15 February 2011

Some questions for Linda Jack (and Richard Grayson)...

Linda Jack is a high profile Lib Dem blogger and former PPC. She is one of eight quislings led by former think tank chief Richard Grayson who have agreed to help Labour write their new policies (the party having junked everything it stood for last May).

The policy review is being run by the egregious Liam Byrne - the man who sarcastically left a note to his successor as Chief Secretary to the Treasury saying 'sorry, there is no more money.'

Linda has a background in teaching and youth work and proudly proclaims on her blog that she is 'motivated by injustice of any kind'. She justifies her reasons for collaborating with Labour's Byrne led policy review as follows: 'if I can influence ANYONE who has the potential to change things for the better and improve the life chances of our children and young people I WILL DO SO - end of!!!!!'

This aim to influence obviously includes Byrne - who crawled out of a sewer and scraped to victory in the Hodge Hill by-election in 2004 after one of the most disgracefully 'Woolasesque' negative anti Lib Dem campaigns ever.

Byrne's campaign described teenagers as 'yobs' and 'louts' and attacked the Lib Dems for (and I am not making this up) 'not taking any action until they've committed a crime'.


But not content with criminalising innocent teenagers for just being young, Byrne was sure asylum seekers needed to be picked on as well.

He issued a leaflet attacking the Lib Dems on asylum seekers. He claimed the Lib Dems had plans to give handouts to 'failed' asylum seekers on the simple justification that the party had voted against the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. An act that withdrew benefits from families, made provisions for detention (no doubt including children), finger printing and other kneejerk right-wing victimisation of people seeking sanctuary.

Just in case you think his campaign couldn't get much lower, he issued a leaflet implying the Lib Dem candidate, Nicola Davies, had given up and calling for her to 'stay and fight'. It is of course an electoral offence going back to Victorian times to issue a false statement about the withdrawal of another candidate and one suspects if Davies had the gumption of Elwyn Watkins, Byrne may well have faced the same fate as his soulmate Woolas.

If you can bear it - a selection of Byrne's 'progressive' leaflets can be found here.

The delightfully monikered 'Lindylooz' claims she isn't in bed with Labour - she's just sitting on it

Well I wouldn't darken his doorstep - let alone sit on his bed.

The Grayson eight - including Jack - need to get real. They are being hoodwinked by some of the nastiest operators in UK politics. If they want to engage with centre left pluralists - there are plenty in think tanks like the IPPR who have the ear of the Labour leadership. There is no need to engage directly with the likes of Byrne.

Unless you are setting out to deliberately embarrass the party.


  1. I broadly agree with you in that there are dangers that all the Lib Dems helping with the policy review are doing is helping Labour to detoxify and attempt to attract Lib Dem voters. But I think "quislings" is both unfair and unhelpful.

  2. I agree about the use of the word 'quisling'.

    Your penultimate paragraph could equally be rewritten thus, and apply to Clegg et al:

    "They are being hoodwinked by some of the nastiest operators in UK politics. If they want to engage with centre right pluralists - there are plenty in think tanks like Reform who have the ear of the Conservative leadership. There is no need to engage directly with the likes of Fox."

  3. Neil - sorry I don't agree - there is clearly a qualitative difference between agreeing a formal coalition deal with commitments to enact many of your policies in government and vague cooperation for the sake of 'form' with an opposition party.

    If you think they are equivalent - what possible agreement can Grayson and co reach that ties Labour down in the way the coalition agreement does to some of the more unpleasant Tory elements?

  4. One other puzzling thing is that Linda Grant (and others) is a Governing Council member of the Social Liberal Forum.


    Which states that their rules are
    "Rejects any electoral pacts with any party and any pre-election preference for future working with any other party"

    So what is she doing in bed with Labour?

  5. So much for believing in plural politics!!! Basically you right wing liberals only want to talk to the tory party because you're tories but just haven't accepted it yet.

  6. Oh dear anon - you'll have to do better than that.

    Pluralism is a two way process and my point is that there's pretty little evidence from Mr Byrne and his cronies that they are anything other than reactionary, authoritarian, knee jerk machine politics who don't give a stuff about liberalism and pluralism.