Labour Party leadership speculation Easter special

Our man sipping Champagne with the socialists says there’s already open talk in the Bristol Labour Party of the possibility that they could lose eight council seats at the local elections on June 4.

This has led to much speculation in Labour Party circles about the identity of the inevitable replacement for their doomed embarrassment of a current leader, Helen Holland.

And it’s not looking good. The Labour front benches are awash with has-beens whose fingerprints are smeared all over every city council disaster in recent history.

Can Labour really go back to the future with Deputy Leader Peter Hammond? He led the party to electoral disaster in 2005 while bottling out of delivering his own budget speech along the way. Hardly a new beginning is it?

Or how about John Bees? Surely now he’s even the has-beens’ has been? Dubiously fiddling about with city’s finances in the background and pissing them up against the wall for years, surely he’s best left there? The term aging liability doesn’t even begin to do him justice.

And er, that’s it! Of the other Labour frontbenchers, Rosalie Walker’s unlikely to hold her seat; Derek Fuckup couldn’t lead the Bristol branch of the Tufty Club effectively; the overrated, not least by himself, Terry Cook has announced he’s leaving politics and the rest are simply personality-free pointless lobby fodder.

Except for – wait for it – former transport boss Mark Bradshaw! An ability to combine a remarkably ordinary intellect and a lack of interest in the truth with a scant grasp of reality makes him a very popular figure in the corridors of the Counts Louse where he’s dubbed – and make of this what you will – “the officers’ choice”.

Ho hum. Is that talk of Labour finished in this city for a generation I hear?

This entry was posted in Bristol, Budget, Elections, Labour Party, Local Elections 2009, Local government, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Labour Party leadership speculation Easter special

  1. Get out says:

    Never underestimate a cornered Labour Party. The more desperate they are, the more they will gamble in their election campaign. A few carefully crafted stories, a lot of claims of “privatisation”, and all it will take is a compliant media (Ian Onions is back at the helm at The Post), an apathetic public, a divided opposition, and Labour can cling on yet again, like sticky red-rose chug-nut…

  2. Paul Smith says:

    You have missed Brenda Hugill from your list

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    I did mention “personality-free pointless lobby fodder”.

    But I like it. Brenda for leader it is.

  4. TonyD says:

    “Terry Cook has announced he’s leaving politics”

    My impression was that he was staying in politics but not standing for election as a councillor……..perhaps a future role might be running somebody’s leadership campaign….?

  5. chris hutt says:

    Bradshaw looks the business to me. He’s fronted a raft of unpopular policies and projects over the last 18 months and shown remarkable resilience.

    He managed to keep the BRT route firmly on the Railway Path (see the current plans) while fooling most people into thinking the plan had been dropped. Even now he does a credible job of rewriting history to cast the blame in the direction of the Lib-Dems.

    Shameless, self-assured and scheming. The consummate politician.

  6. monster mash says:

    “You have missed Brenda Hugill from your list” says Paul Smith, making mischief again!

    The reality is that Brenda, like Rosalie Walker, only held her seat last time due to the General Election being on the same day, leading to a higher Labour turn out than usual.

    My guess is they’ll hang onto Helen, dues to lack of any serious alternative.

  7. redzone says:

    as a last desperate attempt, i reckon they should get who is currently ‘effectively running the bristol branch of the tufty club’ to run for the leadership 😀

  8. Bristol Dave says:

    They won’t go with Bradshaw, surely. His sickening arrogance, especially when it comes to ignoring/dismissing public opinion, is hardly a “winning personality trait” with the public.

  9. thebristolblogger says:

    As opposed to Helen “I’ll sue you” Holland?

  10. neil h says:

    Except for – wait for it – former transport boss Mark Bradshaw! An ability to combine a remarkably ordinary intellect and a lack of interest in the truth with a scant grasp of reality makes him a very popular figure in the corridors of the Counts Louse where he’s dubbed – and make of this what you will – “the officers’ choice

    TBB: not quite sure how someone of ‘ordinary intellect’ would’ve handled the massive portfolio bradshaw was given. anyway, my comments concern a visit made by mark bradshaw to a communtiy group i’m involved with. he came across as not your usual career politician, but interested in our work, made notes, followed up, told officers they were wrong on a couple of issues etc. before you accuse me of being nu labour or helen holland (i’m neither) I wonder why anyone would want to be a frontline politican in bristol if character asassination is what they get in return! compared to hammond and pickup and the mess they made in muchsmaller jobs, i think he’s done a lot for good in bristol- cycling city, new bus routes, rapid transit and the community transport funding. NH

  11. TonyD says:

    There is a reasonable chance that Labour could wake up on June 5th as the third party behind the Lib-Dems and Tories.

    In that situation it seems impossible to imagine Holland retaining party leadership.

    The limited choices available appear to point towards Bradshaw as next in line for the poisoned chalice.

    Certainly Labour supporters I have spoken to in Holland’s own ward appear to believe that Bradshaw is more willing to take the fight to the Lib-Dems rather than relying on the increasingly Tory-led coalition that appears to be the current desperate plan – a plan that is leaving Labour increasingly marginalised.

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    not quite sure how someone of ‘ordinary intellect’ would’ve handled the massive portfolio bradshaw was given

    By leaving it all to officers, which is what Bradshaw did. In case you hadn’t noticed David Bishop has been running riot doing what the hell he likes for the last couple of years, regardless, even, of whether he has the power to do it.

  13. peter y says:

    TBB: not sure that’s accurate – he fronted all the nasty issues and confromted bishop and others i’m sure. I hear they had a huge row over the planning consultation paper as bradshaw added comments about not taking more land from green belt and bishop went ape! notice how the comments have disappeared now the lib dems are ‘running’ things….

  14. chris hutt says:

    Funny how we hear about these alleged Bradshaw – Bishop splits now that it suits Bradshaw and Labour to distance themselves from what was done under their control.

    As for giving Bradshaw credit for progressing BRT, I’d go along with that but Bradshaw insists on crediting the Lib-Dems with the BRT plans (see his comments on this blog), saying he just “inherited” them from the LDs and was obliged to carry on with them. Was he responsible for the BRT plans (including the Railway Path route) or not?

  15. Get out says:

    TonyD – Labour ending up in 3rd place was possible when they were running the administration, but having ditched it in order to cause trouble and campaign on the streets I think that is unlikely now. The Lib Dems have been taken off the streets and now have the Green Party gunning for them as well, so I expect Labour to do quite a bit better in LD/Lab marginals than would otherwise have been the case. This will ensure they stay in 2nd place unless they have a national meltdown.

  16. TonyD says:

    Get Out – You could be right of course, but of the 10 Labour seats up for re-election only Southmead and Hillfields can be considered “safe” Labour seats. Avonmouth, Frome Vale, Henbury and Horfield were all won by the Conservatives last time out whilst in St George East, Labour only won by 60 votes from the Conservatives. Meanwhile both Lawrence Hill and St George West went to the Lib-Dems last time out whilst Kingsweston was won by less than 40 votes from the Lib-Dems in each of the last two local elections.

    Given the recent poor performance of Labour both locally and nationally I can’t see them dragging too many of their General Election voters out for a Local Election which has helped them in these particular set of seats in the past when local elections have been in general election years (2005 and 2001).

    I am off down to the bookies to see what odds I can get on Bradshaw for Labour leader by the end of the year…….

  17. The History Man says:

    In 2005 the General Election turnout enabled Labout to win in: Avonmouth, Frome Vale, Henbury, Horfield, and Lawrence Hill.
    In none of these seats have they won since, and in Horfield they were a poor third in 2006. They also had close shaves in Kingsweston in 2006, St. George East in 2007, and lost as seat in St. George west in 2008.

    Southmead and Hillfields have both seen strong Lib Dem campaigns since Xmas, and Labour are clearly worried.

    Paradoxically, a big rise in the Green and/or Tory vote at the expense of theLib Dems could help Labour to cling on in some of these marginal seats, such are the vagaries of the first post thepost voting system.

  18. Mike says:

    If I was a candidate I would not want Kerry McCarthy on my leaflet

  19. Gary Hopkins says:

    The McCarthy factor is significant in Hillfields which is not as Tony D claims safe for Labour. Roger Berry was highly regarded by a lot of traditional Labour voters and floaters in Hillfields but now that it is transferred they do not have the same opinion of Ms Mc.
    Add to that the failure of Labour to replace the largely absent Noreen Daniels (non existant in the ward and THE most absentee Cllr at council meetings) and the memory of some voters of the Golding voter registration scandal from last time and you have a potent mix.
    You can add a couple of Bradshaw specials with the Railway path and a potential waste treatment site near a local primary school and we have an interesting contest.
    Steady,persistent and well liked Lib Dem local candidate.
    Southmead is also potentially up for grabs especially after Hammonds latest nonsense over grants .

  20. thebristolblogger says:

    Southmead’s gotta be the safest Lab Ward in the city.

    I fear Cllr Hopkins is getting a tad carried away. Too much chocolate on Easter Sunday maybe?

  21. nsmyth says:

    or something else maybe

  22. redmond says:

    another truly bizarre out of world experience by gary ‘im a financial adviser and green guru’ hopkins – maybe he should stick to skittles and eating pies.

  23. Get out says:

    Southmead is the safest Labour ward simply because no one has had a go at it before. Remember how Filwood used to be the safest Labour ward in the South West?

  24. Gary Hopkins says:

    Get Out
    That depends on the time it was measured. For many years the safest Labour seat in the South west was Lawrence Hill and look who won that one and still hold it.
    The problem Labour have is that many of their previous core vote is massively unimpressed with NULabour and whilst they might be dragged out to vote anti Tory in a general election they see nothing to vote for in the Bristol Labour group. Combine that with them fighting defensive battles against multiple opponents and some suprises will come up.

  25. snafu says:

    Didn’t the tories win southmead some time back in the eighties? Something about people there feeling that labour was taking them for granted?

  26. snafu says:

    “The McCarthy factor is significant” … see kerry now gets her very own mention on the draper/mcbride mashup.

  27. woodsy says:

    Something about people there feeling that labour was taking them for granted?

    You mean along the lines of stick a red rosette on a dog turd and it would get elected?

  28. thebristolblogger says:

    “Web 2.0 horsecock” – The McBride Downfall is brilliant.

  29. Kingswoodsten Ken says:

    Woodsy said “you mean along the lines of stick a red rosette on a dog turd and it would get elected?” Even I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I catch your drift!

    Labour are defending six seats where another party holds the other seat (Avonmouth, Horfield, Henbury, Frome Vale, Lawrence Hill, and St. George West), and two others where they won by less than 100 last time (St. George East and Kingsweston.)
    It looks like the Council will be “Price-less” after the election!

  30. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Jon says:


    Is the lib dem candidate in Hillfields still the guy who looks like your long lost twin brother?

  31. Get out says:

    LOL 🙂

  32. BristolDave says:

    Gary meets Tintin, Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock, and a blurred army general in Tintin and the Picaros.

  33. Pingback: Symbolic Forest : Recent Search Requests

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *