Friday, September 29, 2006
The Manchester Conference: what a relief for Labour!
Instead we had a number of quite good things upon which to reflect. Firstly, Gordon Brown's speech was not cut from the same dull David Davis cloth of last year which some had predicted. He failed to raise many heartbeats but he implicitly made his case to the party and wider movement that his competence and achievements had earned him the premiership. He also made an effort to convince us that he has learned a little magnamimity as well as the need to look outside his own circle for the talent to staff any new administration he might one day lead.
Secondly Blair, the old master, turned it on again and did manage to make the blood run more quickly. With this bravura performance he emphasised to delegates just how vital he has been to their party since he became leader in 1994. Large sections still want him to go but he has reminded them how big a hole he will leave once he has stepped down. I suspect he will have stilled much of the noisy discontent which characterized the late summer and might even be able to strtech his tenure by a few more months than commonly predicted.
Thirdly the supporting acts were good too: Bill Clinton weighed in with his guest speech to underline just how major a figure Blair has been; John Prescott won a fond farewell after apologizing for his Clintonian misdeeds but I just hope his apology to his wife was a bit more fulsome and and explicit than his cursory 'sorry' to the conference; and then we had John Reid, making his bid for leading the possible candidates to Gordon. On Reid's candidature I have written before and tend now to agree with Toynbee that the Newsnight focus group led by Frank Luntz should not be taken too seriously. Reid was shown favourably, making a strong verbal showing while the others' clips showed them being mostly mediocre.
But while Johnson has faded and Miliband is no longer even talked about, Reid is the one candidate who could come though to deny Gordon the premiership. Much depends on what happens between now and May but if terrorism becomes even more of a threat by then Reid's brand of tough-guy in your face Mohammed attitude might just come to challenge a man whose CV still makes him odds-on to lift the crown.
Labour £27 million in the red
Loans for peerages scandal
The Prescott scandals
no - it won't wash
Labour are 'in denial'
and the public will not forget all the scandals, the corruption, and the croneyism
at the risk of becoming a political pundit, I would aver that they will get wiped out at the next elections
1.The Conservatives, during the nineties, I'd argue were far more reprehensible than Labour.
2. Labour are not doing disastrously in polls. In 1992, a few months before polling day the Tories were 25 points behind and still managed to win.
3. Labour are indeed in 'denial' but to no greater extent than most parties are to their shortcomings at any one time.
4. Apart from Iraq, a huge 'apart from' I agree, Labour has been a successful government. I agree perceptions have been sullied by the scandals etc but on past performances, Labour should avoid a wipe-out at the next election. Current polls put them level pegging with Conservatives.
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I send you warm regards and wish you continued success.
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