One of our bloggers is missing

November 30, 2006

Good news for one of the Daily’s chimps with typewriters, as they’ve been unchained from their desk and set loose in pastures new. However, with one blogger down, we’re more interested than ever in your stories. If you’ve got anything good, any gossip, any hot inside news about the Labour Party, please email us at


President Blair goes nuclear

November 29, 2006

Some people talk about Blair being a bit too presidential, but the DTI have just given him a bit of a title bump.

A press release about an upcoming meeting known as the “Franco-British nuclear forum” says that it arises from the: “Franco-British Summit in Paris on 9 June 2006, at which the two Heads of State confirmed their common will to set out their energy policy”.

Here at the Daily, we believe that if Her Majesty wants to be head of state, she should stand in an election, which she would certainly win, however, we would be interested to know how she takes the news that she has a competitor for the ceremonial top spot.

Dodgy loans and party renewal

November 29, 2006

Following the loans affair, the Labour Party has now published what it has taken in loans. It makes pretty grim reading – the Party is now £23.4 m in debt; £1.5 m of it has been called in and is now repayable within months; £17 m will have to be repaid by the end of next year.

The whole affair of slightly shady business men stumping up loans to secretly finance the last election campaign leaves a bad taste. It only serves to drive away people from getting involved in the Party, which itself is a vicious circle. With less activists, we become more reliant for a funding base on big donors and more reliant on money as we have less activists.

Renewing the Party is the only way to solve our problems. It’s fairly clear that the old labour dream of a flood of new union money to displace the donors isn’t going to come true. Neither is it a viable for the Party to scale down high expense campaigns for upcoming elections. The answer is to re-energise the party, bring in new members and get the ones already in more involved.

One obvious model is that of Howard Dean in his primary race. The fact that he didn’t win is neither here nor there. He managed to energise Democrats and bring in huge amounts of money in small donations. That money didn’t all just come because he had a snappy website. It came because of the small Dean events and meet ups that took place. It came because people felt that they had a stake in the campaign.

That is why democracy in the party is not just a question of people who are unhappy about policy x or policy y having their say. A genuinely democratic party that gives the members a real voice would help people feel that they are part of something worth bothering with again. That would bring in new money and help get enthusiastic volunteers for the tough campaigns ahead. That is how we get out of the money vicious cycle and start to fight back against Cameron’s Tory machine.

Tom Watson on the deputy leadership

November 29, 2006

Tom Watson has a poll on his blog about the Deputy Leadership race, which is well worth a look at.  We missed it when it first went, but it looks like it is still live.  Click here to answer his questions.

Latin America 2006

November 29, 2006

We’ve been asked to publicise the Latin America 2006 conference, which looks like being a very good event.

It features speakers from the UK and Latin America talking about the changes and struggles around the continent.

Speakers include:

Harold Pinter, playwright, political activist
Aida Avella, of the Patriotic Union party in Colombia, who has faced several assassination attempts.
Cesar Navarro, of the Bolivian MAS party
Wayne Smith, the former US head of interest in Havana.
Tariq Ali
A member of the Venezuelan Parliament
Colin Burgon MP
Barry Camfield, TGWU
Keithe Sonnet, UNISON
Frances O’Grady, TUC.
And a host of other speakers.
Tickets are available to book online here

Anything you want Harriet

November 27, 2006

The Indy runs a YouGov poll that puts Harriet Harman in the lead for the deputy leadership contest among ordinary voters. Great news for Harriet – surely. You wouldn’t know it from reading the Indy, but the Metro reveals that the poll was commissioned by the Solicitor General herself.

Suspiciously, the internals, or indeed the question itself, haven’t been released yet.  Daily suspicions are somewhat raised by the line in the Indy report, “voters gave Ms Harman a warm personal rating”, which makes her sound more like a new product being focus grouped. One wonders exactly what the “nearly 2000 voters” were asked.

As soon as (if) the internals and the question become available we will set the stato chimp on it. However, in the meantime, it might be worth taking this poll from AnyThingYouWantGovHarriet with a pinch of salt.

How Hain learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

November 26, 2006

Peter Hain took advantage of his appearance on Sunday AM with Andy Marr to push strongly the Government line in favour of replacement of trident.

Asked why he was happy to spend billions of pounds that some pinkos ordinary voters would like to see spent on schools, hospitals and basic kit for an overstretched army, he replied that, “the issue is since we are where we are and the history of having an independent nuclear deterrent I do not think people in Britain will accept us giving that up. ”

This stands rather in contrast with the 1993 joint letter he sent to President Clinton, urging a stop on new research on nuclear weapons. He argued that it would demonstrate a “commitment to the research, development, manufacture and deployment of nuclear weapons”. Just to clarify, at the time, he thought that would be a bad thing.

He attacked the US and Russia for their lack of “vigour” in supporting non-proliferation as recently as 2000. Some people might ask the question how a hugely expensive spanking new nuclear weapon of mass destruction is going to help the cause of non-proliferation. It certainly sends out a single about the UK’s commitment to the cause.

Marr put a very good question, which Hain just refused to answer: “you think it would be a good way to spend taxpayer’s money to develop a new system which could presumably wipe out half of humanity like the current one would. Give me some examples of how in practical terms that’s going to be useful.”