Thursday, June 12, 2008

Labour should stand and fight

The talk is that Labour is set to piss on David Davis's bonfire and emulate the Lib Dems by refusing to run a candidate in the forthcoming Haltemprice and Howden by-election. This would be a serious missed opportunity for two reasons.

Firstly, it presents a chance for Gordon and the party to take a stand on a serious issue of principle with very little political risk attached. The attitude should be: "If David Davis wants a debate about terrorism, let him have one."

The worst than can happen is the part will lose the by-election - which everyone expects it to anyway - but if it's true that Labour is closer to public opinion on this issue than the Tories, they might actually do much better than anticipated.

But there is a deeper, more devious reason why Labour should play along with Davis's game for now - because it is not in fact in Gordon Brown's political interests for the former Shadow Home Secretary's bonfire to be pissed on.

In fact, if anything the Prime Minister should be busily pouring petrol on the flames. The more publicity that Davis's by-election stunt attracts, the more awkward it will make it for David Cameron

I'd even go so far as to say it's a win-win situation for Brown. Either Davis does worse than expected, which will puncture the Tory revival, or he returns to the Commons with a thumping majority to make more mischief for Dave.

It is clear to me from DC's coments about the "permanent" appointment of Dominic Grieve that he does not intend to bring Davis back into the Shadow Cabinet, which is even better news for Labour.

Not only has the Tory frontbench now lost its star performer, but he is set to return as a Michael Heseltine-type figure on the backbenches. Gordon will be a happier man tonight.

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MorrisOx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MorrisOx said...

Events, dear boy, events...

DD has always had loose cannon tendencies, and bear in mind that he has never been Cameron's man.

The question for DD is whether he now considers himself a party man.

I once bumped into DD en famille at a zoo in Yorkshire. He was near the baboon enclosure, and one wonders whether he spent too much time there.

Anonymous said...

Brown would even manage to screw up a win-win situation he's an absolute loser.

Anonymous said...

Agree Labour should fight it - I'd go one step further. Brown should break with convention and go to Yorkshire for a town hall debate with Davis on the issue. Whatever the outcome, it would show Brown regards Davis as a serious politician of substance - and leave Cameron looking lightwieght in comparison. The Tories will then have two years torn between the Boy King or the Prince across the Humber

The Half-Blood Welshman said...

Brilliant post. I was starting to think that every Labour poster had gone as mad as the leadership on this issue of fighting Davis!!!

They have nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain by fighting him - not least the fact that if they can win, or even seriously cut his majority, it will give them democratic legitimacy and make it much harder for the Lords to block them come the autumn.

But as post no. 3 noted, Brown will probably screw it up out of sheer ineptitude anyway.

Anonymous said...

After the interview he gave yesterday, perhaps Brian Cox should stand for Labour

Yellow said...

I think Kelvin Mackenzie can say all the things they want to say without actually involving them and so I think they can just let him do it.

They could also just field a candidate to fight as "Labour because they're better than the Conservatives" and let DD and KM slog it out on 42 days

That would also work, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

It is surely in the interests of the Tories for Brown to be Labour leader at the next election.

If that is the case, it seems to me, anything that changes the angle of attack on Brown (and briefly relieves the pressure) makes it less likely that they face some more attractive leader.

It goes against the conventional wisdom, but Davis may have done the Tories a favour.

Anonymous said...

You expect Gordon to actually fight an election if he doesn't need to? that would be totally out of character. You want Kelvin MacKenzie whose attitudes make Alf Garnet look reasonable to represent Labour's point of view? I don't believe it!