Thursday, January 07, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Charles Clarke Faces Possibility Of Deselection Vote

Word reaches me from Norwich that local MP Charles Clarke may face a very uncomfortable evening tonight tomorrow night. His local party is meeting and they are to demand that he ceases his campaign against Gordon Brown. There has been a lot of 'phoning around' among local Labour members over the last few days and there are a significant number of them who want to push this all the way to a deselection vote. An email was sent out last night urging local members to attend the General Committee Meeting and it contained this ominous line.

"...the involvement of a local MP is harming our reputation
as a local party across the movement."

Here's where it gets interesting. The author of the email is none other than Guido's old friend Phil Taylor, ex Special Advisor to Peter Hain. There is no secret that he wants the Norwich South seat. He recently stood and lost the selection for Norwich North. So you might say he has an interest in ousting Charles Clarke a few months before an election campaign in a three way marginal...

How ironic it would be if Charles Clarke ended up being the only casualty of a secret ballot.

27 comments:

Grumpy Old Man said...

Dear Iain. It's not particularly odd at all. Socialists only call for a secret ballot when the result is beyond doubt in favour of the ruling oligarchy. Secret ballots that could go either way are avoided like the plague, as set out in the Rules for electing a Leader. It's a Labour Core Value. Joseph would approve.

Rupert said...

Clarke is fantastically unpopular with the local Labour Party here, so anything is possible. Labour members and even elected Labour people have dissed him in private conversations with me and with other Green colleagues here on occasions too numerous to mention, and for a panoply of reasons. Some have said explicitly that they would not vote for him, let alone campaign for him, at a General Election.
C'llr. Rupert Read, Norwich.

Lobbydog said...

A plot within a plot, wrapped in a coup...

mutleythedog said...

Is Clarke the fat one we used to trip up at NUS conferences all those years ago?

John East said...

I experienced a momentary feeling of sympathy for Charles Clarke when I read this, then I remembered what an awful Home Secretary he was, what a pompous and arrogant person he is, and above all how stupid he must be to stick his head above the parapet so ineffectually every time the is a punch up amongst the comrades.

It’s good riddance I’m afraid, although his replacement by Phil Taylor would be a bit annoying in that it would deprive us of the pleasure seeing Clarke publicly humiliated live on air on election night.

hatfield girl said...

What are they trying to do, force the collapse of the Labour coalition out into open public gaze?

James Mackenzie said...

Hmm, and what would Clarke spend the next 2-4 months doing if he lost? Working for a Labour win, or something else?

Resigning? Campaigning for the Greens? Who knows. But if Labour think he's been disloyal so far, my guess is he could still surprise them.

Unsworth said...

"they are to demand that he ceases his campaign against Gordon Brown"

So the local party has now decided to take action against the sitting MP? Does he care? Only if he's planning on staying, and Clarke will have done his calculations on that score. Last time out his majority was about 3,600 votes - just under 9% ahead of his nearest rival, a Lib Dem - and his core vote has steadily reduced since 1997. And the boundaries are due to change, so it's all a bit touch and go anyway.

Presumably these clowns believe that if Clarke now supports Brown there's a good chance that they'll win the next election.

Why on earth do they think that? Damage has already been done, things are going to get much worse and even if (whatever the outcome) Brown is ousted after an election, ousted is what he'll be. It's most unlikely that any one local issue will swing things their way.

Better to face up to reality. Brown is certainly an asset to the Conservatives if he leads his party into the election, but Clarke could be an asset to Labour, particularly if the mood of the nation is 'against' Brown - and I think that is so.

There's a considerable difference between Clarke being obliged to mute his views and being deselected. A move to deselection would only further damage Labour's image - projecting the (fairly accurate) impression of a Stalinist NuLab. But then the Norwich lemmings are fairly unpredictable.

politicalcream said...

Either Clarke is an embittered man, unable to accept his senior political career is over or he's trying to save New Labour - either way, as in all walks of life, there will always be someone snapping at the heels with their own career in mind.

Ben said...

Completely off topic, but I'm steaming about this.

I just caught the end of the item on Woman's Hour with you and two others on Winning Women's Votes (or wimming wimmings' votes as one of the contributors called it).

The words that nearly sent me off the road: Labour's legislation for providing paternity leave have 'given social legitimacy to the role of the father'.

Well, I'm a father, and I'm absolutely furious to hear such hubristic self-regarding nonsense. Getting rid of these interfering social engineers cannot come soon enough.

George said...

Oh what a laugh.
Democracy rules with LieBour, well almost, deviation from the core line is heresy and punishable with excommunication.
Poor ole Clarke, damned for doing the decent thing and actually uttering the truth, the reality. But then again in the dying thrashings of the dinosaur, truth and reality are somewhat ethereal and don't count.
Would be nice though, to see Clarke de-selected and Phil Taylor then got zonked for 6 by the voters and suffer a humiliating defeat, with a massive loss of votes.
No doubt we will hearing very soon of similar action being taken in Hoon and Hewitt's constituencies.
Disloyalty cannot be allowed in the democratic left.

Dimoto said...

Iain, I heard your piece on Woman's Hour - I think you achieved just the right tone of well-modulated reasonableness. Well done.

I thought you missed one open goal:
The Labourite lady made much of 'all that Labour had done to shift the agenda on to women's concerns'.
Of course, that is undeniable.
In the early days of New Labour with smirky, chummy Blair and his Blair babes, against "small man syndrome", baseball-capped, fifteen pint Hague, purloining female votes was too easy for Labour.
However, Labour have long since rowed back from that position and bully-boy, snarling, shouting, thuggish, bad-tempered Brown/Balls are the antithesis of women friendly.
Cameron dominates the agenda for women's concerns. (much to the apparent chagrin of the Tory crusties).

Osama the Nazarene said...

Just par for the course from the "stalinist" PM. You can bet his "Beria" aka Malcolm Tucker aka another Brown has stuck his two fingers in the Norwich pie and stirred, lots.

And they say they're busy ruining the country (the hypocrites). An opportunist like Taylor is bound to jump on the bandwagon. But the sensible voters of Norwich will dump any donkey wearing the nuliebor rosette, the way they dumped former SWP member Gibson.

VotR said...

Clarke should cross the floor, as should all Labour MPs that oppose Brown and his cabinet, out of principle.

They may be out to get him, but he is out to get them. They must act while they have the chance.

Civil war in the Labour party, civil war in our government at a time when we cannot afford to let our 'leaders' act in such an immature fashion, the UK is not so much down the pipe but floating in the sewer and needs calm and loyal minds to help it out, a dedicated rescue mission.

"We can't go on like this."

Daily Referendum said...

I'm becoming increasingly surprised that Labour are going to allow us to have a General Election.

chillitt said...

If deselected, Could he then resign the seat and force a by election? That could be fun...

Peter Baxter said...

It's irrelevant anyway. That constituency is as good as already won by the Conservatives. Like the rest of the country, Norwich has woken up to the fact that we need a Conservative government like never before.

Demetrius said...

Will you be applying to be a candidate, or are you too far to the Left for the Labour Party?

Conand said...

"...the involvement of a local MP is harming our reputation as a local party across the movement."

Naughty naughty Norwich Labour. Your movement doesn't like your having an MP who holds consistent beliefs and rightly believes Brown is damaging your movement and the country intellectually, morally and financially.
Quick! Better get a spineless, sociopathic s**t instead! Happily there are plenty of those available both within Norwich Labour and the wider movement.

Whoops! Did I just digress from positive campaigning? My bad. Soz

Mr Spock said...

Peter Baxter
"It's irrelevant anyway. That constituency is as good as already won by the Conservatives. Like the rest of the country, Norwich has woken up to the fact that we need a Conservative government like never before."

Is that why the Greens polled the most votes in Norwich during the local and European elections in 2009 and the Greens are now the official opposition at Norwich City Council.

The jury is very much out and I wouldn't put money down for a Conservative victory in Norwich South, and its different to Norwich North constituency.

East Anglian said...

I am not sure what planet Peter Baxter is on but he doesn't seem to think there are two constituencies in Norwich with 2 separate and distinct political cultures and demographics.

I should know because I live in Norwich.

Rupert said...

Yes, the point is that it is in Norwich South where the Green Party has its real strength. In 'Norwich North', where I was our candidate in the byelection, we had a massively uphill battle - because we have no City Councillors there, and three quarters of the byelection voters in fact were from rural Broadland. In Norwich South, we have 13 City Councillors, and are the official Opposition, just 2 seats behind Clarke's Labour (and 8 seats AHEAD of Labour in Norwich South alone, as Labour has only 5 Councillors in Norwich South! The other 10 Labour Councillors are all from Norwich North.).

Get Smart said...

If they deselect him he should just stand as an Independent that would put the cat among the pigeons.

Anonymous said...

I've heard at council meetings that Rupert gets dissed amongst his county Green colleagues.

What would make me laugh is if Chas Clarke called everyone's bluff and announced he was going head to head with Gordon Brown in a leadership battle, with the support of disgruntled backbench Labour MPs. Clarkes nothing to lose. He's out when Brown loses 2-4months for not speaking his mind, he's out if he speaks his mind.

Any deselection vote would look like it was directly ordered by Brown by dictak, knobbled like Dr Ian Gibson; throwing Browns reelection ambitions into meltdown and death throws.

BloggerDave said...

Chas Clarke? I'd surgically remove his ears and without anaesthetic

Richard Gadsden said...

Is that the Phil Taylor that used to be Phil Jones and was Chairman of the Young Lib Dems in the mid-nineties?

If so, he's a s**t of the first water, and I thought that long before he defected.

Fausty said...

Internecine Labour battles. Love it!

It doesn't matter who wins - either will lose - Clarke because he's just not likeable, and Taylor because of courtier positioning.