First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’
Article 50 has plunged Labour into the thick of the controversy of leaving the European Union this week. The very issue Labour could once use to divide the Tory party leaves Labour looking like they are all over the place. The vacuum in leadership allows a three line whip – aimed to indicate understanding of how 17 million people voted – to be characterised as a blank check for Theresa May’s hard Brexit.
The leadership of the party, has for once, recognised the important of being in touch with majority opinion in Britain. Yet it is Jeremy Corbyn’s close allies – both in parliament and outside – that seem to understand his position least. In fact, many of those who berated the ‘coupists’ last summer are now the ones walking off Corbyn’s frontbench or leaving the party all together. Labour members of parliament – from all wings – have got to do right my their conscience and their constituents. We should respect how they each vote, despite our deep felt feeling about how we wish the voted had gone last June. (more…)
He wanted his legacy to be change for other motor neurone sufferers – an obituary of Gordon Aikman
First published on LabourList
Gordon Aikman was propelled into the media when he was tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 29 during the Scottish independence referendum. Gordon served as the ‘No’ campaign’s director of research when his hands started to feel numb and he – reluctantly – went to the doctors. What started as ‘struggle with tying shoelaces and buttoning shirts’ led to some life changing decisions. ‘Quitting [Better Together] was never an option’ he told the Scotsman in June 2014. He did, however, have to cut of out commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow and work remotely. He powered through and was part of the team that held the United Kingdom together. In the same piece he warned that he would most likely being in a wheelchair by Christmas and he warned his friends of the steep decline that could follow. He defied the timing suggested by his doctors time and again. Sadly, on Wednesday Gordon lost his battle with MND and leaves behind a massive hole in so many people’s lives. (more…)
First published in Progress magazine
Gordon Aikman wants nothing left unsaid | Richard Angell and Adam Harrison
Gordon Aikman has been busy of late. The former Labour party staffer-turned-director of research for the unionist referendum campaign Better Together has met Hillary Clinton, been in and out of No 10, received wide coverage in national newspapers and, most recently, his partner, Joe, proposed after a day visiting the White House and the Oval Office.
In the final weeks of the independence referendum campaign Aikman found out he had motor neurone disease. The condition was recently propelled into the news thanks to the Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything. Unlike Stephen Hawking, Aikman’s strain of the disease means he has just months to live. ‘I think we could all learn from Philip Gould [the New Labour pollster] and others about making the most of every day. Life is finite.’ ‘With the progressive nature of MND, I know that today is my healthiest day; I am only going to get worse. I’ve been living life and enjoying life as much as I can.’ (more…)