Monday 19 November 2012

Can Teather detoxify in time for 2015?

Michael Gove and Sara Teather in happier times
Sarah Teather's interview with the Observer on Sunday has given rise to a rash of speculation about her future intentions.  Not everyone has been impressed by her statements against  the benefit cap suggesting that they are based on pure political opportunism.

On the Tom Pride blog LINK the spoof quote from Teather says:
Clearly we couldn’t give a toss what happens to people in safe Labour seats, but it is immoral of the government to try to save money by attacking the worse off people in marginal constituencies such as mine. It’s time the government stopped attacking the most vulnerable people in society such as Liberal Democrats  -  and found ways to reduce future levels of unemployment amongst the hardest-hit MPs in the country like me.
The General Election result was close between Lib Dems and Labour in 2010:

Liberal Democrats
Dawn Butler
Not elected
Sachin Rajput
Not elected
Shahrar Ali
Green Party
Not elected
Errol Williams
Christian Party
Not elected
Abdi Duale
Not elected
Dean McCastree
Not elected

Since the General Election the Lib Dems in Brent have returned to grassroots campaigning, particularly over library closures, but have not managed to remove the taint of betrayal over Coalition policies. They did not stand a candidate at all in the Barnhill by-election where Michael Pavey had a comfortable win for Labour and the Conservative vote fell away. The Lib Dems have refused to call by-elections in two seats where their councillors have moved out of Brent. Expecting defeat they are putting off the evil hours while .Labour is on the doorstep most weekends.

In 2010 Sarah Teather fought a left-wing campaign based on her record in opposing tuition fees, opposition to the Iraq war,  support for the Palestinian cause, bolstered by a visit to Palestine and a record of efficient casework. As a result she probably captured some votes from Dawn Butler, the Labour candidate who had been caught up in the expenses scandal.. LINK

However, this left-wing platform left her exposed when she became a minister in the Coalition. When I carried a copy of her 2003 speech against tuition fees on this blog in December 2010 it got the highest ever number of retweets I have ever received.  The shift in her position was glaring and left her open to charges of hypocrisy. Her closeness to Michael Glove an an education minister and her acquiesce in Tory academies and free school policies further alienated her previous supporters.  As a minister Teather moved away from supporting the intergration of children with special needs and disabilities into mainsteam education, earning further approbrium.

Teather saw the Pupil Premium as a popular policy that would help her claw back some  of her support and her press team were active in trying to claim the subsequent increase in some Brent school budgets were result of her personal intervention.

When Teather absented herself from the vote on benefit reforms right-wing Tories rose against her but others on the left thought she should have gone further and resigned at this time.

She appeared to be writhing on the end of the Tory's Coalition hook and was finally put out of her misery in the recent reshuffle.

Here claim that she left the Coalition to concentrate on her constituents has been challenged by campaigners who say that if she is truly going to do that she should be opposing the closure of Central Middlesex A&E and the privatisation of the NHS, come out against the cuts in local government funding, and oppose the housing benefit and welfare benefit caps.

The question is, having addressed the latter in the Observer, how much further will she go to fundamentally challenge the Lib Dem's collusion in the Coalition?  Is her own collusion in the Coalition such a toxic legacy that she can never escape from it? Is this this the first of a series of distancing  statements that she hopes will give her a firm base from which to fight the 2015 General Election?

Will we see her at the head of marches again in the months ahead?

Dawn Butler has signalled her determination to gain Labour's nomination again in 2015 although it is by no means certain that she will succeed. A candidate may well emerge from among the ambitious youngsters on the current Brent Council Labour Executive.

Speculation is rife on the UK Polling website LINK with even a mischievous suggestion that she may defect to Labour, which would certainly put the cat among the pigeons!  Another possibility mooted by some is that she is preparing the ground for a senior position in the Lib Dem leadership with Nick Clegg  likely to go ahead of the General Election.  Teather showed that she can be ruthless when back in 2006, then a junior Lib Dem spokesperson,  she signed the letter calling for Charles Kennedy to resign. Will she do the same for Clegg?

.If she is sufficiently detoxified by 2015 she may by then represent the acceptable (and rather different) face of the Lib Dems for a potential coalition with Labour. This seems most unlikely at present but an awful  lot can happen between now and 2015.


Trevor said...

I think she would be Taken more seriously If she had Spoken out against her fellow Lib Dem David Laws Who Falsely Claimed thousands of pounds from the taxpaying electorate.
what he did was dishonest and undoubtedly motivated by greed despite him claiming it was motivated by privacy.
the man is clearly deluded, but that isn't surprising after all he is part of a government that obviously believes in a two tier system
one rule for the public and another for them.
if we break the law we expect to be punished according to the law, but if a MP like David Laws breaks the law he can use the insulting pathetic and laughable excuse that he dishonestly claimed money motivated by a desire to keep his private life Private.
Be Honest isn't that A Pathetic Excuse?
a Tramp living on the streets that steals a loaf of Bread from a shop and when called to account says that his deed was motivated by hunger
that is more believable simply cause he is homeless and therefore resorted to theft because he was starving and desperate.
but a man who as a MP receives a salary of £65,738 cannot and should not resort to using excuses for his dishonesty because the man is a Millionaire and therefore why should he resort to cheating the Taxpayer when he already has millions in his bank account?
why did he Decide to cheat the tax payers in order to help pay of the mortgage on his lover's home in London?
why didn't he use his personal fortune to pay off the mortgage?
you see this is why I truly believe that politicians have no Creditably Left especially when People like Laws despite Being a Democratically elected Member of Parliament resorts to criminal behavior and then they create a system that permitted MP'S to make Claims which were often false which enabled the £65,738 earning MP's to Make False Claim after False Claim in order to benefit themselves at the tax payers expense which of course is unjust and also Criminal but many of them found guilty of dishonesty didn't go to jail and one has even returned to his job in the government????
what does that say about the two tier justice system in this country?

Anonymous said...

"opposing the closure of Central Middlesex A&E"

Fair enough, it's your blog

- but whatever campaigns have to be mounted to defend the NHS, it shouldn't be assumed that everyone approves of keeping open this A&E (and the same goes for maybe half of A&Es in London, for that matter).

Anonymous said...

Hi, Martin, see Brent & Kilburn Times 'Sarah Teather to vote against her Government on the Welfare Reform Act'.
Alan 'Raymondo' Wheatley, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group