Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's Jenny!

Jenny Chapman was selected this afternoon as Labour's candidate for the next General Election.

I'm not sure the actual voting figures will be released, but I can reveal Jenny won comprehensively, ahead of Pat McCourt, Dan Whittle and Ash McGregor. All the candidates should receive credit for the positive nature of their campaigns - certainly, Darlington Labour Party has emerged stronger from the selection procedure.

Jenny will be a first-class candidate for Labour, with impeccable local credentials. Very bad news for any lingering Tory hopes next year!


Anonymous said...

Dream on dear Councillor. Dream on.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with Anonymous. She is up against a barrister and a successful businessman.

Can't see her coming anywhere close especially as Middle England who are the people who will decide the election are deserting New Labour in their droves and will be voting Tory or Lib Dem because New Labour have taxed them into the ground.

james said...

Ah, the anonymouses come out of the woodwork... Not even the decency to have a consistent pseudonym?

I don't know anyone who votes on the basis of the candidates occupation and whilst there's always complaints about taxes, no one expects the Tories to cut taxes - other than for the wealthiest. Under a Tory government Middle England would pay the same rates of tax - but get poorer public services.

Darlington Councillor said...

Unfortunately, James, you and I don't have the mindset whereby the candidates' occupation is the overiding factor. No matter...

In fact, anonymous 2#, I have the greatest respect for the political skills of my blogging colleague Mike Barker. Unfortunately for Mike, gathering up LibDem General Election votes in a town like Darlington is pretty much like trying to herd cats. Mike will do well next May, but not well enough.

Now, national swings will of course play their part, but I can't see the Tories doing anything other than failing badly whilst they keep Edward Legard as their candidate. I've been actively involved in every General Election in Darlington since 1992, and I can't remember such a lacklustre Conservative PPC (and I saw Peter Scrope in action!)

At a time when Labour was preoccupied with selecting a candidate, what has Legard been doing? - absolutely nothing, as far as I can see (if you discount him waving shyly from the pavement at Tory Councillors processing to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday).

I've even had reports of him wandering the streets on his own knocking randomly on doors to introduce himself. Not the campaign tactics of a Conservative Party machine which has any confidence that they will even come close next year.

In contrast, Labour have selected a candidate who is local, steeped in the history of the Party, but also one of the shrewdest political operators around. That mix helps explain Jenny's thumping win in what was regarded regionally as a "too close to call" contest.

I'm not complacent about the result of the next General Election here in Darlington - what the Tories need to appreciate is that in Jenny we have a candidate who will re-energise our campaigning street-by-street, house-by-house, not just at election time, but at all times of the year.

ianw said...

Whilst I agree in part with some of the comments above about peoples hatred for Labour (as is), I think Jenny was the right choice as she has done lots of good things for Darlington and lives locally so has a local knowledge of the towns needs.

I cannot see Labour winning the election on its recent track record, but equally don't know who to vote for.

It won't effect us here in Hurworth but Darlington policy does have a knock on effect out here, and maybe just maybe no matter who wins we might get the Nag's Head bus stop moved to a safer place for our residents despite us being in the Sedgefeild constituency but paying our dues to DBC :(

Mike Barker said...

I have written to Jenny offering my congratulations and best wishes. It is good that two of the three main parties have local candidates, especially two active candidates, albeit largely in different areas of local life.

I think you should know, however, that I own two cats and one of them once followed me all the way to work. My feline herding skills are not to be underestimated.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ianw said...


Perhaps it is time to give Cats the vote ;)

ianh said...

I agree with Mike that it is great to have two local candidates fighting it out in Darlington. As just another intersted observer from Hurworth i think the tories will very quickly come to regret their choice of candidate.
I have never met the man and can only assume him to be a thoroughly decent individual, but i fail to see how soemone with his background can hope to enage with Darlington families during these difficult times.
As shown with his incompetent and ill-informed letter re education in last weeks echo, he really has little or no understanding of many of the issues affecting "ordinary" people. This is not the "politics of envy" as Cameron would have it, but a simple statement of fact.
I look forward to a very interesting campaign and wish both Mike and Jenny good luck.

ianw said...

Once again I must agree with Ianh I too have never met the Conservative candidate but like the other Ian I feel that they could have shot themselves in the foot.

We have just had a mini scandal about our outgoing MP having 5-6 other jobs and not living or been seen locally from one month to the next (other than operation pigeon "poo" bridge)and the subsiquent public outcry over his constant absence.

Yet the Tories appear not to have learnt the people want local and committed people with a true knowledge of the area they wish to represent Which Mike & Jenny obviously do.

Not that it will effect us out here in the "chattering classes" but many forget that although Hurworth is in Phil "Keep the post offices's open" Wilsons patch things done in Darlington directly effect us more than those done in Sedgefield.

I am still undecided on who to vote for but wish both the local candidates the best of luck.

I would suggest the one that campaigns on the moving of the "Nag's Head" bus stop will win the hearts and minds of Hurworth albeit not in votes but good will and that goes a long way in these days of doom and gloom ;)

Paul Cain said...

The Tories don't seem to have put much thought into their choice of candidate, which is a shame seeing how Darlington has been totally shafted in the last few years by the Labour incumbent.

This, from today's Guardian, on MPs' expenses:

"Alan Milburn, the former health secretary, claimed £6.75 for John Lewis hand wash. "Soap" was written on his expense claim form in January 2009. He claimed £74.50 for kitchenware and glasses from David Mellor in Sloane Square, £87.50 for ground rent and £96 for cleaning. In February this year he claimed £151.55 for a floor lamp and ceiling light from John Lewis and bulbs. A further £19.50 was claimed for a sheet set from M&S.

A month later, in March, he submitted a £760.85 claim for household items, from John Lewis. The items included a Pure Siesta DAB digital clock (£58.60), lacquered silver place mats (£48), lacquered silver coaster sets (£19.50), a king-size duck down duvet (£107) and six pillow protectors (£58.50).

The household items also included a baking sheet, roasting dish, and four mini-quiche dishes without prices displayed and a saute pan and chopping boards.

In July 2008, he received a letter demanding an "overdue" £133.34 for the upkeep of his London flat. It said: "Should payment not be received within 14 days of the date of this letter, an administration charge of £50 plus VAT and interest on the arrears will be calculated at 4% above the base rate."

Between June and July 2008 he claimed for a £19.99 Argos iron and a £14.95 Tesco vacuum cleaner. In April 2009, Milburn claimed £55 for towels "for London flat". The towels were from John Lewis."

And to think he had five other paid jobs, including the promotion of private healthcare companies in the NHS.

And did we hear a cheep of protest from the Darlington Labour Party? Did we hell as like.

Labour, sadly for Jenny Chapman, deserve humiliation.

james said...

These expenses were secret - who was to know?

Darlington is by no means alone in having an MP who claimed expenses for questionable things, nor was Labour the only party affected....

Even without perks, there's still the potential for MPs to be influenced by corporate generosity in the form of lobbying, job offers, etc. Which should underline the need for greater economic democracy and political transparency - something which the Tories have always opposed.

At the next election the choice is between Labour and Tory. If Darlington ends up starved of funds and investment because of the slash-and-burn economic policies of a Tory government, we would all be humiliated.

Given her track record of public service locally, I am sure Jenny could be a strong representative for the town. I wish her all the best.

Anonymous said...

.....and yes Paul it will happen. Labour will be humiliated in 2010 because they have turned on their core voters - the middle income earners with kids and mortgages.

Tommy the tipster predicts the Darlington general election result as:

1st Tories.
2nd Lib Dems
3rd Labour.

Multiply that round the country and it will be by by New Labour.

Paul Cain said...


Will you listen to yourself?

The Tories will 'slash and burn', will they? When everyone knows both parties are just arguing about the extent of a cut in the rate of increase in public spending and not for a cut in real terms?

Labour are the party of political transparency?

Have you been living in a cave for the last 12 and a half years?

Alan Milburn's disgraceful desertion of Darlington in the last 5 years has been well known about and remarked upon - and yet protest came there none from the Darlington branch of the Labour Party.

Of which Jenny Chapman is a member.

So, I presume she approves of him having 6 jobs, including being employed as a consultant by a firm that wants to privatise parts of the NHS?

She was also a member of the Labour Cabinet which oversaw such fiascos as the Eastern Transport Corridor, the Pedestrian Heart scheme and that living embodiment of insanity that is the roundabout on Haughton Road.

Impeccable local credentials, my backside.

She bears her share of the blame for the incompetence and mismanagement of the town.

I agree the Tories have dropped the ball by choosing a candidate who is all but invisible.

But God help us if Chapman is elected next year. That's all we need: another drone, another apparatchik, another New Labour politician who couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery, but who has advanced skills at pouring great globs of public money down a drain.

james said...

"everyone knows both parties are just arguing about the extent of a cut in the rate of increase in public spending and not for a cut in real terms"

If this was the case, then the priority for the Tories would not be to grant a tax cut for the wealthiest at a difficult time...

The idea that really there is little difference between the parties and that it's a matter of who is most competent at managing is ridiculous.

The Tories would never have proceeded with fair responses to the fall in tax take, such as increasing the rate for the highest earners. They would never have imposed a windfall tax on bank bonuses.

The pressure on Cameron from his party's backbenchers and backers will be to repeal the National Minimum Wage, weaken employment protections, and undermine health and safety legislation.

The economics of the Tories are also questionable - not only because they have had little in the way of an anti-recessionary strategy.

A problem for our economy is the imbalance between financial services and manufacturing for export. It's the latter which will enable the deficit to be reduced, and the former which must be reorganised and regulated.

But when have the Tories given a jot about manufacturing? Consider the Tory policy of abolishing Regional Development Agencies - this will not help reduce the regional imbalance in the economy.

As for the Tories on financial services, it's sickening to see the party which launched the big bang of deregulation talk about regulatory failures. Who was it that made demutualisation easier?

Even more sickening is the sight of Cameron crying crocodile tears about poverty. His recent lecture on the topic conveniently left out the period of Tory rule in the 80s and 90s during which poverty skyrocketed.

Whatever the failings of the Labour party - it has never been as out of touch with ordinary people and out of touch with reality as the Tory party is today.

Paul Cain said...


Labour imposed an extra 0.5 percent national insurance increase on those earning more than 20 grand. Is that an example of Labour being in touch with ordinary people?

Is that the best example you can come up of Labour's legendary 'fairness'?

Was the 10p tax rate fiasco an example of Labour being in touch with ordinary people?

Who has been in charge of the economy for the last 12 years?

Who took away the regulatory powers of the Bank of England (pre-1997 the near failure of the banks simply could not have happened thanks to the regulatory regime in place, which Brown removed on May 2 1997)?

The banker bailout accounts for about half the deficit. The structural deficit (fantastic overspending on unreformed, sclerotic public services) accounts for the rest.

Which party allowed unrestricted immigration to undercut the employment market for hundreds of thousands of working class people?

Which party brought in draconian so-called anti-terror laws which resulted in an 80-year-old man being arrested as a terrorist at Labour's own conference?

Which party brought in a smoking ban which saw a painter and decorator to be arrested for having a fag in his own van?

I could go on and on and on.

Anyone who votes Labour at the next election is either stupid or immoral.

james said...

All your points are important, Paul, though I would disagree with a few.

It is worth considering that Labour accepted the new consensus of deregulation and privatisation rather than reversing Tory policies, and took advantage of the boom years in the financial services to fund certain social programs. This new consensus is over. Jack Welch, the champion of shareholder value, says the idea is dumb. Allan Greenspan, free-marketeer at the Federal Reserve, admits that there's a big hole in his belief-system.

To be allowed to introduce modest reforms like increasing investment in public services, etc, Labour had to sign up to that alien belief-system and abandon a historic commitment to economic democracy.

If nothing else, you must agree that Labour has the *potential* to challenge the powerful few on behalf of the many - who can say this of the Tories? They are hardly going to challenge their own power!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul. Accept the facts James me old mate which are staring you right in face. People earning £20,000 + who have families and mortgages have been hurt very badly by New Labour over many years.

Labour have been engaged in a perverted attempt to redistribute money from the middle earners and the retired in order to make everyone equal.

Middle earners will not vote Labour that is a fact. The elderly will not vote Labour either.

These are the very people you need to win the election they have been taxed into the ground by New Labour. So where are you going to get your votes from? Dont tell me, let me guess, from the people in the rented sector. Well mate I have news for you they hate Labour as well as the middle income earners and the retired.

So mate Labour are well and truly snookered. Labour's high command in London and Williams' gang here in Darlington know this to be true.

james said...

Anonymous - I do not agree that "Labour have been engaged in a perverted attempt to redistribute money from the middle earners and the retired in order to make everyone equal"

This is such a false statement I don't know where to begin.

Tax increases have gone into public services which we all use - from the NHS to police.

In the current recession, tax takings have fallen. So, do we cut vital services or make slight increases in tax to ensure that improvement does not turn into deterioration? Do we offer help to businesses and those made unemployed, or do we make cuts to services that would offer help?

I don't sense any enthusiasm for a Tory party whose sole policy seems to be a tax cut for the wealthiest, and service cuts for the rest of us.

I would agree that we need a more progressive tax system - which would mean tougher enforcement of avoidance amongst high earners and companies, estimated to cost us forty billon a year at the least. But I don't think that the Tories will be too concerned about their mates dodging the taxman - do you?

ex-labour said...

Anonymous said..

"So mate Labour are well and truly snookered. Labour's high command in London and Williams' gang here in Darlington know this to be true."

Poor John Williams he has not got a hope in hell of being leader next year, I don't care who wins as long as him and his cronies go!

They have dragged Darlo into hell and can see no wrong in their actions!

Bye Johno, Ada, Cliff et al.

eda said...