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Friday, February 05, 2010

Ricky Tomlinson 5 Luciana Berger 0

Last week, in my First Post article on the continuing Blairite takeover of the Labour party, I mentioned how 28-year-old Londoner Luciana Berger, a former NUS NEC member and director of Labour Friends of Israel, had been selected as the party's candidate in Liverpool Wavertree, to the disgust of many local party activists.

Well, the London Blairite crowd must have been feeling very pleased with themselves.
But not anymore. There was this piece in last week's Mail on Sunday.

And now, for the ultra-ambitious Ms Berger, it gets even worse.

The popular Liverpool actor Ricky Tomlinson, star of the comedy series The Royle Family, is planning to stand for the Socialist Labour Party against her.

The Mail reports:

He (Tomlinson)said he was 'incensed' by Labour's selection of Londoner Luciana Berger, 28, for the seat. 'This woman that they have parachuted in from London could not even answer some easy questions about Liverpool,' Tomlinson said.
'It reminds me of when Labour parachuted Shaun Woodward into St Helens.
'At one time Liverpool had a contingent of working class MPs like Eric Heffer [Walton MP from 1964 to 1991]. 'People say if you want you could be letting the Tories in. But there is no difference between the Conservatives and New Labour.
The news will come as a further blow to Miss Berger who has been embroiled in controversy since she was chosen to fight the seat less than two weeks ago.
Miss Berger, the director of Labour Friends Of Israel, beat Liverpool councillor Wendy Simon and Joyce Still by a margin of around 2-1 to win the candidacy for the Wavertree seat from an all-women shortlist.
Veteran Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle branded her a student politician who lacked the experience to do the job.
Last week her lack of local knowledge was exposed when she could not say who Anfield legend Bill Shankly was or who sang Ferry Across the Mersey.

So at Liverpool Wavertree voters will, provided Tomlinson is officially selected as the SLP's candidate, have a choice between a young London yuppie who doesn't even know who Bill Shankly was, or a local working-class socialist.

Predicted scoreline: Ricky Tomlinson 5 Luciana Berger 0.

And let's hope that Bob Wareing, another local working-class, anti-war socialist, who is standing as an Independent, having been deselected by what he calls 'the New Labour mafia', gives the pushy uber-Blarite Stephen Twigg a good hiding in Liverpool West Derby too.

UPDATE: Today's Daily Mail has more on the 'ambitious networker' Ms Berger.

The questions were simple enough for any self-respecting Scouser - who was Bill Shankly, and who sang Ferry Cross The Mersey?
Even the dimmest pub quiz team in Liverpool would surely have come up with the answers in a flash.
But 28-year-old Luciana Berger, Labour's bright young hope to win the crucial Liverpool Wavertree seat at the next election, was forced to admit she didn't know.

Doesn't it show how far the Labour Party has gone from its original working-class roots that they put up a candidate for a Liverpool seat who has never even heard of Bill Shankly?


Czarny Kot said...

She couldn't answer the Bill Shankly question?

It's not too surprising that she doesn't know but the fact that her superiors didn't even bother to give her a list of basic Scouse general knowledge shows how much they care.

Too many seats in parliament have been taken for granted for too long.

Good luck to Tomlinson.

Chris Hall said...

Just what the Labour Party needs, a good kick in the Nu Lab nads. Here's to Tomlinson and Wareing getting a landslide. I hope the local media is on their side.

David Lindsay said...

The re-election of Wareing is absolutely imperative. And while I don't like the Stalinist-infested SLP, despite its work on Farepak, giving this Berger person a good electoral hiding is also a very good idea.

Anonymous said...

"And while I don't like the Stalinist-infested SLP..."

That comment passed moderation!

Neil Clark said...

Czarny Knot- quite. it shows us how far Labour have gone from their original working-class roots when they select a candidate for a Liverpool seat who hasn't even heard of Bill Shankly.
Chris H- totally agreed.
David: let's hope both Bob Wareing and Ricky T get elected, if he is indeed selected by the SLP.
anonymous: just because a comment, or part of a comment, passes moderation doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with it!

Anonymous said...

Great idea for a Shrewsbury picket to stand against this appalling anti-Labour vampire, but in my opinion it’s a pity if he stands on the ticket of one of the small left parties. I’ve got nothing against the SLP, but if one of the grouplets is standing, doesn't that automatically mean that all the other grouplets will oppose it? Chances are that constituency will end up with half a dozen fringe candidates from all points of the left, including various greens.

I think it’d be much better if Tomlinson could somehow be the candidate of an umbrella group, set up in that constituency, and existing purely for this one purpose. I’m not sure how many thousands of lifelong Labour voters are going to make the big psychological leap from their mother’s-milk party to a tiny left-wing faction that most of them have never heard of.

On the other hand, if Tomlinson were standing as an independent under the banner of, say, “Liverpool Labour,” supported by dissident local Labour people, trade unionists, left-wing and leftish parties (all of whom might agree not to stand provided none of their rivals do), community groups and non-aligned but fed-up local people, wouldn't he have a much better chance of actually getting in? And certainly of getting some half-way fair local media coverage?

Just an opinion - I know nothing about the situation in Liverpool, and don’t pretend to. But I do think that, in this extraordinary crisis of representation we’re facing, all of us (and I speak as a lifelong Labour/Co-op door-knocker) have to be more imaginative and more flexible than in the past.

- Mat C

Anonymous said...

It's an analogy with vermin. Utterly offensive.

Given the age of Tomlinson (70) and Wareing (79), socialists can only despair. Where are lefties aged 28?

Robin Carmody said...

It was pop culture that killed off socialism. I'm serious, here - the roots of Blairism can be traced precisely to the moment the New Left abandoned traditional socialist beliefs in "betterment" as well as economic reform, and converted to a belief in overturning "the hegemony of dead white European males", which unlike those previous two aims could be perfectly achieved through a deregulated market ...

David Lindsay made a salient point about the 1970 election on his blog this week: it was clear even then what was being primed to happen.

David Lindsay said...

Initially due to Stephen Hughes and his advocacy of an EU in which national institutions disappeared, leaving only EU and regional ones, I have never voted Labour in a European Election.

So yes, I have voted for the SLP, hoping that those who were simply Old Labour Left would drive out, or at least contain, the sectarian fringe. But the opposite seems to have happened, with the Stalin Society prominent, purveying its gulag-denying, famine-denying poison. I wish Tomlinson well as a potential antidote, which his comments suggest that he is.

Yes, I have voted for Respect, hoping that George Galloway would be able to free himself of those less salubrious in his new-found entourage. Beginning with the SWP, that process is ongoing.

And yes, I voted for No2EU - Yes To Democracy, seeing in the presence of Peter Shore's old agent, of leaders of the Visteon and the Lindsey oil refinery workers, and of the immediate past Leader of the Liberal Party, the signs that the next stage in the movement's re-emergence would indeed be free of those more obviously associated with Bob Crow.

They, along with the silly name and the abstentionist stance, were why I did not seek to become a No2EU - Yes To Democracy candidate, although I very seriously considered it. Had they received one tenth of the coverage lavished on the BNP, then who knows what might have happened?

Mr. Piccolo said...

New Labour's penchant for yuppies as opposed to actual working people is really disgusting. But I wonder, how long has this phenomenon been around?

I remember watching a 1960s episode of "Steptoe and Son," where Harold wants to run as the Labour Party candidate for some local position, but the party bigwigs decide to run an affluent professional type instead, figuring that nobody would want to vote for a rag-and-bone man. I think the name of the episode was “My Old Man’s a Tory.”

I know it is probably silly to try to understand political history by watching a sitcom, but I often wonder when the movement away from authentic working-class politicians started.

Neil Clark said...

David: As far as I'm aware, the people from the Stalin Society left the SLP a few years ago.
Mr Piccolo: yes, great point. That episode of Steptoe was a real classic-and showed us the way things were starting to go in the Labour Party. The Labour agent was played by the late, great Dudley Foster, as far as I can remember.

Ken said...

Steptoe & Son... Had the series been made in the 80s then old Steptoe would have been Labour and Harold a Thatcherite. As it was, the old man was a Tory, like Alf Garnett, and young Steptoe was a Wilsonite Labour man, obsessed with the white heat of technology.

The episode was a bit dubious in one respect - the Labour Party loved bright young men like Harold in those days, so his failure was more for comic reasons that anything else. That said, the baleful influence of old Albert must have been in the background. The Wilsonites loved the notion that old Toryism was holding the country back in some way.

There is nothing wrong with using S&S as historical evidence, BTW. IT captures perfectly the way that people thought almost 50 years ago.

Robin Carmody said...


S&S has often been cited as a subtle metaphor for the collapse of British power ... and I can certainly imagine it seemed that way in pre-Beatles, pre-Wilson 1962. It still seems that way now, to be honest.

Johnny Dankworth's death has been getting to me ... 'Widespread World of Rediffusion' and all that; now that hope of a technocratic, social-democratic utopia doesn't just seem, as it did a decade ago, like a possible future of the recent past, it seems like Proper History, as unreachable and unachievable (probably even then) as all those ruralist/feudalist fantasies have always been.

Mr. Piccolo said...

Mr. Clark: Thank you. Yes, I do believe the Labour Party agent was played by Dudley Foster. I think I remember seeing him in a number of “Steptoe” episodes.

Exile: Good points. I actually found out about "Steptoe and Son" via the American version "Sanford and Son," which wasn’t nearly as good. “Sanford” was largely just a vehicle for Redd Foxx.

Watching "Steptoe" has actually galvanized me into trying to learn more about 20th century British history. For example, I never knew about the 1926 general strike until Harold mentioned it in one episode, asking his father why he didn't overthrow the prevailing system. Albert responded that he was making a “fortune,” although he could have done better had he owned a pawn shop!

Anonymous said...

This young lady also follows THE SUN on twitter that says it all really

Anonymous said...

Take a good look at how the entire US political system is owned and controlled by the zionists. This is what they plan for the UK. Remember the furore in the 1980's regarding militant tendency
'entryism' into the labour party, well we now have zionist entryism into the entire UK political process. Given total zionist control of our media, this parasitism is going on under the radar. Let's hope enough people realise their con job and throw out all the friends of israel from all the parties.

Unknown said...

Sorry your anonymous Nazi nut thinks this is all about what he calls "Zionism" and that "Zionists" control the media, as well as the United States (I sometimes wonder how the US managed to have imperialist aggressive policies before it was supposedly 'taken over'. Or how Britain absent-mindedly acquired an empire - purely benevolently of course).
But leaving loony conspiracy aside, Zionism is an issue. Eric Heffer was a member of Labour Friends of Israel, though whether he would be able to stomach today's Israeli policies I don't know. Harold Wilson who also held a Merseyside seat was well in with a group of Zionist businessmen including a guy who channelled money from Israeli banks. And then there's Louise Elman.
But the wider context is that New Labour have left any kind of working class and socialist tradition behind, and therefore can see nothing wrong in starving and bombing people in Gaza any more than they did in Iraq.
As for NUS it is like an apprentice school for cynical careerists to become MPs and ministers.
I've followed Ricky Tomlinson's political development since the Shrewsbury trial and admire the way he has taken up the issue today, rather than being 'bought' by his entertainment success.
If he stands under whatever left-wing label he deserves support, and I hope the trade union and socialist coalition which is standing elsewhere will endorse his candidature too.

malatesta said...

Just came to this blog by mistake. She won and good luck to her. What a waste of time all the comments and predictions were. She was not ideologically pure enough for you. That is probably why she won.