Tag Archives: Tom Harris

Farewell to Tom Harris – Not Another Thing

I am very sorry to hear that veteran blogger Tom Harris has decided to stop his blog. Tom has been one of the best bloggers of the left and challenged the more established bloggers on the right such as Iain Dale, Conservative Home etc.

Tom said in his closing post, which you can read here, that it had started to take over his life and that he was becoming known as the blogger who was an MP rather than an MP who also blogged. He also said it was impacting on his personal and family life too. I have some sympathy for what he says. Those of us who chose to blog as a way of communicating can make ourselves vulnerable to attacks from all kinds of people. Sometimes it gets personal and you must be robust enough to not get embroiled, but it isn’t always easy, as Tom has found.

I hope he continues in some format – on Twitter or even facebook perhaps. We need more bloggers like Tom on the left. Indeed this year at Labour Party conference I held a fringe event at which we discussed the issue of left wing bloggers and how to help more emerge. We are getting there but I’m afraid we still have more work to do before we will achieve the same recognition that those on the right do. It won’t be long… nevertheless it is a great shame that Tom Harris will no longer contribute to this cause but I wish him all the best.

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Tom and Kerry

Tom Harris MP has had to pull out of my fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference – Blogging for Labour – How social media can drive a wedge into the Coalition at Manchester Central – Charter 1, at 6pm. Tom is a real star. He has arranged for Kerry McCarthy MP to take his place. Thank you Tom.

Kerry’s blog is “Shot from both Sides” and she was appointed Labour’s first Twitter tasr.

Kerry is a solictor and linguist whose first elected position was as a councillor on Luton Borough Council.

Kerry is a member of the Transport and General Workers Union, the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society, the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the Labour Animal Welfare Society.

Kerry was elected MP for Bristol East in 2005. In April 2007 Kerry was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rosie Winterton, Minister for Health Services, and helped her steer the Mental Health Bill through the Commons.  From 2007 – 2009, Kerry was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Douglas Alexander, the Secretary of State for International Development.

In the June 2009 reshuffle she was made a Junior Whip.

Kerry was also Chair of the South West Group of Labour MPs, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland, a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum, and lead contact for the End Child Poverty campaign amongst Labour MPs in parliament.

Kerry’s main policy areas of interest are: the economy; tackling poverty; international aid and trade; transport; and crime and justice.

In May 2010 Kerry was made a Shadow Junior Minister in the Department of Work and Pensions, with responsibility for disability issues.

I am delighted Labour’s top blogging woman MP will join me later to talk about how we can use social media, thank you Kerry.

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About the Speakers at my Fringe Meeting – Tom Harris MP

During the next few days I thought I would give a brief pen-portrait of each of the speakers at my fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference, How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition.  First off is Tom Harris MP.

With his lively mix of political commentary and personal anecdote, it’s not surprising that Tom Harris, MP for Glasgow South, has established himself as a firm favourite in the ever-expanding blogosphere.  His blog, “And another thing…”, has, in recent years, accumulated a whole host of awards, along with more that 50,000 viewings a month.

This popularity is, in part, a reflection of Tom’s writing style; a former journalist, he writes eloquently, enlivening even the duller policy issues. Perhaps more significant, however, is his willingness  to challenge received wisdom and offer a distinctive personal perspective, informed by his Scottish roots and long history of Labour Party involvement. Tom’s nine years in Parliament give him that all-important insider’s insight whilst, having grown up on a Ayrshire council estate and experienced unemployment and deprivation first hand, he is able to offer an outlook that is sometimes missing from mainstream media.

So, if you haven’t already had a look at Tom’s entertaining offerings, read his blog now at: http://www.tomharris.org.uk/

My fringe meeting is on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Central, Charter 1.  The other speakers are Alex Smith, editor of LabourList, Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign and UNISON activist, Councillor John Gray from the London Borough of Newham.

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Labour Bloggers fight the Coalition

The highlight of this year’s Labour Party Conference to be held from Saturday 25 to Thursday 30 September in Manchester, will obviously be the announcement of the election of the new Party Leader.

 However, life still goes on, and I have decided to organise a fringe meeting at the Conference on political blogging – bloggers for Labour no less.

 The meeting  How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition will be held on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Charter 1 in the secure zone.

 I will chair the meeting and am very pleased to have as speakers:

 Tom Harris MP for Glasgow South, Labour’s top MP blogger

Alex Smith, Editor of Labour List

Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign

Councillor John Gray, blogger and UNISON activist

 With such a distinguished line up of speakers, I would now very much like to have a large, interested and appreciative audience.

See you in Manchester

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Submitting my Supporting Nomination for David Miliband

I sent my supporting nomination for David Miliband to the Labour Party yesterday afternoon.  Catching up with my blog surfing later in the day, I came across this excellent blog post from Tom Harris MP on why David Miliband is the only Labour leadership candidate the Tories fear.

Tom’s main argument is:

“This isn’t about which candidate we, as party members, feel most comfortable with. It’s not even about which candidate has the best policies; there are processes in place for deciding the party’s programme.

It is not about making us feel good as party members. And it’s certainly not about being comfortable about, or even remotely acquiescent in, choosing someone who will lead us to a noble defeat. That would be a betrayal of our party and our country.

It’s about winning the next election.”

David is the only one of the five candidates who has the credibilty to lead us to victory.  Unlike my younger readers, I remember the 1980s and have very strong memories of opposition.  Not only is opposition, ie not being in power, extremely frustrating as we cannot put our values into practice, it also has the potential to be extremely divisive.

Labour was out of power from 1979 to 1997 to a large extent because we all fell out with each other.  We had the soft left, the Trotskyist left, the Militant Tendency, the Labour Co-ordinating Committee, the right wing, etcetera.  More damaging than the plethora of labels was the poisonous atmosphere of hate, destruction and general lack of trust.

Since my involvement in London Labour politics began in 1976 I was there when all of this took place.  And I never want to go through it again.

It’s for these powerful reasons that I am grateful that this leadership contest has so far been good natured, constructive and conducted in a fair and reasonable fashion.  Let’s keep it that way.  We want to be back in govenment not in 18 years time but at the next general election with David Miliband as our Prime Minister.

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DEREK DRAPER RESIGNS AS EDITOR OF LABOUR LIST

So Derek Draper has now resigned as Editor of LabourList passing the mantle of Labour blogging to his deputy Alex Smith.

Derek Draper

Derek Draper

In his resignation statement Draper admits that his position following the Damian McBride affair was untenable, and that he felt he could no longer continue in his position on LabourList.

LabourList was, and still is, a real opportunity for Labour and left-wing bloggers to challenge the seeming hegemony of the right in the blogosphere. We need more people out there blogging for the progressive cause and not let political blogging be dominated by the likes of Iain Dale, Conservative Home and the appalling Guido Fawkes.

Labour also needs to widen the scope of its blogging. The leaders in the political arena – Iain Dale,Guido Fawkes and our very own Tom Harris – are very Westminster focused. Richard Corbett, my MEP colleague from York and Humber, and I blog on Europe and I try to bring a feminist dimension to my posts. The excellent Luke Akehurst (I wish him all the best for a full recovery from his illness) tells us about local government. These are all good, but only Tom Harris competes with the Tories on viewing numbers.

We now need to move left leaning blogging forward to take in more subjects and reflect more opinions. LabourList can do this. Good luck to Alex Smith.

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AND ANOTHER THING….THANK YOU TOM HARRIS

I have always enjoyed Tom Harris MP’s blog. I was delighted that the first person to put up  a new style Honeyball Buzz link button was Tom, many thanks. Sometimes we think very similarly, Tom’s post  last week on Boris Johnson was very similar to mine highlighting Iain Dale’s partisan spinning.

Following my campaign on Ryanair’s sexist calendars, I’m amused by this story from Tom on Ryanair staff totally losing the plot, click here, the comments are as good as the story.

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