Saturday, June 27, 2009

Some Initial Thoughts

Well, I was gobsmacked, and so I think was almost everyone there.

As you can probably imagine, it was quite an emotional meeting, and a lot of tributes paid.  Many of us have known Alan since he was a fresh-faced prospective PPC back in 1990, and have been with him since then.

He has been a hugely positive figure as MP for the town.  His work as a constituency MP has been flawless, ably assisted by his office staff.  At the same time, he has been a high profile reforming Secretary of State, and a leading voice in the Party.  Thumping successive majorities over the Tories in what remains a marginal seat tell their own story.

And behind the scenes, he's been first class too - his work to help secure significant inward investment into the town, like the Eastern Transport Corridor, was literally the difference between projects happening or being shelved.

Still, the meeting respected Alan's reasons for wanting to move on now - 19 years in front-line politics is a long time for anyone, and as Alan said, he's not ready for the knackers yard yet!

He will of course continue to be our MP until the next General Election, and promised to play his part in Labour's efforts to hold the seat with a new candidate. 

The end of an era, but as the Chair John Williams reminded us, change happens.  Fortunately, the Party in Darlington remains in robustly rude health, and is spoiling for the next General Election.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps he has reasons not to be cheerful. See below

Pepsico Pharmacy said...


Just heard Pepsico is standing down, probably wont want to give his other 5 more lucrative jobs up.

All together hip hip....

Anonymous said...

Another rat deserts the sinking ship.

Local party in robustly good health. Permit me a snigger Councillor. Once again you, Jonno and the rest of your bunker buddies are living in make believe land. Have you seen the Gordon Brown the Downfall on Youtube?

No Milburn is leaving because he knows he is going to be soundly beaten next May.

Please do not stand your health will not stand it.

Anonymous said...

There will there be a party to end all parties tonight in Darlo.

Uncork the champers.

Anonymous said...

Turf Accountant says....

Latest betting on the race to succeed Milburn.

2/1 Jennie Chapman

5/1 Cindii Hughes

50/1 Nick Wallis

500/1 Jonno and Dixon

Vidal Sasoon said...

No No not Jenny "the hair" at 2/1 it's never been so good in wet Darlo it days like these that make you say "what rain"

Paul Cain said...


Seems Mr Milburn didn't fancy having to justify an annual income of more than 320,000 quid (threads passim) to those getting by on benefits or who've just lost their jobs.

Bit of a journey for Mr Milburn, from a shipyard activist in Sunderland to a paid advocate for a private healthcare firm and the Pepsico corporation, eh?

His rise, and eventual departure display, starkly, the contradiction at the heart of the New Labour project.

Neither one thing, nor another.

The only thing that mattered was getting power, and keeping it.

In the end, everyone's betrayed: the genuine Labour left, who have to tolerate being represented by someone who is paid by Pepsico and a healthcare company that wants to bring the market into the NHS; and the centre-right who've had to tolerate 12 years of social engineering and the waste of vast amounts of public money.

Gone, also, is Labour's chance of holding Darlington next year. A tenner says it'll be a Conservative marginal next time round.

I also think the next raft of DBC elections, whenever they are, could be very awkward for what is left of New Labour in Darlington.

Can't wait. I'll make a special trip back from New York just to dance on the party's grave in a one-man street party along High Row.

Mind, I imagine a few people might want to join me.

ex-labour said...

Paul, make that a 2 man street party!

However a Conservative win would need to keep certain members from gaining more power, I of course refer to "Royal MSG".

Other than that we need one more retirement "Johno no tie" then we truely would know the ship has run aground and taking on water.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I remember Milburn appearing on an Open University programme from the Sunderland shipyards many years ago. He was scruffy and had a beard not the smoothy, Armani suited Alan we know and dont love.

Anonymous said...

Ex Labour you never know about the Tories. Remember just before the last local election they turfed out their leader at the time whose Missus was a Labour candidate. Strange I know (one Tory tuther Labour). The high command might be suitably embarresed by the antics of Horace and Doris and order their deselections in Whessoe and Royal MSG.

Anonymous said...

but in 2003 he abruptly quit, blaming pressure on his family life from working long hours in London.

...and how , exactly, did that manifest itself ?
- john, oxfordshire england, 27/6/2009 15:13

another rat leaving the sinking ship ?
- george irvine, denny, 27/6/2009 15:01

When will one of these disgraced MP's do the right thing and agree to go NOW?
Much better to wait and screw us for even more, what a farce.
- Pickles, Lincolnshire, 27/6/2009 14:52

At least it will save him the ignominy of not being reelected! Other members of this useless, arrogant and corrupt government please take note and do the same - resign NOW.

Good, one less.!
- Alan, Sutton Coldfield, U.K., 27/6/2009 14:48

"The MP escaped relatively unscathed from the expenses scandal, despite claiming more than £20,000 in each of the years between 2004 and 2008."

So that's £100,000 then is it Alan?

Are you going to work in Brussels so that your expense claims can be further inflated and more easily concealed?

- david, nantwich, 27/6/2009 14:42

I think he is leaving before the embarrassment of his massive earnings means he will be pushed.

One by one they are all leaving the NuLiebor ship. I am sure that none of them wants to be part of the opposition from June next year and the party bloodbath that will follow.
- David, Aberdaron, North Wales, 27/6/2009 14:41

After being yet another advisor to GB he's decided he is going to step down as he gets so much more money outside of being an MP and he isn't willing to give any of it up. Just in time before its all made public what a spineless man. Still "within the rules" been milking the system for second homes for the last few years.
- M B, London, 27/6/2009 14:36

Get out while you're ahead, perhaps?

Managed to build up a nice taxpayer funded and tax-free property portfolio and so not much point in staying....might be asked to reimburse the luckless taxpayers!
- m collins, Leeds, England, 27/6/2009 14:14

Good news. A thoroughly useless individual, much like the rest of them. They now realise that they are going to be thrashed at the next election so to save their sorry skins they are all "stepping down", for "family reasons" and "other interests". Why can't these people be honest and just admit that this government has failed.
- Wingman, Wing Buckinghamshire, 27/6/2009 14:14

That's a bit late, he knows the Labour party are finished, they will all be trying to work in banks after the next election.
- Mike, OAP Expat Brit, Khon Kaen, 27/6/2009 14:09

HOORAY !!! one down , how many to go ?
- Patrick O'Neill, Hatfield UK, 27/6/2009 14:03

Yeah, jump before push, you reckon you gave value for money???????

only if you are paid 1 day a week by the taxpayer.
- Lesk, Devon, 27/6/2009 13:44
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Good bye
- Roger, Swanley, 27/6/2009 13:38

All the exiting Labour MP,s are martyrs to the new new labour being cleaned up for the election next year,you can hear the rhetoric for us we have a new team - all the candidates had nothing to do with the expenses scandal and we can look to the future with a fresh start...yeh right....
- John, Maidstone, 27/6/2009 13:31

Why wait till the next election, go now and get out of the trough. Learn to live without expenses as your pension will be too big anyway.
- a Tax-payer, England as was once, 27/6/2009 13:26

Anonymous said...

It's no surprise that they are bailing out now that their tax-payer funded pocket money has been curtailed!!!
- rick, Newcastle upon Tyne UK, 27/6/2009 13:20

Good! Now that leaves how many more to go? The whole bunch of Labour thieves and misfits need to be knocked off their perches. Only the electorate will know whether or not they have a 'jewel' of an MP and if so, can vote accordingly. Roll on the election.
- joe bloggs, Once Great Britain, 27/6/2009 13:16

All MPs that have been stealing our money should resign now, including Brown and Cameron. Let`s have a interim government while things are sorted out, made up of honest people of good character.
- Mervyn Roberts, Didcot, England., 27/6/2009 13:11

Rats and sinking ship spring to mind!
- david, Chesterfield, 27/6/2009 13:10

No great loss there then.
- clive lowe, stockport, cheshire, 27/6/2009 13:08

They just dont want to be in opposition not spend time with their suddenly discovered families.
- Alfrick Suckley, Man in the Marches, 27/6/2009 13:04

So Alan is really loved nationally?

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ex-labour said...

Nice work if you can get it didn't nick recently Vlog with Sir Stephen?

I recall him saying he was not fiddling anything, will need to check the topic.

Royal MSG said...

Here you go lets see Stephen explain how everything he does is above board...

Not quite telling the truth Stephen you may be not breaking the rules but you certainly are twisting them to your advantage employing the wife.

The News of the World reported that Labour MEP Stephen Hughes is claiming his full £42,000 office allowance this year, despite his office rent being just £1,642. He also pays his wife, a local Councillor, £40,000 to be his "chief of staff". The paper notes that he is not breaking any rules, as the EU permits members to claim the full amount even if they do not spend it.

Ever thought about a change of surname Stephen?...Smith or Jones for example?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people try to keep up with the Jones!

Ian W said...

Perhaps at the next election those re-standing should have their allowance claims sent out with postal votes and on huge posters at polling stations so the voters know just who claimed how much and for what.

I don't think anyone has objections to genuine claims for petrol or other office running costs but when we read as we recently did of flipping homes, £1000 coffee tables and 60" plasma tvs it does make you think "would they not have been more frugal had it been their own money?"

As for employing his wife, once again we have an example (if correct) of Stephen Hughs (also like Phil Wilson)employing his spouse/partner that would be partly acceptable but like Mr Milburn does this extra job not take time away from her existing job as a Councillor, I am sure her constituants may feel a bit "miffed".

The way to stop all the "fiddling" as I have said before is to buy/build a purpose built block of flats in London each flat exactly the same and each MP gets one while elected, each upon getting one they will get a reasonable redecorating allowance and the basic furniture then like the rest of us if they want something better or extra buy it themselves from their "salary" and then it is also theirs to take when they leave, this would also save the tax payer money in the long run as they would not be forking out for massive morgage interest payments and "duck islands".

I think this has been coming for a while and the fact they fought so hard to keep it from becoming an FoI item speaks volumes that they knew it was wrong!

I hope this is the start of a new era when those who genuinely want to work for their areas now get a chance, those who only want one job, the one they were elected for!

Representing their electorate.