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The dinner party’s over

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Luke Akehurst

is director of We Believe in Israel and a former member of Labour's National Executive Committee


  • Luke trys suggest that this is some kind of wishy-washy critique at the expense of the concerns working people. I don’t buy that. Both Jon Cruddas and Jon Trickett represent constituencies with their fair share of deprivation and have consistently raised issues on the behalf of the working class communities they represent – affordable council housing and labour market insecurity being two prominent examples. I don’t think that they shouldn’t be so readily dismissed as being part of ‘a pamphlet tendency’ or ‘pandering to the saloon bar’.

    The Compass statement was also co-signed by Tony Woodley, joint-general secretary of the country’s biggest union. I’ve never met Tony but he really doesn’t strike me as someone to be dismissed as part of the ‘chatterati’. Luke’s preconceptions of everything Compass clouds what could have been an interesting comment on how we can change society for the better AND win a fourth term. Which is a shame.

  • You can see my response among a range of others on Luke’s blog here.

    I think it’s a shame to see Progress falling into attacks on other progressive organizations.

  • Its clear Mr Akehurst should carry on in his straightforward and simple New Labour Utopia where everything seems to be just ‘tickety boo’ . If there are any social or economic problems on planet Akehurst they are not ones that require any analysis or additional understanding . He doesnt want to know what stands in the way of us being able to deliver better schools and hospitals, security, lower crime etc. and he probably doesn’t seem to care if we could live in a better democracy with more freedom and equality. God forbid there should be a causal link between a better society based on principles of care and better public services . Surely there must be some mechanistic ,economistic way of making public services better whether people care about each other or not. Perhaps targets or maybe its monetary incentives?

    So we don’t need to communicate a vision of where we want to get to and if we don’t need a vision then it wont have to be intellectually and morally coherent in order for a) it to work because only intellectually and morally coherent visions are practicable b) for people to trust in us, believe in it and work with us to make it happen .As we dont need any of that –all is well.

    He falls into the old trap of focussing on the ends without realising that means will always impact upon the ends. Ghandi said that means and ends are as inextricably linked as a seed is to the tree it grows. Thatcher thought human beings where selfish and individualistic she planted neo liberal seeds and unfortunately and perhaps unknowingly Blair nurtured them. If we believe that human beings are capable of being caring and considerate we need to plant some social democratic seeds.

    It may be that we don’t need leadership just now? We may have enough momentum to carry us forward in the same direction?? But if like the vast majority of the population you think change is required then leadership is required .

    If Luke thinks we can defeat Cameron without strategy hes wrong, if he want to leave the development of the strategy to others that’s fine but to criticise Compass for calling for it because he only wants to deal in the obvious and un-difficult is ‘copping out’ and asking everyone else to cop out so that he doesn’t feel guilty about doing so .

    You have been judged!

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