Labour Leadership

May 25, 2010 – you can see how much support each of the candidates have.

And it looks like the PLP are not as mad as I thought.

Ed Milliband is far and away the best communicator. He will be the David Cameron of the leadership set – unknown by the public now, but come his first conference speech, everything changes. He’s intelligent, he engages with supporters, he seems to care. Mind you I don’t know what any of his policies are. Bit like David Cameron in his own leadership campaign then.

Ed Balls hasn’t even got his wife to nominate him yet. I don’t rate him highly, but he is probably the second best communicator of the lot.

David Milliband is shocking on tv, he’s nervous and doesn’t think well on his feet. And I’m sorry, but if it’s true that he thinks that Labour have been ‘punished enough for Iraq’ then I don’t think he understands the human cost more than the electoral one.

Diane Abbott won’t attract votes from ‘ethnic minority’ or ‘women’ MPs, as if there were enough of them anyway in the PLP, rather she will attract the votes of crazy people. How she can say all the candidates ‘look the same’ and expect to be supported beggars belief. She doesn’t have an automatic right to be on the ballot paper just because shes a woman, or because she’s black and its patronising to suggest otherwise. Obama wasn’t elected because he was black, but because he was the best candidate.

John McDonnell – I hope he gets in simply because it will make the race far more interesting and provoke far more policy discussion.

Andy Burnham – so far not really feeling it.

I think Jon Cruddas called it right, whether because of collective responsibility or something else, we have known these guys for so long but we simply don’t know what they stand for, so its hard to call. For all I know Ed Milliband believes we should remove road signs and replace them with wind turbines. That doesn’t matter right now because its only the labour MPs who have a vote for the moment. We can’t really tell until the tv debates who has the best policies.


Women women everywhere

May 12, 2010

Are there going to be any more women in the cabinet? Theresa May being given the women and equality brief in addition to her home office responsibilities doesn’t bode well.

Of course, promotion should be on merit not gender. But there are certain standards the government expects of business, and in addition to the commons there is also the opportunity to draw from or bring them into the Lords.

I am not suggesting Margaret Thatcher.

There are all sorts of obstacles ahead for a coalition which has the word ‘liberal’ and the word ‘conservative’ in it. But watching the press conference today, seeing the amiability between the two leaders, you could be forgiven for thinking it would be far more stable than any treaty between Brown and Blair. Clegg looked a little nervous, sometimes overcome almost, and his eyes seemed to me to light up at the thought of meeting world leaders. He did try to meet Obama once, and people mocked him for it – not so ridiculous now.

No doubt we will be hearing a lot of the new politics narrative. Probably it will be quoted back at them every time a back bencher breaks ranks to criticise the other party, or every time there’s a political scandal ala Blair’s ‘whiter than white’.  But they need to change PMQs immediately, quite apart from the structural changes involved.

LD and Con MPs should be under strict orders not to jeer, not to shout anyone down, not to mock people in the way the LDs have suffered for so long…but not to respond when the opposition makes a jarring claim. Perhaps even to clap their own leader. Many MPs may think that simply to sit there quietly is beneath them, however in the future hopefully acting like children should be beneath them too.

Let it be just the Labour MPs who jeer this wednesday. Then we’ll see the press reaction and how quickly PMQs changes overnight. Lets make it something we can be proud of.


May 11, 2010

Coalitions are great. You get the best of both worlds and you can claim that your party supported it the whole time. Take tuition fees and opposition to ID cards in Scotland.

True enough there are some differences with the parties but they all have one thing in common: they didn’t win. It is the natural thing to do to combine and proceed. How on earth we are going to combine the words ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ together is anyones guess. But there is common ground, indeed the two parties have been less distant in the last parliament than previously. We will not be taking the brain of a pig and attaching it to the body of a goat. Politicians work together all the time. We’ll be taking a paragraph and a chapter of policies and sticking them together. Why can’t that work?

Everyone says theres a Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish precedent. However there is a recent UK precedent too. If you can get a coalition of Brown and Blair then you can certainly do a coalition of Cameron and Clegg.

Mind you , first time in history? I am not sure I trust LD motives for “speaking first” to the conservatives. I still think its possible its a means of justifying their eventual decision to join with labour.

Ok so my whole several part guide to why I’m voting labour thing has kind of stalled because I am having some difficulty with the immigration issue.  I’m more pro-immigration than Labour appear to be. I have concerns about detention centres and dawn raids. Am really struggling with this one at the moment.

But as this video demonstrates I really think there are so many amazing things that Labour has done which we are far, far too quick to forget. Its almost as though we take them for granted. Check it out.

GB’s last hope

May 3, 2010

Save for something really unexpected, perhaps Gordon Brown’s hope is some freakishly wrong bank holiday monday poll backed up by another poll sampled at the same time. If I was the Mirror I would do it.

Bank holiday polls have shown unreliable results in the past – maybe they could put him in first or equal first.  If that happens it might seize the media narrative as previous polls have done and maybe the Lib Dem vote will soften and get behind Brown.

Only fanciful if its wrong!

David Cameron

May 2, 2010

The likelihood is that I will vote Labour on Thursday, unless my pro-immigration conscience gets in the way. I wouldn’t vote Conservative in a month of Sundays. I don’t like their policies and I don’t like their ideology.I believe in a large state as the best central provision for our nation’s poor, I believe in the public sector.

But I will say this for David Cameron, our future Prime Minister, he hasn’t so much detoxified the Conservative party as uh…toxified …the Labour party.

The conservatives were nowhere on the economy when Cameron took over. Now finally, we can at last say David Cameron has had a good recession. Though Brown’s actions with the banks, and subsequent interventions have probably saved our state Brown’s greatest strength has been diminished. Though Labour’s historically socialist ideology was the answer to saving the banks, the Conservatives present their smaller state ideology as the solution to our debt problem, they say that we can’t afford a Labour party. The narrative on debt and waste has made conservative ideology on smaller government go viral. I think the public has softened its position on a smaller state. Unfortunately. The narrative on Brown’s personality has gone viral too. He’s never been able to reframe his grumpy tough demeanor as an asset.

Although I do hope that Labour are the largest party in a hung parliament, with the largest share of the popular vote, I don’t want people to simply disengage with politics for five years because their man didn’t get in. All this mud slinging between the parties is ridiculous. The policies of the three main parties will have an effect on our jobs, our standard of living, our security and our future. But it is not some kind of hardcore russian roulette, with only one missing bullet, that it justifies the extent of the vitriol directed at each of the leaders. If it is, I’m not playing.

Although the Conservatives would be my last and eighth choice for Government, I think they do have an exciting narrative. Granted I disagree with it completely, but they have a vision for localism, debt reduction and a s-s-s-smaller state and bigger society.

David Cameron and those behind him haven’t just made his party more palatable through pr, and electable through joined up policy but he’s made them more interesting. Good, fine. Now whatever you do, don’t vote for them.