A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

... is not just one of the Smiths' greatest singles, but an accurate statement.

This has to be the worst week I've experienced in politics since the 1992 election.

How has anybody been helped by a series of events that culminated in the public humiliation of the man who just won us a third General Election?

We've probably lost ourselves the next election and put the Tories in for a generation.

We've split the right of the Labour Party and set friend against friend and ally against ally.

The knife has been wielded not by Blair's ideological critics on the Hard Left, or even the Compassite element of Brown's support, but by people who share 95% of his politics.

Gordon Brown, having carefully tried to create a position where he would be the unity candidate of the centre and right of the Party, challenged only by John McDonnell, has now made it almost inevitable that he will face a bruising leadership fight with a more Blair-friendly candidate, and has reduced his own reputation with party members and the wider electorate.

If the only consequence of this would be a few MPs having their careers truncated or losing their ministerial limos in would be sad but not disastrous.

The fact that it means there is more chance that the millions of people who need a Labour Government so that they get decent schools, hospitals, policing, housing and jobs may end up suffering years of misery under the Tories makes it a tragedy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brown will pay for this...and it was a pretty stupid move. Everything is at the same as it was last week...so those 2 days haven't achieved nothing in the anti-Blair's camp. Lots of chaos for nothing. If they've to plot, at least, they can get a lesson from the tories on how to oust leaders, can't they?!
I always thought that Labour Left was strategically inept...but now I realize they aren't the only one.
I've to agree with McDonnell about the behaviour of some MPs who went from being Blair's main cheerleaders to him main critics in a week and, well, not for policy divergences.

Today's yougov was decent (not good, but not disastrous), but the 2 council by-elections held yesterday were a total disaster for Labour (but maybe it's just local factors, but I thin this saga certainly didn't help)

9:33 am, September 08, 2006

Blogger Welsh Spin said...

You've hit the nail square on the head Luke. I'm sick as a parrott.

The one thing this week has convinced me of is that, if it was ever viable, a GB coronation without a meaningful contest and debate is no longer acceptable to either Labour members or to the electorate.

We have long been keen to avoid an internal which would unleash what Peter Mandelson’s famous 1994 memo to Brown referred to as the ‘dark forces’, however I believe if we are to get through this and come out with the new leader having a secure mandate, then a vigorous and robust election is now an essential part of that process. The actions of the Brown camp, whether or not they were triggered by some sort of Thomas Beckett / Henry II suggestion on the part of GB himself, have finally led to a rupture within new Labour whose cracks can no longer be papered over. While I used to look forward to the election to succeed TB with a shudder, I now recognise that, while it may lead to civil war and implosion, it also represents the only real chance for the Party to re-invigorate and renew itself. Put simply, while the divisions of a contested leadership election may be fatal, they might deliver a genuine renewal, whereas I believe a GB coronation that attempts to sweep the divisions under the carpet will be certain to fail and will mean an almost inevitable Cameroon victory in 2009/10 unless the Tories, improbably, implode.

P.S. Well done on debunking the Assembly elections bunkum!

10:15 am, September 08, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write as a Blairite but it is now clear to me that the only way out of this is to elect a post-Blairite leader - not a Blair redux or an anti-Blair one, but someone who will rise above it all.

Sorry, Gordon and John - your time is up.

10:28 am, September 08, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your time has come, Luke. G'wan... put yourself forward.

10:48 am, September 08, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For once Luke, I actually couldn't agree with you more..

1:44 pm, September 08, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How true. It's amazing in the last few days the number of people who have always defended/promoted Brown when I've said I'm not sure have now switched and can now see where I was coming from.

3:16 pm, September 08, 2006

Blogger Peter Kenyon said...

Cheer up, Luke.

All you have to do is join those now calling for Tony Blair to take what he is famed for - a tough decision, reluctantly or otherwise.

In the interests of the country, the party and the country, he should announce his resignation this weekend.

That will enable Conference to focus on future policy direction, tidying up the Rule Book to enable an election to take place, leading to an orderly handover of power.

The Party can then reunite, and rebuild under a new Leader well ahead of the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and English local government elections next year.

Nothing else makes sense.

3:40 pm, September 08, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

All you have to do is join those now calling for Tony Blair to take what he is famed for - a tough decision, reluctantly or otherwise.

You may know something about West London football, but does that qualify you to speak about Labour politics?

9:56 pm, September 08, 2006


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