Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Congrats to Ellie on PPB campaign, and Willy Hague on getting van Rompuy

Posted on 17 November 2009 | 11:11am

Congratulations to young (I know it sounds patronising, but it is kind of relevant) Ellie Gellard who is today enjoying the sweet taste of campaign success. To people with political blood flowing through their veins, there are few better feelings.

Ellie started the online campaign to persuade the Labour powers-that-be to choose, as their next party political broadcast, a film that was shown at Labour’s conference shortly before GB walked onto the stage.

I was very happy to support the idea, not least because the film, Against The Odds, was made by Mark Lucas and his team at Silverfish, the same people who designed this website and do the films and vlogs I put up from time to time. So congratulations to them too.

Ellie, whose Twittername is BevaniteEllie, is big on values in politics, and rightly thinks the film shows the link between Labour values and progress made by and for Britain down the years.

As I said on Saturday, it covers the fight against fascism, Labour¹s commitment to the NHS and the battle against apartheid. There’s the peace that TB sought to bring to Northern Ireland. Rights for workers, Sure Start, the minimum wage, cancelling debt to developing countries. This and more, none of which could have been achieved without being in government. How did we get into government, not just in 1997 but at any time? By fighting against the odds.

The main parties get a broadcast around the time of The Queen’s Speech, so Ellie’s campaign was timely. Its outcome will also save a few bob for the Party, able as it is to take this film off the shelf. But as the government sets out its legislative programme for the future, that is as good a time as any to remind ourselves what through our values we have achieved in the past.

And why is Ellie’s relative youth relevant? Because if she can be inspired by Labour’s history, and its relevance to today, so can others.

I am reading ‘The Audacity to Win,’ by David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager. It is a terrific read, but one of the things that most impressed me was their commitment to, and belief in, empowering young people within the campaign. We could do with a bit more of that in UK politics. Ellie’s campaign victory is a step in the right direction.

Congratulations too, this time of a wholly ironic nature, to William Hague and his fellow Conservatives in helping to block Tony Blair as the first President of the European Council, thereby in all probability paving the way for Belgian PM Herman van Rompuy.

That would be the same HvR who told the secretive Bilderberg group of politicos, bankers and businessmen of the need for new EU wide taxes. Mr Hague has reacted rather angrily to this. ‘Advocacy of such a policy is not a fruitful use of anyone’s time,’ he says. Not nearly as fruitful as campaigning to get the wrong man in the wrong job, eh Willy?

  • Eddy Anderson

    I watched Ellie’s campaign video; for me, as someone who would normally vote Labour but has had doubts in recent months, it was a brilliant reminder of what the party stands for.

    Politics absolutely has to adapt if it wants to make a difference. TB said in his last PMQs that politics was ‘the pursuit of noble causes’. Labour’s got the causes, and now it needs to focus on how to pursue them–how to get the message out to the apathetic and the angry. Online campaigns are a great way to go.

  • George Harper

    Hague can always down 14 pints to celebrate when a Benelux federalist gets the job. Talk about cutting off nose to spite face.

  • Georgie

    Young people are in many ways more political than older people, but less likely to channel it into party politics. The job between now and the election is to make sure people understand that however much they care about this issue or that, this is a choice that will impact upon all issues. I read this blog because it is one of the few places where I get some sense of fight and optimism for Labour. I will now follow ellie on twitter too

  • Peter Atkinson

    Excellent choice of broadcast, I watched Against The Odds after reading about it on your twitter and facebook posts, it is an impressive film,to me it reminds people of what the labour party is about, so, well done Ellie!

  • Salmondnet

    And the charlatan Blair, who promised then denied us a referendum,who said he would serve a full term and then handed over to Brown, who wanted to take us into the Euro, who waited until he was no longer PM before declaring himself a catholic, whose children hold Irish passports and who undoubtedly wants to lead Britain into “ever closer Union” is the right man?

    I suppose so, if you think all of the above are good things. Many of us, however, would rather the post went to an honest Belgian federalist than to a dishonest British quisling.

  • Steven Roberts

    I too was happy to support Ellie in her campaign. She was not the only one to be inspired by the ‘Against the Odds’ film. It is brilliant and brought a lump to my throat when I first saw it. Well done Ellie and everyone else that supported this campaign. We now need lots of people, of all ages, to be so inspired and to get out there in a positive frame of mind and campaign on the doorstep about the real chice that faces voters at the next election.

  • Ellie Gellard

    Thanks for the congratulations Alastair, I think what was key about the success of the campaign is that it shows the Labour Party is still listening.
    Against the Odds demonstrates the principles of the Labour Party, principles that will be as important in a post-recession General Election as they were in 1945. Ensuring those with the most play their part in helping those with the least: the recipe of a stable, sound society. It is a positive campaign, unashamedly reminding people of what our party can do and has done, we’ve delivered. It was time for a change, for a bit of heart in our campaigning and I’m thrilled Labour listened.

  • Hadleigh ROBERTS

    I’m suspicious of this campaign…

    1. If the video was broadcast in September at conference, why did it take two months before the campaign was announced?

    2. Why was the decision taken so quickly, within a week?

  • Stan Rosenthal

    May I also offer my congrats to Ellie. Her success shows how influential online campaigns can be. It would be nice if Labour supporters could give the same kind of support to the online Ban Blair-baiting petition mentioned here before which is simply trying to ensure that the man who won us three elections gets a fair hearing at the Iraq inquiry.

    As Alastair has pointed out Blair-baiting by the Tories (and others) has probably scuppered TB’s chances of the EU Presidency and the same sort of thing related to the Iraq inquiry (starting next week) could well help to scupper our chances at the General Election

    For a fuller explanation of what the petition is about see my blog on the subject at Progressonline.

  • AdamR

    Loving the video Alistair!

    If only because it is one of the most desperate and laughable PPB attempts ever. I have shown it to an entire warehouse of people (floating voters) who all instantly found huge flaws in the video.
    For reference I’ll list a few.
    Firstly, fact women got the vote from Lib/Tory coalition and Tory Govts in 1918 and 1929 respectively, Pankhurst rejected Hardie and the ILP and later became a Conservative.
    Also Labour had nothing to do with the battle of cable street, which was where ordinary people (not Lab activists) attacked Mosely’s fascist scum.
    The ILP ‘for working people’ was bankrolled by the distinctly middle class and elitist Fabians.
    The NHS was implemented by Labour, but was actually ‘created’ (as the PPB) puts it by a Liberal, William Beveridge, and commissioned by Churchill, who backed it and other social measures in the 1943 speech ‘Britain after the War’, as part of a four year phased reconstruction plan. At this time most Labour leaders (including Nye Bevan) rejected it. Indeed Bevan called it ‘a humanising of Capitalism’. Only later did he and others come round.
    Aparently ‘they’ said a son of a miner could never be a minister, but no one told Nye Bevan. Funny that, Because William Adamson, the Scottish Secretary in the 1924 Government under MacDonald. He was a miner himself. So what is Bevans relevance?
    On the Apartheid issue, it is true that many figures who are now Labour (or were loosely related at the time) did campaign vigorously against the evils of the South African regime, the actual Labour Govt itself did nothing to end Apartheid. In 1964 Wilson confirmed he would not break off trade or impose sanctions on SA.

    They are most of the big flaws in the PPB for you (in case you want to try and churn another one out). Also, I’d get rid of the Ferguson, Grey-Thomson and Rowling references. When they appeared, the audience’s immeadiate reaction was ‘what have they got to do with Labour?’.
    Oh, and the Obama thing. Similar reaction, pretty much everyone realised that it was a rather cynical attempt to link Gordon with Obama’s success.

    Anyhow, just thought I’d give you a hand by showing you how well this self-congratulatory guff has gone with ordinary folks. Re-writing history is bad enough, but then pretending that people are going to love it is a bit sad.

    As Wes Streeting, Labour head of NUS put it, it is a great rallying cry to the core vote/activists, but what relevance has it got to the public. Ill answer Wes for you. None.

  • Alistair Crookedmouth

    Eddy Anderson – the pursuit of noble causes hey? A rather grandiose statement indeed; you should read Lord Owen’s diagnosis of TB’s hubris syndrome to understand TB’s delusion in this respect.

    Ref the EU Presidency – TB was never going to win it; even his followers amongst the political elite in Europe realised that to push for him would threaten their own electoral position at home since TB is detested by many in Europe, (not to forget here and the middle east) – hence the lukewarm response from Merkal et al and Sarkozy’s turnabout. As Miliband says, there really isn’t much left hidden about the Iraq business, the facts are out there – Chilcott’s challenge is whether he plays the establishment patsy and delivers another damp squib a la Hutton or actually adds to Butler’s report in his condemnation of TB et al’s behaviour.

    Either way, I think most people in the UK are fairly pleased that TB ain’t going to be president. Happy days. Do we care that some bloke from Belgium is going to get the job – no, not really – because Europe is so far removed from our day to day living its an irelevance.

  • Spartan

    Yeah … congrats Ellie. You’ll do well in the current regime. Deleting all comments on your blog that are not favourable. Can’t have debate can we Ellie?

    What a joke … but typical.

  • betty curtis

    Fighting Talk to Stir a Social Conscience

    If you have been affected by the Tory-trolls on our Blogs & the Tory media telling us it’s all over for Labour. You need to sit comfortably with a a few tissues & watch the video Against the Odds—You will be both emotional & rejuvenated but more than that you’ll want to fight for a fourth term & stop our Country being run by Tories who have promised that they will make us all worse off. Very very frightening prospect!!

  • Dina

    Let’s be honest here: Ellie Gellard seems like a lovely, but incredibly idiotic young women and against all odds is also lovely but idiotic.

    She’s an idiot because she blindly supports Labour in everything and doesn’t appear to show any critical faculty in her analysis of politics. Labour are not always right, and against all odds is basically propaganda. The best way to campaign is to just admit that we haven’t always been where we want to be, and yes we’ve got things wrong, but there’s life and there’s learning and we’re willing to learn from our mistakes. Instead of putting our blinkers on and looking at everything retrospectively, we should focus more on the future.

  • Frankie

    Inspiring video, and david plouff has it spot on, young people can be the energy beiong great campaigns and can make that extra difference. Contrary to popular belief politics moves them, and they know it matters, but the vast majority just dont feel theyre given enough by politicians to warrant them giving something back.

    I was in the historic national youth parliament delegation to the house of commons which voted for votes to 16 to be its primary issue going forward. I dont believe there is one single act that could do more than this for young peoples interest in politics, whether under 16 or over. Yet there seems to be strong indications that Gordon Brown will drop this from the queen speech, because he feels its too crowded already.

    This bill could change the future face of the Labour party Alastair, i really believe that. Anyway ild appreciate your thoughts,

    Frankie.

    p.s bitterly dissapointed than Manu’s jammy victory in European cup was inspirational sporting moment of choice in the video, the shocking omission of Carlos Edwards 35 yard screamer against Burnley, sending the mighty Sunderland into the prem, could well cost Labour the next election……

  • Ellie Gellard

    Dina, I’m not sure if you know much about me (why should you?) but I do not blindly support everything Labour has done. My blog has various calls for us to change direction and admit mistakes. I, however, do not apologise for being fiercely proud of a party like Labour who have fought throughout our history against social injustice, of course we’ve made mistakes, but the public need to be able to put their trust in a party, and it is our job to show them why it should be ours.

    Betty, I totally agree. But it’s not only for the activists, hundreds of people have contacted me saying they’ll vote Labour after seeing this refreshing approach to campaigning, one which makes no excuses for being proud of our party. Leaving the mud slinging to the Opposition. And The Sun.

    And finally Hadleigh, as I have told you on Twitter, nothing to be suspicious of – I emailed the party 2 weeks ago and here we are, and yes, I’m thrilled they listened to the campaign.

  • Billy Blofeld

    Well done to Ellie – I admire her enthusiasm.

    Unfortunatley, the “old men” of Labour are pulling the wool over Ellie’s eyes. That video blatantly re-writes history. It is the sort of dodgy patter that double glazing salesmen come out with.