Thursday, February 08, 2007

A real vote-winner, Charlie

Writing in today's Daily Telegraph, Toby Helm reports that Charlie "No Trousers" Clarke is advocating the abandonment of Labour's historic commitment to providing free education and health care and the introduction of "some level of charging" for public services.

Fair enough, you might think. Such issues have to be debated after all, and Clarke is a backbencher with complete freedom to speak out. Except that in the very next sentence, Helm goes on to write that Clarke's comments "will be seen as a pitch for the Labour leadership against Gordon Brown."

I've always rather rated Toby Helm, but what planet was he on when he wrote this? Can anyone, seriously, think of anything less likely to attract votes in a Labour leadership election than arguing that the National Health Service should no longer be free at the point of delivery?

Answers on a postcard, please....

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The Labour Humanist said...

Oh dear, stuck in the (leader) election horse race frame there. Don't know why Helm had to do it really, that fact that Clarke is flying a kite on paying for public services is surely newsworthy in itself. And anyway, as you say, electoral death if he had any leadership pretensions - which he does not.

UK Daily Pundit said...

Can anyone seriously think that a prize idiot like Clarke has got even a smidgeon of a chance of getting the leadership? He has to be one of the biggest buffoons in the Labour Party.

Paul Linford said...

Well, if it wasn't so stupid it would be funny. But the truth is, even though No Trousers would struggle to get 10pc of the vote against Brown, he could inflict real damage on him by making him look "Old Labour," and that would only benefit the Tories in the longer term.

Anonymous said...

This is not brave politics this is stupid politics - STUPID, Stupid, stupid!

RedEye said...

It's brave in the same sense as 'courageous' as used by Sir Humphrey Appleby (ie suicidal).

If we're going to have charges in the NHS, why not have a tax on those who eat two pizzas in one sitting, thereby contributing to the obesity epidemic?

Another millstone round the Fat Controller's neck in the Labour leadership race will be the marginality of his seat (once a safe Labour one, lost only in 1983). Had he been selected for Staffordshire Moorlands (a Labour marginal, where he came second in the 95 selection contest), he would probably have ceased to be an MP two years ago. The smaller majority there would probably not have been able to withstand his talent for making enemies and alienating people (like the time he allegedly referred to two female journalists as a pair of c**ts - within their earshot).