Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dear Editor.....


"Last lap for the Labour hopefuls.

The ballot papers are due to go out in the Labour leadership contest (Labour contenders await Blair, 30 August). At the last minute each of the candidates has produced a manifesto, but (except in one case) these are tucked away in an obscure blog entitled Dronfield Blather, which is run by the Dronfield Labour party discussion group, which ran a three-month campaign to obtain them. It would be helpful if the voters could first see what they are voting for. The manifestos differ considerably in style and presentation. Andy Burnham's is entitled Aspirational Socialism and is some 9,000 words long. He is also pushing this via his own website. The others have not yet done this.

Diane Abbott and David Miliband have produced what might be called "minifestos" of under 700 words each. Whilst the two Eds have come up with scissors and paste jobs taken from what they see as relevant and important past items. As quantity is not the same thing as quality, judgments of the relative merits of each of these presentation can only be determined by examining them on the Dronfield Blather website.

Harry Barnes."

NOTE : The official booklet (opposite) being issued with ballot papers contains statements from the candidates, but these are limited to some 250 words. The material available via Dronfield Blather is much more extensive.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And Now There Are Five

The entry "Manifestos Of Intent - Read These Before You Vote" has been updated, as the blog "Dronfield Blather" has now received material from all five candidates in the Labour Leadership Election. See here.

Now that they have all set out their stalls, we have something to judge the winners' actions by in the future. That will aid the democratic process within the Labour Party.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We Have A Manifesto

In response to the campaign run by "Dronfield Blather", Andy Burnham has today issued a Manifesto setting out the programme he would seek to pursue if he is elected as leader of the Labour Party. It is some 9,000 words long and can be viewed and/or downloaded from his web-site. It is a serious contribution and should be studied by all those with votes in the leadership contest.

Andy describes his stance - "It begins with a definition of the philosophy that underpins my approach to politics and outlook on life. It is Aspirational Socialism. It means that we want all people to fulfil their hopes and dreams but knowing that this will only happen for those who have least if we work for a world where resources and power are shared".

It is hoped that the four other contestants will set out their stalls based on their own values and commitments. Later this week we will publish or provide links to any Manifesto material we have access to from them.

Eventually we will make our own assessment of the different cases which the five candidates argue

Friday, August 20, 2010

Manifesto Momentum

The Following is taken from the blog "Dronfield Blather".

Yesterday as part of his Labour Leadership Campaign, Andy Burnham circulated an email in which he stated - "Next week, I will set out in my manifesto how I intend to rebuild our great Party from the bottom up, as an open and vibrant campaigning force with power vested in the hands of our members. ..... My manifesto – ‘Aspirational Socialism’ – is a coherent political philosophy and vision for our country. Keep an eye on my website at www.andy4leader.com for more information. You will be able to download my manifesto to read at your leisure."

As we first reported on 2nd July, Andy's action is fully in line with a commitment he had then made to "Dronfield Blather". Following a further exchange of emails, he repeated his promise to us as recently as 6th August.

As soon as he issues his manifesto we will provide access to it on this site.

As we showed in the item we posted on 1st August, we also hold promises from the other four candidates that they will also issue Manifestos. We will send each candidate a link to this current item and press David, Diane and the two Eds to also deliver their Manifestos next week. Not least because the ballot papers in the contest are due to be circulated from 1st September. It would be good to have a chance to read and digest the Manifestos before then.

We initially ran a campaign for the issue of such Manifestos here.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Now There Are Five

This is taken from today's "Dronfield Blather".

All five candidates for the Labour Leadership have now responded positively to the campaign run by Dronfield Blather to issue Manifestos of Intent. On Friday we reported that four out of the five were then on board, but afterwards the missing Ed Balls was approached at the close of the final hustings held at Manchester and he accepted our proposal.

It all reminds us of the first of Enid Blyton's books about the Famous Five. It was entitled "Five On A Treasure Island" and as is shown opposite. The cover of the book depicts Enid's missing character being safely brought aboard at the last moment.

However, the drama is not yet over. The five have all agreed to publish Manifestos of Intent. Three have confirmed this by email, one by a letter and the other face-to-face with Blogger Brader at Manchester.

But we only have until 16 August until the balloting commences. So we are keen to gain access to the finalised Manifestos themselves for publication by then. So far we hold some initial material from two of the candidates, although if they wish they still have time to elaborate on what we hold.

Whenever all five Manifestos are to hand we will publish them alongside each other. If anyone falls out of the boat we will, however, publish what we then hold on 16 August which is the date that balloting commences in the contest. We can't wait any longer than that.

Candidates are, of course, free to publish their own Manifestos at any time they wish. If they beat us to it, we will nevertheless stick to the above timetable.

The start of the ballot for individual members of the Labour Party has been changed from 16 August to 1 September. We hope, however, that the candidates will submit and/or issue their "Manifestos of Intent" well before the new date. People need time to examine and discuss Manifestos. So we will still seek to act in conformity with the time-table mentioned above.

For what are called logistical reasons, the final date on which we hope to issue the candidates' Manifestos is now pushed back to 25 August. It is a good old fashioned compromise between the two dates mention in the earlier update. At least it shows that we are in communication with the high commands in the various candidates' camps.

Below - the famous five at their final hustings at Manchester.