10 May 2010

Labour leadership mania: Gossip and fiction

Facts are few on the ground this morning relative to what the comrades will get up to later this week

First the gossip.  Paul Mason, Newsnight's economic editor, pushes Michael Crick to one side as he tours the streets of Westminster on Sunday afternoon:
It breaks into two parts. First, even though there is no "coronation", if the David Miliband camp and the Jon Cruddas camp were to get together it would make David Miliband hard to stop. Labour would suddenly have, goes the argument, an Attlee and a Nye. A plausible centrist leader and a leftist who can reconnect with the base. This is being mooted but is not a done deal.

Since Harriet Harman has ruled herself out of seeking the leadership I can see Ed Miliband emerging as a candidate backed by parts of the union movement (eg the GMB) who don't want an alliance with David Miliband. Ed Balls would be backed to the hilt by the existing party machine, Unite and to an extent the "old Labour" left; also the ScottishParty.

The Labour NEC meets on Tuesday and Labour officials are in a rolling meeting schedule until then to decide how to respond if the party goes into opposition. One told me to expect civil war between the Brown "machine" and all those hitherto excluded from it, from the moment the PM leaves office.

All very well, dear boy, but Brown has to resign as Labour leader first, which not the same as him leaving office.

Now we move to Peter Oborne, who has fallen in love with word hyperbole:

Mr Miliband is backed by Mr Blair himself. I am told that Mr Blair's real purpose in returning to join the Labour campaign in the final days before the election was not to secure victory for Gordon Brown but to ensure a smooth takeover for his protege, who worked as his head of policy in Downing Street after the first Labour landslide of 1997.

There's more:

However, I do not share the growing belief that a Miliband victory is inevitable. He may be popular among the London elite - but he can go down very badly indeed among ordinary Labour supporters.

Here is one example. Last Tuesday, on the very eve of the election, the Labour Party held a rally in Manchester at which Gordon Brown spoke and senior party figures including Mr Balls and Mr Miliband were present.

The latter put in a perfunctory appearance, yet Mr Balls stayed behind afterwards chatting, purposefully allowing himself to be photographed shaking hands or linking arms with local activists and trade union leaders.

Nor did he leave until the very last person had been given ample time to make his acquaintance.

And the icing on the cake:

One lethal charge is that Lord Mandelson abused his role as campaign chief to neglect the Labour Party and instead promote Mr Miliband's leadership bid. For example, it is being claimed that the peer was responsible for the extraordinary decision to allow Mr Miliband to travel to Washington to meet Barack Obama at an international summit in the first week of the campaign. Many Labour strategists believe the Washington trip would have been an ideal chance for Mr Brown to display his statesmanlike credentials to the British electorate. Instead this golden photo-opportunity was handed to Mr Miliband. Questions are being asked as to why that was so.

What utter nonsense.  Brown made the right decision.

Watch this space for the facts, once Brown has spoken.

1 comment:

  1. OK

    It is time.

    Can anyone tell me

    1) the postal vote figures in all the Scottish constituencies.

    2) the corresponding figure in the last General Election or by-election

    3) how many, if any, of these postal vote applications were verified, when and by whom.

    I would bet my M & S drawers, if I had any, remember I am fur becoated (hell I could be a secret agent from Edinburgh), that they all came in so fast that none were checked, because the local authorities did not have the enough Unite(d) manpower to carry it out in the given time.

    Given that there could well be a postal vote fraud of significance will the responsible authorities now initiate a retrospective check on all postal voters and publish their findings?