This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Monday, 4 May 2009

An Inconvenient Truth

The last few days have seen further speculation about Gordon Brown's position as Labour leader. But interventions from Stephen Byers, Charles Clarke, David Blunkett and now Hazel Blears do not mean the "tectonic plates" are moving.

It is certainly true that the last week has been another horrendous week for the government - since the last one.

For Brown to place himself on the wrong side of the Gurkha issue just defies belief. Sometimes in politics there are clear rights and wrongs. And this issue was one of those. To hear Brown try and wriggle out of it, with a few weaselly words about the financial implications of resolving the issue, was utterly embarrassing and shameful.

But not only did he get the decision wrong, he managed to force the opposition leaders into bed with one another too. Hardly the evidence of a masterful tactician at Downing Street.

But Hazel Blear's comments this weekend are potentially the most serious. And I agreed with them 100%.

As an authentic Labour voice and one of the most impressive members of the Cabinet, Hazel Blears is more qualified than most to tell the Party a few inconvenient truths. She is right to argue that the Party needs to step up a gear and remedy its "lamentable" failure to get its message across.

Like me, she must be exasperated with the Prime Minister's seeming inability to demonstrate any emotional intelligence whatsoever. He seems to bumble from one crisis to another without even demonstrating the wily cunning of Harold Wilson, who was often deeply unpopular, but managed to survive because he was good at the game of politics.

All too often, Brown gets the decisions wrong and the politics wrong.

However, barring the odd display of strength and leadership ie the G20, some of us have been saying all of this for well over a year. And yet, we are still in a worse position than we were a year ago.

What I cannot excuse are those Labour MPs who have already resigned themselves to losing the next General Election and are therefore not doing anything at all to change the situation. They don't appear to care that the Conservatives are heading to a landslide victory and many of the programmes and policies that we sweated blood for will be overturned or neglected. Burying your head in the sands is not going to place Labour on the right side of a General Election victory.

And I think this is why Hazel Blears made the comments she did. I don't believe she intended to fuel speculation about a leadership challenge. She is too loyal for that. But I think she did intend to kick start a debate in the Party and force it to face some uncomfortable truths about what we are doing and where we are heading. For this she deserves our support and congratulations.


Anonymous said...

hear, hear

Andrew Williams said...

oh Alex. You and Blears - you're like two peas in a pod

Anonymous said...

So where is your 'authentic Labour voice' now, since she has been revealed as a (capital gains) tax avoider and no different from the Tory grandees who play the system for their own personal benefit?

Alex Finnegan said...

See next post...