Roger Helmer Resigns

Labour Party

In a letter to Stephen Mold, East Midlands Conservative regional chairman seen courtesy of Guido Fawkes ( follow the link here) Roger Helmer says he’s had enough of working for a party that doesn’t subscribe to his eurosceptic, climate-change denying views. 

Although Mr Helmer lies somewhat on the fringes of the Tories, this does speak to the internal problems Cameron is facing from the right-wing of his party.

 I also noted that Mr Helmer assumed that he would be standing aside for a ‘younger man’.  Clearly that was no chance of the Tories trying to further the cause of gender equality by allowing a woman to take his place.  This isn’t surprising from a party that has managed to select no female candidates for their GLA lists.

This is the letter in full, thank you Guido:

Dear Stephen,

Resignation from the European Parliament

It was a great pleasure to see you at the Party Conference in Manchester last week.

I am writing to you now to advise you that I shall be resigning my seat in the European parliament effective December 31st this year.

As with any major decision, this is driven by a number of factors. Some might say that it is high time I stood aside for a younger man. For myself, I think that twelve-and-a-half years banging my head against the same brick wall in Brussels is perhaps long enough. And I should certainly like to see more of my three fine grandsons.

But it would be disingenuous to deny that my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party. I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the Coalition, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but on a range of other matters besides.

I will have more to say about this in coming days…

Tories Buy Advertising Through Right Wing Bloggers Company

Labour Party

It’s very interesting that David Cameron’s almost disgraced Communications chief Andy Coulson warned that Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes of the revoltingly populist and regrettably popular blog of the same name, could be an unsuitable channel for Tory funds.

It transpires that the Tories used Staines’ company Message Space to buy adverts on other right wing blogs including Iain Dale and Tory Bear plus the grassroots Mumsnet site.

So what, you may ask? Well two things strike me:

Firstly and most importantly, according to the Times, Staines has regularly complained that the Coalition is not right wing enough. This would appear to be a classic example of a “donor” trying to call the tune – something the Tories are only to quick to accuse Labour of.

Secondly, we in politics need to rethink the rules on political advertising. Where do blogs and online content fit in? As the Internet becomes ever more part of our daily lives, it has to become part of our legislation and the way we govern ourselves and should therefore abide by the rules which apply to other forms of communication.


Labour Party

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.