Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Labour leadership challenge: too lame, too late

Y'all will have heard Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have called for a leadership contest:
"In a dramatic move that could see Labour plunged into a leadership contest just months before a general election, Geoff Hoon, the former chief whip, and Patricia Hewitt, the former Health Secretary, have called for a secret ballot on Mr Brown’s leadership. They have written to all Labour MPs, asking that the leadership question be resolved "once and for all".
I suppose it counts as drama in the post-festive season when fuck all is happening but I'll make an early New Year's prediction and suggest that this will come to nothing. They're calling for an election now? When Blair stood down, they could have had an election, but decided on a coronation instead. Then, when King Gordon turned out to be merely grumpy and Scottish, rather than more competent, more socialist, more...whatever people like Polly Toynbee expected him to be - the odd tantrum apart, they did nothing. Nobody in the party had the balls on either of these occasions - so why are we expected to see them emerge now?

Hoon and Hewitt have been described in various places as 'unloved' in the Labour party. This is because they are unlovely. Not very nice politics and too late. Oh how late they are. People have been rightly critical of New Labour and their triangulation 'Project'. But they had one virtue that 'Old Labour', or whatever you want to call the self-proclaimed keepers of the social democratic flame, do not possess: they thought government was better than opposition. It's the wing of the party that takes the opposite view, the wing that prefers the purity of opposition, that is in control of the party now - despite how much they may complain about it, despite their protestations that this isn't the case. This is why I'm confident that Brown will keep his job - and will subsequently lead his party to electoral oblivion. And this in the face of such an unworthy enemy!

This is perhaps an overconfident prediction for which I'll be made to look foolish for making. I hope so. But I'm looking at the sort of people who have been rushing to Brown's defence, and I despair. Take former IRA supporter Dave Osler, for example:
"As a zealous young Bennite in the early 1980s, I got used to being told that my brand of politics was disloyal, divisive and factionalist."
Really? Was there no-one on hand to tell you that your brand of politics was merely stupid, being both electorally and economically illiterate? It would seem not - and there's the problem Labour has to this day. Bennites preaching about loyalty and demanding it for a man who showed none to the Prime Minister under whom he was supposed to be serving? This is why we're all fucked.

Update - It's 10.27 and I'm liveblogging this gripping drama: Oh, there's fuck all happening. I'm going to watch Newsnight and run a bath...

11.05: Drama! My sponge has gone all squiggy in the middle!!!! You know that way it goes with overuse? This piece of information is more interesting than the 'coup' attempt, which even by the standards of recent putsch attempts in the PLP is some boring-ass shit. Someone once said that one of the most overused phrases in the English language is, "Things can't go on like this". Ah, but they can.

Nite. x

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