Slackers and bullets? Eeek!

When I saw a blog post titled “Labour slackers beware” from a blog called “Ballots and Bullets“, I felt a little persecuted. I know I don’t do enough leafleting, but there’s no need to shoot…

Thankfully, the slackers identified by the excellent new Nottingham University politics blog are not sturdy leaflet deliverers succumbing to the call of the lie in, but some of our MPs, who sometimes don’t turn up to bill committees, or (ahem) stay in the constituency on a Monday afternoon. The new PLP standing orders are intended to tighten up on such malingering.

As Phil Cowley says, the whips will have a hard road ahead enforcing these standing orders. First of all, it won’t be needed. Going on committeees in opposition is quite a bit more fun than going on them in government, and the onus is always on the government to ensure a majority, not on the opposition to ensure their minority is fully represented.

So the rules will be honoured in traditional fashion. They will be used to set an occassional example at the extremes, and used to remind those in danger of falling into somnolence or disloyalty of their great duties and obligations.

They will however, provide a useful occassional nudge. After all, there’s no room for slacking in the amble to the New Jerusalam, Comrade.

Now, about that by-election…

5 Responses to “Slackers and bullets? Eeek!”

  1. Brian Hughes

    Maybe our party needs more slackers.

    If the enthusiastic young things running what passed for our campaigns in 2009 & 10 hadn’t been so busily urging us to get the contact rate up by talking to people who were never going to vote for us, perhaps we sad old soldiers could have plodded on with the boring business of issuing leaflets vaguely relevant to our local communities rather than dishing out the tired old spin from SW1H 0HA.

    Bitter, moi?!

    • CS Clark

      Yes indeed. And if those idiots talking about tanks in 1915 had spent more time grooming the horses the cavalry would have won the war.

      • Edward Carlsson Browne

        There’s some truth to that, but there’s a lot of truth to what Brian says. Putting the central campaign team on sedatives for a month couldn’t have made the campaign any worse or less aimless, and that lack of a narrative but plethora of attempts at one did badly interfere with local messages in some constituencies.

        This was particularly the case with sending out national mailings that should be targetted. I was in a LD vs. Labour seat and every mailer mentioning the LDs we got was designed for West Midlands marginals and just pissed off the generally left-wing constituency electorate. And this was despite the party having been asked to stop sending this crap out.

      • Brian Hughes

        I’ve never put much store by analogies especially those that are pursued too far. But there are some similarities between Contact Creator and WWI tanks.

        Both were quite useful but neither of them was the “killer app” that their proponents claimed. Tanks were crude, underdeveloped things in 1915, so there’s a parallel. They could often be more trouble than they were worth and sometimes crashed, so there’s a couple more.

        Although it’s probably true that maintaining contact with supporters will encourage them to vote, I’ve never seen any independently verified evidence to support the oft-repeated claim that number of contacts made is proportional to the number of votes cast for a particular party.

        We cheered lustily as eager party employees told us we’d made far more contacts in the 2009 & 10 campaigns than in the 2004 & 5 ones but those election results made us cry. The two constituencies in the SW that came top of the “contacts made” race were both lost badly to our opponents. We have no MEPs and only 4 MPs in the Region after those campaigns. But we made lots of contacts, so that’s OK then. A shame that the data isn’t very accurate and that so much of it will be out of date by 2015, but it’s the thought that counts.

        Line up the tanks corporal, we’re going over the top….


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