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

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hewitt and Hoon are Wrong

Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon have made a bad mistake and have misjudged the mood of the Party.

In calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown's leadership, they have not acted in the interests of Labour and their actions are a betrayal which serve no purpose.

By calling for a secret ballot, they don't even have the guts to say what they think - proving their duplicity. It shows unbelievably bad judgement and is another self inflicted wound which will cost us more votes in key constituencies.

But bad judgement is hardly surprising. If ever someone epitomised the faceless managerialism of politics its Geoff Hoon. I wouldn't follow his lead anywhere.

I make no secret of the fact that I have always had strong reservations about Gordon Brown's leadership. I have never been entirely comfortable with his politics or ideology. But there have been many opportunities over the last two years when he could have been removed or he could have resigned gracefully. When James Purnell resigned last June and none of his Cabinet colleagues had the guts to follow, I decided that the issue had been settled and Brown would lead us into the next election. This remains my view.

It does the Party irrevocable damage to raise the issue again now. It gives the Tories more ammunition to attack us with and will demoralise Labour activists around the country. No one ever votes for a divided Party and with only 120 days to go before an election has to be called, it is hard to feel any sympathy with either Hoon or Hewitt.

We must apologise to the British public for letting them down. When we should be concentrating on getting the economy going again, we are instead concentrating on ourselves. We lose our credibility.

That's why Mandelson's decision to issue a clear but muted reaction to the rebel plot was spot on. He said "The prime minister continues to have the support of his colleagues and we should carry on government business as usual."

It was a perfectly judged response - neither a hysterical over-reaction nor a source of further division. Treating it like a 'damp squib' will take some of the sting out of it and close it down quickly so that we can get back to concentrating on the issues and the forthcoming General Election.

Some long term rebels like Charles Clarke and James Purnell, whose judgement I think is right on this issue, have been very clear about where they stand and have always had my respect for that. And history probably will be sympathetic to the rebels' arguments but to do this now on this day - when things were looking up for us - is very bad form and I cannot support it.

1 comment:

Robert said...

And your what in labour, Hoon and Hewitt knew they would not win this one, but just look at whats gone on since, a meeting with Brown ended, with Darling telling us about massive cuts in spending, something Brown had refused to allow, and Mandy is now the new leader of Labour at least while we go into the next election.

Fact is in the end nobody believed Brown about his spending plans, we all knew we would see cuts, sadly he rather lie then tell the facts,