Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Greens ousted from Hackney by "dog poo"

According to an election report by the man who masterminded Hackney Labour's victory in May, Labour: "Fought and won Clissold Ward from the Greens based more on tackling dog poo on the Milton Gardens Estate than on the national or even borough issues."

The battle with the Green Party for Clissold Ward was just one area where Luke Akehurst's tactics helped Labour to an almost unhealthy victory, taking 50 of the borough's 57 seats (not including the Labour Mayor, Jules Pipe).

It may be common practice in all parties but Akehurst's report reveals a stick-heavy/ carrot-light attitude by the Labour Party leadership toward its councillor candidates. The positives (two annual social events and a no-arguing policy for in-house debates) seem to be outweighed by the negatives (league tables to encourage competitiveness, and threats of deselection and weekly reporting regimes for wards that lag behind on canvassing numbers.)

But are these threats just secondary measures to keep an already compliant selection of candidates in-line? In the piece Luke Akehurst makes it clear that powerful measures were taken to clean up the Hackney Labour Party and whatever techniques he devised to do this in 2000, why wouldn't he deploy them on newer generations of politicians?

Maybe the botched attempt to deselect hard left Labour Councillor Barry Buitekant was a symptom of this Labour group engineering. May be it wasn't. But the question now is whether the Hackney Labour Party is willing to scrutinise its leadership and whether it's members can restrain its leadership if they need to?

Meanwhile, the election result seems to be a mainly white Labour group with most minorities under-represented.


  1. are you kidding me?

    Labour overwhelmingly carried Hackney, as they did the other inner London boroughs, because people are shit scared council services will be cut - not "dog poo".

  2. It looks a bit daft but there was one Green councillor in Hackney. Her seat was in the Clissold Ward and, according to Luke Akehurst, that particular ward was more interested in what their council candidates were going to do about dog shit than anything else.

    No doubt you're right - in most instances fear of cuts drove support for Labour - but that was in the majorities of Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier and even Jules Pipe - but the council elections were different. For example, the Conservatives were damaged by their renegade councillor Tesler who stood as an independent after being deselected and split the vote in Lordship. More damaging than a general fear.

    Whether dog shit was the downfall of the only Green standing in Hackney (hence the 'ousted from Hackney' - apologies if that was a bit over-stated)... I don't know - but that's the opinion of Luke Akehurst who ran the Labour campaign.