Friday, September 12, 2008

Siobhain McDisloyal

I have been as critical as anyone of Gordon Brown's failure over the past 15 months to set out what 12 Labour MPs* writing in Progress magazine term "a convincing narrative." But as I have written in my Newcastle Journal column to be published tomorrow, the Prime Minister - and Harriet Harman - have had some good things to say this week about tackling inequality and social mobility, and the emergence of a "fairness agenda" over the past week offered some small hope that this long-awaited narrative had finally started to take shape.

So to my mind, Siobhain McDonagh's call for a leadership challenge to Mr Brown today is singularly ill-timed and presents a gift-horse to the Tories at the start of a critical conference season for Labour.

If the Prime Minister had hoped to mount an effective fightback over the next two weeks, based around some of the ideas he and his deputy have been airing this week, then Ms McDonagh's intervention this afternoon has probably killed it. Instead, the Labour conference in Manchester looks set to be dominated by yet more speculation about the leadership.

I hope she is bloody proud of herself.

* For the record: Janet Anderson, Karen Buck, Patricia Hewitt, George Howarth, Eric Joyce, Sally Keeble, Stephen Ladyman, Martin Linton, Shona McIsaac, Margaret Moran, Tom Levitt, and Paddy Tipping. I would say that only three of these (Anderson, Howarth and Joyce) are out-and-out Blairite loyalists, so speculation that they are part of a concerted Blairite plot is, in my view, probably misguided.

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Ted Foan said...

Stranger and stranger! Is it a "plot" or is she really just acting because her Sunday morning chats with her constituents tell her that she will lose her seat at the next General Election?

Or, as is more likely, she knows that without Gordon Brown she is more likely to get re-elected and the inevitable defeat for Labour will not be so disastrous, giving Labour a chance of a one term bounce.

Considering the crap economic position the Conservatives will have to deal with and the decisions they will have to make to sort out all of Brown's mess then she might be making a reasonable bet.

Anonymous said...

"the Prime Minister - and Harriet Harman - have had some good things to say this week about tackling inequality and social mobility"

Too little too late, Paul. It's over.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul

mmmm .... or rather mmmm which is mmmm backwards

When are you & your trendy-lefty colleagues going to WAKE UP

This is happening so obviously all around us or are you too comfortable to wake up

Labour has a deeply flawed Leader - unless the Comrades get rid of him, the Labour Party will be deservedly thrashed at the next Election and a lot of the then ex-MPs will lose their seats and find that they are unemployable

BUT this goes beyond Mr Brown's Leadership - it is Labour policies that are so deeply flawed

eg the punitive taxation/national insurance & vindictive over-regulation of Employment that is obliterating UK jobs, as jobs emigrate to China/India etc

eg the Government's excessive spending/borrowing/Enron-accounting PFI initiatives] so that the Government has NO freedom of manoeuvre

The chickens are coming home to roost --- it is still not too late to repent ...... but time is running out

??? When unEmployment goes well beyond 2 million, will you and your colleagues be ashamed of yourselves

Your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Anonymous said...

We should not change our leader now.
We have a recession about to happen. Where is the sanity or political judgement in changing a leader right before a recession. In ecnomic and political terms it is insanity to change now. Any new leader would see even the unlikely honeymoon period some expect dissapear within 2 months. I execpt the recession would see them do even worse. This is not a weak tory oppostion.
Either keep the present boss or wait till after the recession for a genuine fresh start.

Anonymous said...

What I hope is that the conference is not wrecked by rebels who would rather see the hated enemy of blairites destroyed than a recovery happen.
Most people can see the ideal time to change the leader is after the recession not before it. It is like taking a bath before you clean a dung heap, or smome other activity that would be better to have bath after you have done.