Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Importance of Alice Mahon

Former maverick left wing Labour MP leaves the Labour Party. 'Big deal' will be the spin from Labour Central. 'No one outside the Labour Party has ever heard of her', I can imagine them saying.

But Alice Mahon does matter. So did Peter Temple-Morris, John Lee, Peter Thurnham and Alan Howarth, when these little known names left the Conservative Party in the 1990s. They symbolised a deep malaise within the Party, which was regarded as deeply intolerant and ideological. In Alice Mahon's case she has left, not because of Labour's policies, but because of the way the Party is conducting itself in office. That's perhaps even more damning. And don't believe she just reflects a narrow left wing viewpoint within the Labour Party. Indeed, I suspect most Labour members are privately expressing similar concerns at the moment.

I'd like to think that there could be some high profile defections over the next few months. But I'm long enough in the tooth to realise that the Labour Party is a far more tribal beast than the Tory Party. But the fact that the sinking ship is slowly being deserted by people like Alice Mahon is evidence enough that there's trouble at t'mill for Gordon Brown. Leadership chatter is already starting again, and any bounce that Brown got from the G20 was illusory. And next he has the Euro and local elections to contend with.

The Yorkshire Post has the full story HERE. Their headline seems to indicate she is still an MP...


Tomfiglio said...

Not convinced - she's been troughing away quietly all this time, why suddenly decide to speak out now? How many others will suddenly recover their integrity in an attempt to distance themselves from a failing regime?

Anonymous said...

Labour shouldn't mourn the loss of an ineffective leftist who defended Slobodan Milošević

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Or it's the first of the expense looters getting out and covering her tracks.

PSJ said...

We can't really go on like this for another year, can we, with the government utterly discredited and sinking, but still in office?

OK, the Major government limped on for years, but in 1996 the country was thriving.

General election now, please.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine who's a senior corporate consultant to troubled companies has what he calls the "spaceship test." Basically, he asks people which 6 people they'd put in a spaceship and trust with establishing the company and its culture, its true ideals, on another planet.

Then he asks how many of those people are still working at that company. If the answer is fewer than three, he generally doesn't see a future for the company.

Silent Hunter said...

I think she has shown her integrity as a human being.

I think it speaks volumes about the state of the Labour Party if people like her are now resigning from the party BECAUSE of the way that Labour now conduct themselves.

She was a Labour MP for 18 years and a member of the party for 50 years- the very fact that she, of all people, has left the party should rock the foundations of the Labour Party.

But as you say.......they will disingenuously try to belittle her and dismiss it as a non-event.

Clearly honest people with integrity have no place in todays Labour Party.

I wish her well.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

The nocturnal fiddling habits of the labour party revealed in all its glory:

The European elections are on Thursday 4th June but not counted until Sunday 7th June. This will give ample time for the "democrats" in local authorities to have a damn good nocturnal fiddle with peoples' votes.

If, like me, your hopping for a large BNP protest vote*, make sure you take a pen to vote, not rely on the polling booth pencils.

Perhaps its time that we have international observers at UK elections.

*This week's Economist magazine (page 29) suggests that 250,000 people from the rapidly failing state that is called Pakistan come to the UK every year. Voting BNP seems to be the only way of waking the political-media complex up to this very real threat to the UK.

Silent Hunter said...

Oh look!

I see the "anonymous" (they always are) Labour Shills have made an appearance, as predicted.

Matthew Cain said...

I don't buy it - sorry. It's as ridiculous as me suggesting that Stuart Wheeler leaving the Tory party highlights its "deep malaise" over Europe.

This sort of daft political point-scoring can only come back to hurt the Tories when it happens to them.

JuliaM said...

"Or it's the first of the expense looters getting out and covering her tracks."

A distinct possibility!

Scott said...

she is not an MP.

she stood down in 2005

Barnsley Bill said...

I would be more impressed if it were not a millionaire who got that rich laying under the open spigot of taxpayers money. They are all troughing pigs. This one has obviously accumulated enough money to retire at the next lolly scramble with her self determined principles in place.

Anonymous said...

I've been a member of the Labour party since I was 17 - 23 years. I mourn the fact that people like Alice Mahon feels it necessary to do something like this - but I totally understand it. I agree, Labour is very tribal, and I include myself in that, and it takes something extraordinary to do something like this, but it speaks volumes about the way the Labour party is being run and about the people running it.

Tom Harris said...

Iain - it's simply wrong to say that Alice didn't leave because of policy disagreements: she cites government a for Israel, welfare reform and privatization of public services as three of the main reasons for her resignation.

And of course her resignation is far less significant than the resignations of Peter Temple-Morris and Alan Howarth, both of whom not only resigned from the Conservatives but actually defected to Labour while they were sitting MPs.

Elby the Beserk said...

Talking of Labour in Yorkshire, did you know that the South Yorkshire Labour Party has been suspended for a year, with police investigations into allegations of financial irregularity?

More Labour corruption?

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that there will be an attempt at the defenestration of the Prime Minister in the next month.

The Euro elections are going to be absolutely dreadful for Labour and there will be a groundswell of MPs who know their futures are going to be 'down the pan' without a change.

John Redwood said 'No change, No chance..' - John Major sneaked back in. I'm not sure Gordon Brown would be so lucky, but dropping him might just rescue a few MPs.

Wonder if there will be something in the Sunday papers tomorrow ??

I've a vibe that Ed Miliband is the man to watch - if he switches sides to support Harman or maybe even Alan Milburn, then it could be 'game on' for a full challenge on the leadership before the summer.

Unknown said...

@Matthew Caine...

well..I would say that the departure of Stuart Wheeler may show something of a warning for those who support the Tory party.

If you look back in time, you can definitely see that the roots of failed governments were there before they got into power, its just that they often took time to be apparent.

With John Major (or George Bush senior for that matter), it was the dreadfully negative and cynical election campaign that propelled them into office. Sure, enough, in office, they both proved to be visionless, cynical careerists.

With Blair and Brown, it was the cowardly stitch up at the infamous Granita dinner that meant we were hobbled with an utterly dysfunctional government dominated by petty feuding for the past 11 years. Again, it showed a tendency to put ambition before principle.

I speak as an ex-Tory party member who wants an incoming Tory government to succeed. However, there is no great enthusiasm out there for a Tory party people see as lightweight and opportunist on some many issues.

If Cameron proves to be an ineffectual, Heath-ite trimmer in office then we may well look back at the resignation of people like Wheeler and say....

'With hindsight it was obvious...'

Tony_E said...

The problem is the same with all those inside the Labour party who have spoken out this last week:

Where have you been for the last 12 years?

All of us out here in the real world knew what was going on, not in detail perhaps, but we knew. As soon as Ecclestone got his F1 deal, we knew that government at the highest level was for sale, and that it was not just a few greedy MPs trying to trouser a few quid, but the PM and other ministers who were involved.

Now that the ship is fatally holed beneath the waterline, the voices of dissent appear. They have nothing to lose now, many of them would be better off standing as independents at the next General Election, (unless they already know that the Glenrothes method is to be used again to boost the Labour vote).

No, too late comes the outrage, they gain no credit by futile attempts to distance themselves from the stench of the rotting corpse that is New Labour.

'We were elected as New Labour, we will govern as new Labour' Tony Blair 1997. The only time he can be proven to have told the truth.

Catosays said...

Tom Harris conveniently omits the comment she made re the 'smeargate' scandal.

Anonymous said...

Its a classic


Cycle. we have entered the stage where the Party is examining itself, what its done, and what it cost. as more war weary labor activists wake up and realise the system they are supporting. they will realise that the ideals they beleive in are not represtented by the edifice they have built.

Anonymous said...

Labour are doomed - DOOMED at the next election!

Not even the Socialists want to be associated with the vile and Morally Corrupt practices of Number 10 under Gordon Brown!

Nigel said...

>>And of course her resignation is far less significant than the resignations of Peter Temple-Morris and Alan Howarth, both of whom not only resigned from the Conservatives but actually defected to Labour while they were sitting MPs...<<

One might equally argue that it's more significant. As a retired MP, she has no interest to protect, and no motive for resignation other than disgust.

As for the anonymous ad hominem (feminam ?) attacks, they are predictable and pitiful.
(Not that I have any great regard for Alice Mahon.)

Silent Hunter said...


Well said.

Come on Tom - let's hear your thoughts on her comments about Smeagate.

Demetrius said...

A long time ago, I met Alice a couple of times. She is one of the old school, representing the sort of people the New Labour London Mediocracy has deserted. "They are changing the guard at Buckingham Palace, Gordon Brown went down with Alice...."

Mark M said...

"And next he has the Euro and local elections to contend with."

I expect labour to get a drubbing at the euro elections but it's also quite possible that the conservatives will not do so well as UKIP might pick up a lot of protest votes, mine included.

JohnM said...

A non-story if ever there was one.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Dont think the Labour party will be sorry to see the back of Red Alice....she is barking.....good riddance...lets hope she stays away from politics now..

Nigel said...

>>A non-story if ever there was one.<<

Yes, there seem to have been a lot of those on the front pages recently.

Thank you for your useful advice that we should just ignore them.

Maybe you can let us have some tractor production statistics instead ?

Nigel said...

>>good riddance...<<

The Tories seemed equally grateful to lose all those 'unsound' people in the late 90s.

How did that work out ?

Anonymous said...

Lets hope there is more defections and they get hammered in the euro elections signalling yet another sign of there gradual but certain decline into next years role as the loyal opposition.

Rob said...

Went a tory story breaks, I goto ConHome to get their perspective.

Went to LabourList to see if there was anything on Alice Mahon or the tampered ballot box at the Erith Labour hustings. Nothing. Nada.

Great illustration of why that site is a waste of space.

Steve Horgan said...

The Euro-election results, at least in terms of numbers of seats, are probably going to be distorted by the predicted collapse of UKIP. Polling suggests that they may lose up to 8 seats, some of which may go to Labour. That and the PR system that we have may mean that they do not fare as badly as some expect. However, the County Council elections on the same day are another matter as they are straight FPTP. If Labour does very badly there then things will get very tough for their leadership.

David Lindsay said...

Alice Mahon has made it entirely clear that she has left Labour because of policy, including the vicious Welfare Bill, the work of James Purnell, who persecutes the poor, sick and disabled while charging the taxpayer four hundred pounds per month for food, since apparently neither his ministerial nor his parliamentary salary is paid in order to feed him.

Truly, we have stepped through the looking glass.

Brian said...

"Alice Mahon, a Halifax MP for 18 years and a party member for more than 50 years, has resigned her membership of the party saying she can no longer stomach how it operates." - bit of a slow learner, isn't she?

Anonymous said...

She's about as slow as claire short was .

neil craig said...

One of the very few MPs of all parties who did not knowingly & deliberately vote to bomb Yugoslavia for the deliberate purpose of assisting in the racial genocide every one of them knew their party was assisting in.

Of course we now know that they ultimately assisted in the ethnic cleaning of 350,000, ,assacres, genocide, the hisnap & sale of children to western brothels & the kidnap, dissection while still alive, & sale of thousands of Serbs Gypsies & anti-Nazi Albanians as parts to our hospitals.

In all the media discussion we are going to see I think we can be certain that those unnewsorthy facts will go unmentioned, even largely online.

So yes Iain she is important - more important than party activists of all parties guilty of genocide, will mention.

I can see why the 2nd poster, while attacking Milosevic, chooses to retain anonymity. There is barely an MP who, when compared to Milosevic, doesn't look like a corrupt racist murdering Nazi war criminal.

Chris Paul said...

Rob 3:54 pm. Fool! There are at least three Alice Mahon posts at Labour Home. And at least two Erith and Thamesmead since last night as well as several in the build up to what was is and will be a difficult one.

Perhaps you meant Labour list? Doesn't usually post 24/7 and is traditionally more or less switched off at weekends. But currently being edited by the Labour Youth.

Not likely to give a hoot about Alice I'm afraid. And with nothing to add about E and T gate.

There are dozens of stories that never get covered at all or scarcely by Iain, but you could not be more utterly wrong about Labour Home than if you had claimed it was calling for a BNP vote.

Chris Paul said...

Goodness me. Rob post now does say Labour List. So ignore half my comment. The half about weekends and about Labour Youth however is relevant.

Anonymous said...

The publication of the full set of MPs' receipts for the past four years,due in July 2009, will no doubt contain more revelations of the sorts of inappropriate – to put it at its kindest – objects and services that have been charged to taxpayers.

MP's are derading this, none more so than Labour MP's and ministers-
some reported to be "suicidal" with fear

can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is important but in different ways than you think. Temple-Morris, Thurnham, Nicholson etc left the Tory Party because they thought it to be too right-wing. Mahon has left Labour because, er, she thinks it to be too right-wing.

Maybe people's politics have yet further to move in the left direction, despite the talk of "ZaNuLab" and "Marxist Government" on blogs?

Harry Barnes said...

Alice and I were Labour rebel MPs from 1987 to 2005. But she is wrong this time -

Eric Anthony Blair said...

'Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence' said...

"This week's Economist magazine suggests that 250,000 people from the rapidly failing state that is called Pakistan come to the UK every year. Voting BNP seems to be the only way of waking the political-media complex up to this very real threat to the UK."

What it actually says is 250,000 Pakistanis come to Britain to visit, work or marry with 350,000 British citizens making the opposite journey.
To conclude;
Epic FAIL.

Sincerely, Eric Anthony Blair.