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Sat Jan 14, 2017, 06:26 AM

Labour's Tristram Hunt quitting as MP to head V&A Museum

I was never a fan of Tristram Hunt to put it mildly, but to I cannot see any reason to be happy about him joining Jamie Reed in flouncing out of parliament. There is a real chance of Labour losing this seat to UKIP, which would be even worse.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38608825

Labour MP Tristram Hunt is quitting as an MP to become the director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, triggering a by-election.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said he wished him well and was confident Labour would hold the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat.

Asked if he was secretly pleased that an MP who has been critical of his leadership was going, Mr Corbyn said: "No, I don't want anyone to resign, I don't want to lose MPs but he has taken this position as director of the V&A, good luck to him."

Mr Hunt is the second Labour MP in a matter of weeks to quit Parliament for a job outside politics. Jamie Reed announced last month he was standing down as MP for Copeland to take up a post at the Sellafield nuclear plant.

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Reply Labour's Tristram Hunt quitting as MP to head V&A Museum (Original post)
T_i_B Jan 2017 OP
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #1
T_i_B Jan 2017 #2
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #4
RogueTrooper Jan 2017 #7
T_i_B Jan 2017 #8
RogueTrooper Jan 2017 #9
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #10
T_i_B Jan 2017 #11
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #12
T_i_B Jan 2017 #14
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #17
T_i_B Jan 2017 #18
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2017 #21
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #23
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2017 #25
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #26
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2017 #27
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #28
LeftishBrit Jan 2017 #22
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #24
LeftishBrit Jan 2017 #3
T_i_B Jan 2017 #5
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #13
T_i_B Jan 2017 #15
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #16
T_i_B Jan 2017 #19
Ken Burch Jan 2017 #20
RogueTrooper Jan 2017 #6

Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 08:59 PM

1. Is Hunt hoping to embarrass Corbyn by causing a by-election in which Labour loses ground?

 

If so, I think he'll be surprised.

And it's disgusting that they would actually ask Jeremy if he was secretly pleased that Hunt is leaving. Whatever else you can say of him, Jeremy has never been petty or spiteful towards anyone on a personal level.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 21, 2017, 05:38 AM

2. Hunt & Reed could hurt Corbyn more by staying on and fighting.

And I would not be so confident about Labour performing in by-elections if I were you. Especially in seats like these where people voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU and where the local Labour MP in both cases has flounced off in search of more salary outside of politics. That gives the party a major credibility problem straight away before we get anywhere near the issues of Corbyn and Momentum.

The the case of Tristram Hunt's Stoke Central constituency, the area has had a lot of far right activity in recent times and turnout at the last election was very low (might have had the lowest turnout of any constituency in the UK). A Labour majority of 5179 votes is not what I would call safe these days and UKIP are in 2nd place by a hair's breath over the Tories. UKIP's new leader Paul Nuttall is standing and if he can get enough Leave voters voting tactically for him then we could be looking at UKIP MP number 2.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 21, 2017, 03:55 PM

4. Well, you've got me a little confused here.

 

Your big gripe against Corbyn is your belief that he didn't campaign hard enough for Remain.

I don't want to get into that discussion again, but have to ask:

If he had done what you thought he should have done, wouldn't that have made Labour's chances WORSE in a by-election in Stoke?

Wouldn't that actually have helped UKIP?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 10:44 AM

7. Had he campaigned harder for Remain

say, at the level he does when fighting to save his own skin, we may still have been in the the European Union.

However, I don't think Corbyn's campaigning during the referendum will have any affect on the outcome of this by-election. Whether he ends up be an electoral advantage or disadvantage will remain to be seen.

It will be interesting to see how UKIP perform. Post referendum, they have not been performing particularly well in the council seat by-elections; they also have serious money problems. I doubt Nuttal wanted to fight this by-election - the area is not quite local to him. The fact that the seat is under threat of boundary review means that, even if he does win, what does he do in a couple of years. There is an air of poisoned chalice.


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Response to RogueTrooper (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 12:50 PM

8. In the case of Stoke...

...Much depends on where the "Leave" voters go. If UKIP can convince them to vote tactically for UKIP then they stand a very good chance. If the "Leave" vote splits that could be the one factor that might keep Labour in place in Stoke.

Copeland on the other hand looks sure to be lost to the Conservatives.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 01:22 PM

9. Looks like the Tories are throwing in the anvil in Stoke

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tories-write-off-stoke-by-election-as-they-fear-awkward-defeat-party-sources-say_uk_588108f5e4b0b8867de7372b


The Tory party is set to give UKIP a clear run in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in a bid to maximise Labour’s chances of defeat in its heartlands, The Huffington Post has learned.

Party sources say that they are instead pouring resources into the Copeland by-election in Cumbria, which will be held on the same day next month.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a strong challenge in both seats, which have been rock-solid Labour for decades, after MPs critical of his leadership stepped down for new jobs outside politics.

But Conservative MPs and insiders say that it is “inconceivable” they will take the Stoke seat, where UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall is the candidate and where his party came second in 2015.



They obviously think it is worth giving UKIP a toe-hold in the House to humiliate Corbyn. I wonder if they will try to convince Carswell to rejoin to take the sting out of Nuttal's win?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 02:37 PM

10. If Copeland's going to be lost under Corbyn, it would be lost under any leader.

 

There's no one pro-austerity and pro-war enough to make the difference there.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 02:52 PM

11. And when was the last time you were in Keswick?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 09:49 PM

12. Never claimed I had been.

 

Last edited Tue Jan 24, 2017, 05:25 PM - Edit history (2)

I know it's the home of the Sellafield nuclear power plant(once known as Windscale, and the site of a notorious nuclear accident that was hushed up for years by the governmet), and that Jamie Reed, the outgoing MP, worked as a press officer at Sellafield, promoting the increased use of nuclear power. The previous MP for that constituency was also an apologist for nuclear power.

If nuclear power is still popular in Keswick after all what happened at Windscale, I can't imagine the town having any significant left-of-center views on anything.

(post edited to remove factual inaccuracy).

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 12:59 AM

14. It's traditionally a safe Labour seat

Having lots of people employed in nuclear power does not preclude them from voting left in the slightest. If anything, you need top notch working conditions, training and good regulation even more in the nuclear industry.

The idea that Labour should be telling voters who don't work in a decreasing number of "ideologically pure" jobs to go jump in the sea is not one that I subscribe to. Although that sort of behavior is something you do see from the far left.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 02:01 AM

17. Labour should be offering policies(Corbyn probably will)to retrain these people in non-lethal work.

 

Yes, people need jobs...but this can't possibly be the only work these people could be offered.

The issue with nuclear power is not ideological purity...it's the expense and the danger involved.

You do remember what happened at Windscale, right?


https://www.britannica.com/event/Windscale-fire

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 02:32 AM

18. Danger can be averted.

You need to provide a lot of training and very robust safety procedures. It's boring stuff but it works. And it works even better when management works constructively with unions. Also worth noting that technology has also improved a fair bit since the days of Windscale.

To be perfectly honest, the only issue I have with nuclear power is cost. I'd much rather live near a nuclear power station than a fully operational coking works for instance.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 09:32 AM

21. I think we need a bit of realism about the timeline here

The Windscale fire was in 1957; Jamie Reed was born in 1973; Thatcher was in power from 1979 to 1990. So neither was Thatcher responsible for covering up the Windscale fire (it was common knowledge in the 1980s - I can remember it was used in the Spitting Image programme right after Chernobyl, in which they assumed the viewers knew about it), nor was Reed working as a press officer during the Thatcher government.

You appear to be throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks.

Also, geography: Sellafield is on the coast, and yes, employment there means nuclear power is still OK for that part of the constituency. Keswick is inland, in the middle of the north of the Lake District. Copeland Borough Council is controlled by Labour, and has pretty much always been; Keswick, added to the Westminster seat in 2010, has both Labour and Tory support

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 05:19 PM

23. I stand corrected on chronology.

 

The larger point is that Jamie Reed went to work as a press agent for a nuclear plant built where a nuclear disaster had been. The fire occurred before he was born(and the government of that era did significantly hush it up), so he should have grown up aware of the risks, and Labour there should have been working to promote alternatives to nuclear as an employment source.

I wasn't meaning to be careless and realize I have been. Apologies.

In any case, it's silly to act as if Jamie Reed is a heroic victim of "loony left" persecution. He's simply a Blairite loyalist whose views are no longer popular in his own party OR in the country. No injustice has been done to him.

Thanks for the further information about Keswick. If that is narrowly divided between the Tories and Labour, than its addition to the constituency was always going to mean the Labour margin in Copeland overall would be reduced or possibly vanish. It would matter little whether Labour was led by Corbyn or by a right-wing establishment type like Cooper or Chuka Umunna, and it would matter little if the Labour candidate there was a left-winger or a "moderate"a group we should just go back to calling the Labour Right, since they aren't left-of-center on any major issues anymore).

So if Labour does lose Copeland, Corbyn is not to blame. It's just the constituency boundaries.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 07:04 PM

25. Anti-Corbyn feeling seems to be the exact problem

The boundaries changed before the 2010 election; Reed held the seat twice - 2010 and 2015. But here's Labour's problem:

However the party now faces a hat-trick of difficulties: Copeland backed Brexit, unlike Labour; many voters are employed by in nuclear industry, which Mr Corbyn has previously criticised; and the party is suffering a nationwide slump in support.

Canvass returns taken in recent weeks show that support for Labour has dropped 35 per cent in Copeland when compared with the 2015 election result, this newspaper has learned.
...
"Jeremy's incompetence is constantly coming up on the doorstep. Nobody sees him as a party leader,” said a Labour source.

Mr Corbyn suffered a setback this week when his favoured candidate, Rachel Holliday, was not selected to challenge for the seat.

Instead Gillian Troughton, a local councillor, was chosen. Mr Corbyn later praised her “strong track record of getting things done” in a message released by the party.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/20/exclusive-labour-set-lose-copeland-by-election-partys-canvass/

As we saw in the Huff Post article above, the Tories are targeting Corbyn's nuclear stance:



I wasn't aware anyone was painting Reed as a 'victim'. But he seems a lot more popular in Copeland than Corbyn.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 08:18 PM

26. As your link indicates, an anti-Corbyn (therefore presumably right-wing)candidate was selected.

 

n/t.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 08:44 PM

27. Yes, she was selected last Thursday evening, 24 hours before the Telegraph story was published

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/19/labour-picks-ex-doctor-to-fight-copeland-byelection

The canvassing will have been before she was selected (you can't have 10,000 conversations and analyse them in 24 hours)

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 25, 2017, 12:58 AM

28. It should be noted that Labour held the seat in 1983 and 1987

 

The last two elections it fought with a manifesto that even mildly questioned nuclear power, and with leaders who were under at least as much attack as Corbyn is now.

And in those elections, the SDP-Liberal Alliance existed and receive heavy corporate funding for that primary purpose: making it impossible for Labour to win a general election(I seriously doubt anyone ever really thought the Alliance could actually beat the Tories themselves).

I hope Labour does better than expected in both by-elections, since it is the only electable anti-racist party that will be standing and because if it does surpass expectations, that might finally cause the anti-Corbyn plotters to stop doing damage.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 01:51 PM

22. Jamie Reed wasn't yet born when the Windscale fire took place, so he couldn't have helped to cover

it up.

I am not a fan of Jamie Reed, but he cannot be blamed for covering up something that occurred more than a decade before his birth.

I wasn't born in 1957 either, but I was certainly aware of the Windscale fire at a later stage. Thatcher may not have gone out of her way to keep it in people's memories, but she certainly didn't cover it up: it was too late for that, even if she'd wanted to.



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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 05:22 PM

24. Ok, Jamie didn't personally cover up Windscale.

 

I've edited the post and removed that phrase.

Still, it's problematic that he knew the fire had happened and still chose to take a job in the nuclear power industry, specifically as a press agent tasked with trying to promote the idea that nuclear power should be more widely used.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 21, 2017, 03:50 PM

3. No; I think he is taking a good job that was offered to him

Being Director of the Victoria and Albert carries a salary of at least £140,000, compared with £75,000 for an MP, and is more secure: although Stoke on Trent Central has so far always returned Labour MPs, the majority hasn't always been huge. And, if the boundary changes go ahead, his is one of the seats that could be abolished or seriously altered. Hunt is unlikely to have a senior cabinet post in the near future, so he may well have decided that he'd prefer a bird in the hand to two in the bush. ETA: his original career was as a historian, so this move makes a certain amount of sense.

I am slightly worried about the constituency, given that UKIP are putting in a huge effort there, and that the turnout in that particular constituency tends to be fairly low even in General Elections, and is likely to be much lower in a by-election. Low turnouts sometimes favour UKIP. I hope we can dodge that bullet.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 21, 2017, 05:07 PM

5. I think the proposed boundary chages have played their part.

Last edited Sun Jan 22, 2017, 03:57 PM - Edit history (1)

It's taking away seats from a number of MP's and as far as getting selected for a new seat goes, it's difficult to see Hunt getting past the Corbyn loyalists anywhere.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 09:54 PM

13. You make it sound as if it would be intrinsically unjust to deny him a nomination.

 

Is every MP whose constituency is abolished OWED selection in another constituency?

From what I've heard of Hunt, there's nothing particularly remarkable about the man. His main distinguishing features seem to be unquestioning loyalty to the Blairite past and a choking hatred of socialism and left activists.



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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 01:06 AM

15. Wrong

I'm no fan of Hunt. He was dreadful as shadow education minister and a prime example of the sort of politician people on all sides of the spectrum are reacting against right now.

But he's in the same situation as my local Labour MP, due to have his constituency abolished and facing all sorts of obstacles if he wants to stay on. So I can see why he's flounced, even if I don't agree with it as it is only likely to make things much worse for everyone else in the current climate.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 01:59 AM

16. If it's the Tories doing the boundary reductions, why bring "Corbyn loyalists" into it, then?

 

based on what you've just said, Hunt would have had difficulty getting nominated in a different constituency even if Liz Kendall was leading the party.

Isn't it time that Corbyn and his supporters stopped getting blamed for everything?

It's not as though those in the party who want Corbyn out are presenting any good policy ideas. Most of them still think the party should back the Tories on the benefits cap, the benefits sanction program, the persecution of immigrants, AND the bombing of Syria-i.e., essentially BECOME Tory, since the party couldn't support the Tories on those issues and still be to the left of Theresa May on anything else. And most of these people STILL haven't given up on expelling everyone who supports Corbyn...even though doing that would leave the party with no one who actually has any recognizably social democratic convictions, let alone socialist convictions, and would leave virtually no one to do the work of doorbelling and leafletting for Labour in any future general election.





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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 02:48 AM

19. Because Momentum are going to be very active in the selection process

Which means that quite a few Blairite, and a few not so Blairite MP's will be facing the axe.

I'm sure my local Momentum branch are looking for ways to clone Dennis Skinner as we speak!

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 24, 2017, 03:08 AM

20. Isn't it at least as legitimate for Momentum to try and get people it supports nominated...

 

...as it was for Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair to essentially FORCE dozens of CLP's to nominate people they didn't themselves want to nominate back in the Nineties?...

Why should the people who represent the numerical majority of party members NOT have a real say in the selection of Labour candidates?

What chance does Labour have of winning if Momentum and the other Corbyn supporters are driven away? The party can't win if membership size declines by the hundreds of thousands between now and 2020, and no one is going to come in to replace those people. There simply aren't any huge number of people out there saying "I'll join Labour the moment it stops being anti-austerity again and starts being pro-war again".

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 23, 2017, 08:33 AM

6. The seat is due to go with the boundary review

He must have run the numbers and realised the probability of getting selected for any of the nearby seats was pretty slim: More likely would be a future of "symbolic" deselection fights from the alt-left. Factor in that he is as near to an un-person with the current leadership, and his court, as one could be. All adds up to an exit stage left (or right, in his case).

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