Saturday, February 21, 2009


Here we Go With Another Dance Around the Labour Leadership Issue

As a Labour supporter-not an easy thing to be right now- I regret the stories about jockeying for power and so forth but it's also, as a teacher of politics, kind of reassuring that politicians-remember the extended Tory bloodbath?- seem always revert to type given requisite situations. Yesterday the pint sized Hazel Blears issued a stern warning to colleagues to stop 'positioning' for the leadership as this would turn voters off. Too right it will: as Lloyd George said: 'You can't make a policy out of an argument'. So who is doing all this political placement?

Well, Hariet Harmon for one, John Cruddas for another; maybe Ed Balls and don't rule out the person telling them not to. Blears showed her ambition by fighting a vigorous campaign for the deputy leadership last time around. Personally I'd not go with any of them, especially not Harmon or Balls, but I'm sure there are others keeping their powder dry; don't exclude Jack Straw, a relative 'greybeard' but still ambitious and widely seen as 'safe', even 'wise'. Add to him Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and some of the other candidates for that deputy leadership, excluding Hain, whose future career must be now as an MP not as a party leader.

Two things now seem to be undeniable aspects of political reality. Firstly, there is no time available to remove Brown from the leadership before the next election. Secondly, a Labour victory has to be regarded as a scenario envisaged only by the most defiantly optimistic of my fellow supporters. So the manoeuvering relates to the post 2010 Labour Party, when it is licking its wounds and contemplating the size of the hill, sorry mountain, it has to climb before it can get a sniff of power once again. Lots can and will happen before then but my punt on the best (and, yes, most likely leader) is the above mentioned former postman, Alan Johnson.

Don't worry, my predictions are usually wrong,[though, to be fair, I did win the pub sweep last Saturday for predicting the final score in the England - Wales match]. But I do have to agree with John Harris in today's Guardian: why is it nobody has any ideas on how to solve the chronic current crisis in 'neo-liberalism'?

Bill, the Tories removed Thatcher only 18 months before a general election, which Major went on to win. .. so I don't think it's too late. However, I suspect most of the candidates you mention (except Straw) would take one term in opposition whilst Cameron cocks everything up with a small working majority - and then return with a fresh government as the country comes out of recession. Taking the leadership now would be a poisoned chalice indeed.

Of course, the Blairites will gather around the likes of Purnell, clinging on to some romantic vision of New Labour under Blair. Best thing for them is to bugger off to the SDP... ooops, sorry, Lib Dems.
Don't think you can compare 1990 with 2009; isn't it 1997 which offers the best comparison? Are you sure, for example, that voters would prefer to trust Labour to solve the economic crisis rather than Cameron and co? All t hye polls suggest otherwise by huge margins. While 1992 was a time of depression now is a much bigger deal and I fear Labour is picking up the blame whether deserved or not.
Rather reminds me of the last days of the Third Reich really. Brown has as much chance of winning the next election as Hitler had of winning WWII on 29 April. The tanks are at the gates of number 10and yet the minnions crowd around jockeying for position. Why?!

Maybe they could turn it into a musical? Brown as Hitler(obviously), John Prescott as a rather befuddled Hermann Goering. Harriet would have to be Hannah Reitsch, although at least Hannah had loyalty if nothing else. Ed Balls was made to play Himmler. The only difficult part to cast would be Speer, because he was intelligent. Cherie Blair could do a walk on part as Eva Braun, provided we used live ammunition...

They can elect who they like, the nation has stopped caring long ago. They are out at the next opportunity, and I will enjoy seeing them take a right tanking in the process. I don't even know why they are bothering. They obviously have no idea of how to get us out of this mess that they took the nation into. This lot are heading for a lot more than a term of opposition. To quote a hero of their student days'(and he should know about defeated legacies), "Go out where you belong - into the ash heap of history".

The British nation can only hope that Brown repeats the trick and blows his bloody brains out. Who says gun crime is all bad eh?
I think the polls on Labour or Con to solve the crisis will come back our way. And indeed that Brown's own stock will rise again.

And I think it's pretty rich for Hazel to be telling people to back off. She is no Brownie. But she is capable of being a plotter.
Only too true re Hazel. I think she's only speaking out in order to draw attention to her possible candidature.
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