Monday, December 31, 2007


We all have to pull Together it is Then

I bumped into a former Labour minister yesterday whilst doing my social rounds and enjoyed an interesting chat. He agreed that morale in Westminster in the party had seldom been lower; Gordon had somehow lost the knack of getting things right and that his too small coterie of mates had not served him well with advice, especially over the event called off on 6th October. But he was not despondent about the new year which he hoped would see a revival of Labour fortunes and a finding out of Cameron's essential shallowness.

He also, in passing confirmed that most of those past stories about Brown-obstructionist, petulant, Stalinist- were more than justified from his own experience. Yet, in common with other Blairites (which I guess he must be)he seems to have taken the advice of Stephen Byers and decided to swallow any bitterness in support of the wider cause. Jackie Ashley today suggests Gordon might do the same. Having expressed my own disappointment with Gordon in this blog on several occasions, I now feel that in my humble 'footsoldier' capacity, I have to do something similar as a new year looms which everyone rightly predicts is going to be pivotal for Labour. Trying to be wholly objective, this is not as hard as I thought it would be:

1. The most recent polls by Yougov and ICM both show Labour only 5 points behind the Tories- not good but much better than the 'meltdown' scenario of 13 points a week or so ago. Clearly the polls are highly volatile at the moment. Psephologists have been telling us this for some time-the result of voters abandoning their close moorings to 'their party'- but hitherto there has been nothing quite like the yo-yoing of this past autumn. Both leads and trailings have to seen for what they are: temporary reflections of a kaleidoscope public opinion.

2. Labour still has a comfortable majority- Major, recall, had less than two dozen after 1992 and this desperately reduced his options while laying him open to eurosceptic rebels.

3. Labour is not bitterly divided as the Tories were under Major. There are no overwhelming ideological issues to divide the party; Blair has eschewed any Thatcher-style 'back seat driving'; and Byers', as we have seen, has tried to call a halt to surviving bitterness from the Brown-Blair feud.

4. Gordon may not have 'plenty' of time to recover, but he surely has enough- up until early 2010 if needs be.

Against this Gordon has to overcome: the government's recent lamentable record of incompetence; Cameron's rise and rise and apparent mastery over him at PMQs (my former minister emphasised how vital this is to party morale); and the danger of economic problems in the new year. He also has to avoid own goals of the kind he has been netting so disastrously in recent months. He could make a start on that by abandoning plans to extend the 28 day detention limit to 42 and ID Cards. Then we might just have a chance, in 12 months time, of contemplating four in a row when the time comes.

In the meantime, make Europe to a better place.

Support Free Europe Constitution and vote YES at!
Grrrr! "Free" Europe? Meaning Balkanised.

On the post itself: If PMQs is so important the LP should promote a comedian from the back benches to be Gordon's PMQs champion. Let him just sit grinning, or better perhaps stop attending this yahboo nonsense at all.
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