Norwich North candidate selected

1st September, 2012 1:19 pm

Today the members of Norwich North CLP met to select the candidate who will aim to beat Tory Minister Chloe Smith (you may have heard of once or twice). Norwich North was a Labour seat until a controversial by-election in 2009 resulted in the seat switching from Labour to the Tories.

Today Jessica Asato was selected local party members to be their candidate in 2015. Here’s a brief profile of Jessica:

Jess Asato works as an Advisor to Shadow Cabinet Minister, Tessa Jowell MP, and is a Labour and Co-op Councillor in Islington where she Chairs the Corporate Parenting Board. Jess is also the Vice-Chair of the Fabian Society, a Council Member of the Electoral Reform Society, and a Director of Left Foot Forward. She grew up in Norfolk and went to school just outside Great Yarmouth.

Congratulations to Jessica and commiserations to the other shortlisted candidate Jo Rust.

Update: We’ve got the numbers in now – 68 votes to 53 – so a good showing for Rust and not an easy victory for Asato by any means, and a good contest between two strong candidates.

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  • Excellent news.

  • Well done Jess! I will be willing to come up and help you Guys out come election season!

  • NT86

    All the best, Jessica!! Chloe Smith doesn’t have a large majority in the seat so it shouldn’t be too hard. Plus after that woeful Newsnight appearance as well as questions about her suitability to be a treasury minister (Cameron thought she was an accountant), I can’t see her holding on.

  • Daniel Speight

    So no change in the type of candidates being selected.  Shame as it was a chance to to show Ed Miliband’s ideas on candidate selection were not just spin.

    • John Reid

      Daniel your quite right, I wouldn’t have minded if the candidate was A benntie or a bliarite aslong as they new the area, i was up their for the 2009 election and the amount of ex labour going over to the greens because .they knew we didn’t understand what was going outside westmisnter was so obvious

  • volcanopete

    Congratulations to Jess.I look forward to helping her in ridding us in Norwich North of Chloe Smith and becoming the first Labour woman MP for the constituency.With the prospect of the first black MP for Norwich South in Clive Lewis,her selection confirms that real change for the better has taken place in the Labour Party.

  • AlanGiles

    Well, who saw that coming 🙂

    • Aren’t you going to congratulate the candidate?

    • Aren’t you going to congratulate the candidate?

    • Aren’t you going to congratulate the candidate?

  • hgsfc

    another victory for the parachute regiment….SPADs away…

  • John_Dore

    Great candidate, lots of experience in industry and business. She’ll be able to add a lot of value to the growth and jobs conundrum. 

    • “lots of experience in industry and business.”

      I thought Jessica was previously an employee of Progress and then a spad?

      • Why are you attacking the party’s candidate?

        • aracataca

          Renie. They aren’t Labour supporters. Alan is a Green/abstentionist. Not sure what Dave is.

          • AlanGiles

             I always find it interesting that you seem to consider “Green” a bigger sin or insult than, say, the English Defence League or the BNP. If I had expressed an interest in either of these loathsome parties on LL, you would have every right to become upset.

            For the record I find the Green party philosophicaly very interesting, misguided though I feel some of the more zealous Greens are – more interesting, frankly, than the current timid stance of Labour and some of their supporters who seem merely  to be anxious to “adapt” to the coalition stance: “we re like the Tories, only nicer” is not a winning formula.

            It is cringeworthy to see some “Labour” figures get so exercised over the Freud welfare “reforms”, now,  even though Labour initiated those reforms,  and they kept their mouths shut back in 2009, and embarrassing to see Labour complaining about current NHS policy, in regard to overseas, when it was Andy Burnham for Labour in 2007 who dreamt up NHS Global.

            I know you think loyalty should be absolute, but I have never agreed with the “my party right or wrong” stance, and when I find Labour being disengenuous, I reserve the right to say so.

          • aracataca

            How ludicrous. Of course I don’t equate the Green Party with the BNP/EDL.

          • aracataca

            How ludicrous. Of course I don’t equate the Green Party with the BNP/EDL.

          • AlanGiles

             I don’t think you read what I actually wrote. I said that you make sympathy for the Greens sound as disgusting as support for the EDF/BNP. I at no time suggested you thought they were on a par with them, but you do tend to use “Green” (at least in connection with me) as a somewhat dispariging term.

            How many times, Bill have you made the accusation “You’re a Green!”, though I have made plain I am NOT a member of the party.

            I just find that they are interesting, and the fact that I worked in a very non-green enviroment, yet can understand their concerns, while at the same time realising the practical difficulty of introducing their more extreme policies , at the same time as knowing the status quo isn’t sustainable even in the short term, makes from some interesting philosophical thoughts.

            At least the Green Party are not afraid to actually say in terms what they believe in: had the last years of New Labour been a rip-roaring success, or the two years of the Coalition not a total failure, there might be something to be said for the “steady-as-she-goes” approach, but the current timidity of Labour (and nobody will know what to think until John crudas has told them in 2/3 years) I find extremely complacent.

          • John_Dore

            The BNP and EDL are extremists, Greens are not extremists, but the word weird come to mind.

          • “They aren’t Labour supporters.”

            I’m a member of the Labour Party and over many decades of voting I’ve never voted for any candidate other than the official Labour Party candidate.

            My view is that the Labour Party should be open to participation from all sections of the population.

            The institutional bias against candidates other than the Oxbridge/London elite – many of whom have no experience of life beyond university and Westminster – should be corrected, and quickly.

          • aracataca

            OK Dave. Just believe in getting behind our candidates. 

          • Tell that to Sainsbury.

          • aracataca

            Sorry Dave I know it’s unpopular but I  think we should all stick together including Sainsbury-I’m being killed by this current government.

          • I’m with you mate but I lived through Sainsbury’s bank-rolling of the SDP against Labour – an action which subsequently gifted us Thatcher.

            There are hard lessons to be learned.

          • John_Dore

            I think you’ll find that Thatcher was elected in 79. The SDP was 81. The left let in Thatcher with their extremist views. She got re elected due to the Falklands and the most woeful leader we ever had. 

          • John Reid

            The Tory vote was down 700,000 in 83 from 79, It’s realised most of these votes went to the SDP, Andrew Mitchell, Andrew Cooper, Danny Finkelstien, Chris grayling, Chris brocklebank, George Brown and David Owen among 10 others all Backed the SDP and Backed the Tories in 92, And Jenkins and Shirley Williams were all in talks to jut join the Liberals had the SDp never formed, Do you really think had the SDp not broke away after Trots got the Likes of Bill rogers and Jon Cartright deselected, that had those people just retired from Politics the 3 million people who voted Labour in ’79 and didn’t in ’83 would have still voted Labour, for the record there was a low voter turnout in ’83 and Up North a lot of Labour voters who abstained in 83 came back, that’s why Labour did well Up north in 87 ,yet worse in London in 87 than in 83

          • John_Dore

            Oh for gods sake. In one breath you say “My view is that the Labour Party should be open to participation from all sections of the population.” and then its ”
            Tell that to Sainsbury.” He has little influence compared to the Unions, the paranoia of the left knows no bounds.

          • He was not a member of the Labour Party back then. Your point is?

          • John Reid

            him not giving money now to labour isn’t not backing them, he’s gave more than you ever have, he hasn’t backed another party.

          • But that is not true. There are plenty of candidates who are not from Oxbridge or London. The majority of our candidates who have been selected aren’t Oxbridge graduates. This is because your prefferred candidate did not win. Just get over it, man.

        • aracataca

          I forgot to mention Renie that AG’s comments are very circular, offer few if any policy alternatives/options, and rarely deviate from a fixation on the activities/comments of James Purnell, Liam Byrne and/or Lord Freud from the last government. In this way politics therefore becomes highly personalised. Occasionally a dollop of Blair phobia is added to the mix- the narrative is that Blairites are everywhere in the party and dictating current debate- and then of course there is a little bit of abuse.  There is no proper or engaged debate with anything that is currently being discussed within the party. 

          • AlanGiles

             With respect, you and John Dore’s raison d’etre seems to be to flatter the vanity of this poster, telling him how terrible I am. In case you hadn’t noticed, Byrne sits in the shadow cabinet Freud sits in the Lords on the Conservative benches, and has done since 2009, and Purnell is a friend of Crudas, who will probably have some input into the policy review. Progress is bankrolled by Sainsbury and are hardly an insignficant part of the party.

            You do not need to be reminded that Freud continues to cause great distress to the ill and disabled, and even Purnell admitted back in 2009 that the full effects of Freud wouldn’t be felt till 2012/13, which of course we are seeing now.

            I really don’t care that a 16 year old schoolboy shares your right-wing views, as he has little life experience, his opinions carry no weight with me.

          • aracataca

            I really don’t care that a 16 year old schoolboy shares your right-wing views, as he has little life experience, his opinions carry no weight with me. 

            I almost forgot Renie. He also patronises young people. 

          • AlanGiles

             That is what I said and that is exactly what I meant.

            The one thing Renie doesn’t lack is self-confidence, to match his arrogance and conceit. have you read his Twitter b;lurb?:

            “16, Labour, Christ’s Hospital student, Lewisham boy, Neo-Gaitskellite. The one who Dan Hodges said should work for Jon Cruddas!”

            Having endured the most vile abuse under his previous screenname, you can  hardly expect me to be very friendly towards him.

          • John_Dore

            @AlanGiles:disqus said ”
             endured the most vile abuse under his previous screenname” 
            You do not know that. That is libellous.

          • markfergusonuk

            I’d rather people did accuse people of having posted under old usernames. This all gets very tiresome and will lead to numerous people having their posting privileges curtailed. You have all been warned.

          • PeterBarnard

            I think that there’s a “not” missing, Mark, viz  between “did” and “accuse”  ….

          • Thank you, Mark.

          • Thank you, John.

          • Why are you doing this, Alan? Why are you acting in such an uncomradely manner. You attack the local PPC, you attack other posters and then you attack me who just happens to take an interest in politics via social media. Why?

          • Clearly.

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            It’s a fair point.

          • What right-wing views? What the hell are you talking about? You are just being quite frankly very rude and upsetting and I do not know how your comment got moderated. Seriously, why are you being so disrespectful?

          • I know. I was joking about it on the coach from Corby. The same old Alan Giles on LabourList who everyone zooms over who just attacks anyone who doesn’t agree with his Blairphobic views and get’s in fights with The Purple Booker.

      • AlanGiles

         Good morning Dave, It’s deja vu in  more senses than one. I remember how anxious “ThePurpleBooker” was for Asato to be the winning candidate, and I see Renie is as defensive and enthusiastic as he was!

      • AlanGiles

         Good morning Dave, It’s deja vu in  more senses than one. I remember how anxious “ThePurpleBooker” was for Asato to be the winning candidate, and I see Renie is as defensive and enthusiastic as he was!

    • Chilbaldi

      I have no idea as to her competency as I have never met Ms Asato and I am not familiar with her writing. However, she is clearly a career politician and I don’t know how you can argue otherwise.

    • Winston_from_the_Ministry


      • John_Dore

        Is that a Churchillian reference your nom de plume

        • Winston_from_the_Ministry


  • rekrab

    Don’t know to much about the candidate select? but on a visual note, is this a personality match?

  • Another young woman who has spent a lot of time in politics. I had hoped that we would get an alternative to the present incumbent. I want to vote Labour but I also want a free-thinking MP who is not shackled by the system.

  • A great candidate for Norwich North! Well done, Jess Asato! Comiserations Jo Rust.

  • MarkHoulbrook

    Jessica Asato may well be a candidate that has worked hard. I do not doubt her integrity or her ability to do well in her chosen career. She is perhaps an exception to the rule. Maybe.
    However it would be unfair to claim that Jessica is part of a control freakery, top down, “more of the same” shortlisting, selection process culture. But I am afraid she is.
    Career politicians should start at grassroot level and be choson from grassroot level on merit. Ed Miliband once said he wished to change the party, refound labour, change the culture and selection process. This appears not to have happened.
    If you are a policy advisor, caseworker, Brewers Green office worker, journalist, Oxbridge elite, think tank contributer, David Milibands campaign organiser and in your early twenties with no life experience and no grass root experience you have a future in the Labour Party.
    If you are experienced, knowledgable, genuine, grassroot community activist, non Oxbridge, educated, hard working ,working class, male (all women shortlists) and outspoken do not apply.
    Twitter all day, do nothing, get noticed, get chosen, get elected. Virtual campaign.
    This is the New Generation.
    A simple  message to Ed Balls. A pheonix will rise from the Labour ashes.  It only a matter of time. As both you and Ed both know.

    •  Nothing will rise from the disaster of 2010 as the party stands for nothing and can say nothing new from the parties of the right. As for this candidate, how can she speak for Norwich when she does not live in the city?

  • Brumanuensis

    Disappointed that Jo Rust didn’t win, but congratulations to Jess Asato and I wish her all the best in her contest against Chloe Smith.

  • Daniel Speight

    Not often we agree John;-)

  • AlanGiles

     Well said, Mark. If Cameron ever said one true thing, it is his remarks about “Twitter”: old time Labour MPs worked hard before entering Parliament, down mines, in the armed services, in factories etc, now “working hard” is typing self-serving, boastful and otiose brief messages on a social networking site.

    Nobody expects Asato to get her hands dirty (“advising” Tessa Jowell must be fascinating) but the juvenille mindset of self-obsessed kids who are convinced the world is interested in their most humdrum activities, and wish to constantly draw attention to themselves seems to me to show such immaturity it doesn’t bode well for the future, regardless of party. A Parliament full of Lembit Opik/ Louise Mensch manque’ – a stomach churning prospect.

    • Why aren’t you congratulating the new Labour candidate who has been democratically chosen by her own constituency party to fight for them in the next General Election against a Tory minister? Why are you carping from the side lines and being extremely disrespectful?

  • Serbitar

    Yet another Yvete Cooper lookie likey. Buy one get one free.

  • williamtheconker

    Has she ever done a real job?

  • markfergusonuk

    Except Jessica is from the local area, and will now live in Norwich. Does that not count?

  • Is that some rude attack on Jess Asato. Support the candidate.

  • Brumanuensis

    I know many members of the Party left might be disappointed with the outcome and I was a strong supporter of Jo Rust. But Jess Asato is our candidate and whatever disagreements we might have with her are minuscule compared to Chloe Smith. Plus, I submit her policy priorities are hardly conventionally-Blairite* – .

    If you want to donate to the fighting fund, here’s the link:

    *I’ll just also note in passing that a Progress member once told me that Jess Asato was seen as less Blairite than other prominent members of Progress, like Richard Angell.

    • Depends what you mean by Blairite. Blairite is not really an ideology in all honesty. She is a huge fan of James Purnell, by the way.

      • Brumanuensis

        Yes, I’m doing my best to ignore that.

        How do you know my views on Purnell?

        • I gathered it was negative because you made a comment rather which came across rather anti-Blairite. James Purnell is a Blairite, and Jess Asato is a friend and big fan of his. Also, you’ve made posts about it before. Regular LabourList posters are renowned for hating Purnell, Byrne etc. She was also backed by Neil Kinnock too!

    • AlanGiles

      I honestly think they are all much of  a muchness these days, Brum. Terrified of disturbing the status quo, all of them more interested in themselves than their would-be constituents (even Harry Cohen in Waltham Forest, one of the poorest parts of London, was more interested in his second home – a caravan on Clacton beach – and his sunken bath(!). He stood down in 2010. He was supposed to be a left winger.

      As for the Progress wing – careerists to a man (and woman).

      Perhaps it should be compulsory for all prospective MPs and wanabee politicians to actually work in the real world for at least five years, rather than some soft part time “political” job: then they could hold forth about things with at least a modicum of practical knowledge of life.

      • Why? It’s their life choice. You are hung up on insulting Blair, Blairites, anyone on the right of the party who do not share your archaic views. She is probably more in touch with the swing voters in this marginal seat, more than Jo Rust from what I understand. If you are supportive of Labour as you say you are, don’t carp at the side lines but back our candidate so we can get Chloe Smith out.

      • Brumanuensis

        Very true, Alan. The career profile of most modern politicians is too narrow, even if they have had work experience. Of course, as you correctly note, a lot of them haven’t.

  • The SDP got their capitualtion to Thatcherism in early. The LP followed and when TB became leader capitulation was complete.

    Now we stand amid the ruins of Labour, Thatcherism and the market economy to which both nailed their colours.

    The problem for Labour now is that, when in government, they initiated the ‘reforms’ now being completed by the Tories. The latest notable episode was last week’s deceitful flip-flopping by Burnham over reserving a boutique NHS option for the international elite.

    This makes it very difficult to counter the very sound argument one often encounters on the doorstep, summed up as: “They’re all the same.”

    • AlanGiles

       Agree 100%’.

      • John_Dore


    • John_Dore

      Dave, the thought that some trot version of Labour is electable is delusion on a grand scale.You lot decry the market economy but can never articulate what you’d do. You have no answers just sweeping generalisations.

      The problem for Labour now is a resurgent left that controls the money. Whilst it may be wrong for Burnham to do whatever he is doing, I’m not sufficiently well infomred to comment. I do know one thing, all the left have is rhetoric, you guys never present a model that would work for the country and that is why Labour looks nothing like what you desire.

  • Oh, she’s now been demoted to the Cabinet Office. Poor girl..

  • AlanGiles

     If you think that having a serious interest and concern about the depletion of natural resources, pollution, energy sources etc is “weird” then I suspect you would be amazed to find that a great number of people, from all parties and none, share this abberation. Perhaps, with the greatest respect, you need to learn to listen more and talk less, or at least try to join the argument with more than a “witty” one-liner?

  • volcanopete

    Great win today in Kings Lynn South making North-West Norfolk interesting.No wonder Bellingham is “spending a lot of time in his constituency”.Jo Assato is made of sterner stuff than Paxo.Let battle commence in Norwich North.


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