Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hain rediscovers his balls. A pity he mislaid them in 2003

There was a time when Peter Hain and the late Robin Cook were close allies, soft-left political soulmates who had essentially reached an accommodation with Blairism without ever really becoming "New" Labour.

By and large, Cook maintained this position throughout his six-year ministerial career, pursuing such non-Blairite enthusiasms as proportional representation and an "ethical foreign policy" before finally deciding that supporting the Iraq War would be an accommodation too far.

Unfortunately, Hain failed to resign with him, at a point where such a joint resignation might have brought down this lying Prime Minister and his pathetic excuse for a Labour Government.

Now, belatedly, Hain has rediscovered his principles, arguing in the New Statesman that the neocon experiment has failed and branding George Bush "the most rightwing American administration in living memory."

Why has Hain waited till now to say this? The answer, as at least one Jon Cruddas-supporting blog has pointed out, is that he is standing for Labour's deputy leadership and is trying to reposition himself as an anti-war critic within the Cabinet.

But in my view, he could have had himself a much bigger prize had he joined Cook in opposing the invasion from the start, putting himself in the frame as a credible, sensible left candidate for the leadership.

As it is, I might still back Hain in the deputy leadership election, as I think his views are probably the closest to my own on a range of issues from Iraq to devolution to personal taxation.

But he will only have himself to blame if people who should have been his natural supporters end up backing Mr Cruddas instead.

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skipper said...

I think your implied criticism of Hain is justified. His sudden rediscovery of his principles is too opportunistic to be genuine I reckon. I'd not support him for the deputy job- Cruddas looks better to me.

Bob Piper said...

I agree with skipper. I suspect after June when Blair goes there may be a number of soft 'left' candidates emerging.

Praguetory said...

Paul - I know that you ostensibly sit on the fence, but it is clear you are on the left. Hain is in the hammer the rich school of thought re personal taxation when all the evidence suggests that successful economies worldwide are succeeding by incentivising the rich.

Guido 2.0 said...

Manic had a long conversation with Mr Satsuma in 2004 that he now wishes he recorded. Hain was pretty forthcoming about his opinion of the war... and used many colourful words.

Snafu said...

Peter Hain would be a credible deputy Prime Minister!?!

He would be a total disaster... Try not to be seduced by his perma-tan!

barnacle_bill said...

Hain is tainted by his association with the poodle.
He sold his soul to the devil for the comforts of office.
It is going to need our own version of the Truth & Reconciliation committee when the next election comes to purge Labour of the evils of the poodle & NuLabor.

susan press calder valley clp said...

Cruddas is a chimera.I'm voting for Hain.On Northern ireland alone,he deserves support.