anywhere else, "The MP would have been dragged in, by the hair if necessary," rather than begged on people's knees to condescend to turn up to public meetings, and even then let off entirely when she failed to do so even so much as once.

All of that was a decade ago now, but it certainly hasn't been forgotten. Indeed, the Labour Party in at least one directly affected ward has long since banned Hilary from setting foot there because of it, a ban which she honours for her own safety. Seriously.

Yo Ferenc Blair said...

Ian, your first thought is correct. This is pure opportunism on the part of your "chipmunk". You can be sure that when she does get re-elected she will completely forget about her "local" maternity hospital.

As for this being "called democracy" that is really sick and what fuels people's cynicism about politicians.

Olympic Catastrophe said...

Ian, Just how dire a mess are the Labour Party in? They are losing members hand over fist, they are effectively insolvent, and the Party Chair is out campaigning against her own party's policy!
Meanwhile the PM pretends he is still important while freeloading in his own little fantasy world across the pond.
May the Lord have mercy on our souls.

griswold said...

Stupid little Chipmunk trying to ride two bikes with one backside. She's no biker, all leathers and no throttle, and is running scared trying to save her MP job. An unappealing sight in more ways than one.

Steve said...

In principle I don't see why this would be a great problem. One can support a policy as the right idea in general but still argue that a particular case doesn't work as an appropriate application of the policy. Of course that line of argument could also be an attempt to put a respectable face on an essentially political stance but even then the things are not mutually exclusive. Nor is it surprising, any more than opposition attempts to make political hay.

javelin said...

This woman is the face of an organisation who have run out of leadership material and been forced to promote junior management. There isn't an milligramme of leadership in her creepy little body.

jafo said...

Ms Blears appears to be suggesting that closing hospitals is a jolly good thing - just not in HER area......gosh, a hypocrite, moi?

Could it be that she has discovered that her constitutents don't think that closing hospitals will contribute to their health care - and dear me, they think she is responsible? Surely they realise that being a Labour Cabinet Minister means never being responsible for anything.........

Anonymous said...

Blears creeps me out. I think she looks like the bloody Joker! Move over Jack Nicholson!

Man in a shed said...

Of course she is self serving. All the current NuLabour ministers joined a party that has been completely discredited, as theNew Labour project has confirmed - yet they have stayed on mostly it now appears for themselves.

When the Chairman of a party can't be sure of getting selected for a winnable seat then that party is in real and deep trouble.

2007 may therefore be a great year !

Anonymous said...

A point of contention in Ms Blears constituency is the rationalisation of the health service in this area. As Labour party chair, she took the unprecedented step of strategically planning health service cuts that would be optimised in seats that either did not elect Labour MP’s or would ever be likely to do so. Safe Labour seats were deemed possible targets of cuts whereas marginal Labour seats were seen as crucial to the long-term interest of the government and therefore the Labour Parties parliamentary majority.

The decision to attend such a meeting has caused Ms Blears a local problem in her constituency as it has been short listed for swinging cuts in services and the diversion of financial resources in an experiment that may cost peoples lives. Due to expected boundary changes and the amalgamation of two parliamentary seats which encompasses Ms Blears current seat, she will have to undergo a bloody and vicious contest with rival candidates to be adopted in this new seat.

This has lead Ms Blears to undergo a second unprecedented gesture in actively campaigning against a policy that she had collective cabinet responsibility for and more importantly been the Labour parties representative at the strategic planning stage. Given Ms Blears involvement in cabinet, strategic planning and formally holding the office of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, her future in parliament is less than assurred.