Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Labour conference: The Shepherd's Bush view

That was quite a week. A leadership election that actually had a large part of the non political population enthralled, if only because of the personal element, and an outcome that stunned the party and country alike.

Stunned not because Ed Miliband won, but how he won. It is quite likely that a large section of trade union members who voted him over the finishing line are not even members of the Labour Party themselves.

Our MP Andy Slaughter voted against the tide of his local Hammersmith constituency party for Ed Miliband, who themselves collectively cast 26 more votes in favour of David Miliband than Ed. In fact Ed Miliband failed to win a single constituency nomination in any London party. Given the sense of anger which was palpable at the conference among many party members about that Andy may have some explaining to do when he gets back to the Bush. And to his fellow MPs -the majority of whom also wanted David.

But the conference wasn't just about that, although the media coverage talked of little else. I saw our MP at a couple of receptions about diverse issues, but it was at the Labour Friends of Palestine reception I got a real sense of how widely respected he is among pro Palestinian members of the party and is internationally known for speaking out on the Middle East in Parliament.

And former Mayor Charlie Treloggan was cheered by the party faithful as he picked up a lifetime achievement award from the new Leader, in recognition of his local campaigning for the party and community work for local people.

I also met Murad Qureshi, also an Ed Miliband supporter and one of our Assembly Members at the Greater London Authority. Fresh from Ken Livingstone's re-election as Labour's candidate for Mayor in 2010 he anticipates a keen fight for our votes in those elections.

And that's what brings me to the relevance of this post to Shepherd's Bush: away from the sound and fury of national politics, with all the personalities and egos they involve (and there are lots of them believe me) this stuff does actually play a real part in our local neck of the woods. The polls currently report a surge in public support for Labour, in the aftermath of the election.

With the impact of soon-to-come spending cuts and Boris Johnson's party's role in implementing them alongside the widely predicted meltdown of the LibDems that makes it more likely that Labour will end Boris' term as Mayor. Which in turn will directly lead to changes in W12 - the western congestion charge zone being an obvious example. If on the other hand Labour turns in on itself because of the way that the election was managed we're likely not only to see another term of Boris but probably Labour losing seats on the GLA. Which will mean our Council, for example, will be emboldened to do more of their radical Tory things to housing, parks and services.

So, like it or not, and for most people it's not, this stuff does end up making a difference. What was that David Miliband said about soap operas...?!


  1. Ed Miliband was in fact nominated by Hammersmith CLP as did Chelsea & Fulham CLP. These were decided at an all-members hustings a few months ago.

    While individual members did, to a small extent, favour David over Ed in Hammersmith, it should be noted that Andy was the third MP to declare for Ed very early in the campaign, long before the CLP nomination or individual members voted, and stood up for his convictions by voting decisively for Ed.

  2. ...all of which makes a rather compelling case for changing the way Labour elects leaders I would have thought ... those in the constituency who enjoy attending meetings wanted Ed but the actual membership as a whole wanted David! But all valid points though so thanks for pointing them out

  3. agree Andy is widely respected for his robust support of the Palestinian cause.

    Moreover, I would suggest this support played a significant role in defeating Shaun Bailey when Muslims largely in the north of the constituency were made aware of Bailey's refusal to engage on the issue during the election campaign and for refusing to attend a hustings on Palestine.