Friday, May 23, 2008

Crewe, Crewe, Barley Magroo

So Labour stuffed it up, as we expected. They stuffed it up so badly, in fact, that the second place Tory accidentally came first and got elected. How irritating that they should win on a technicality like getting more votes than anyone else.

As Chicken Yoghurt says "The thing is, I can beat my seven year-old daughter at chess with ease but to jump around the room in victory looks, well, a bit graceless." Beating Labour at the height of their troubles is a bit like pushing at an open door. However, when people want to punish Labour they are not turning to the damp flannel Lib Dems but back to the full blood Tories, let alone go for the smaller, more right on, parties (although I'm pleased to say the Greens beat both the "Flying Brick" and Miss UK).

The fact that people are willing to so easily switch their allegiance from parties that were once seen as polar opposites says a number of things. Firstly that "The new brand isn’t much different from the old one, it’s just that All New Cameron smells a little fresher and produces a bit more froth." But that in itself concerns me.

Hidden beneath the anger that New Labour had departed from Old/real Labour policies has always been that layer of voters who thought that was a good thing. Who wanted them to be less socialist, less working class, less orientated on the trade unions. More than that, New Labour persuaded a whole layer of people that it was the right and proper thing to do to desert those Labour traditions. There has been a gradual shift to the right in society, one that is becoming more obvious as Brown's government slowly crumbles and dies.

That means all we're left with is whether Labour are a more efficient, in touch Conservative Party than the Tories. And for a few years they were. But no more. As Harriet Harman said that "people are feeling the pinch". That's right. You for one.

Meanwhile Brown (pictured above, eating an invisible sandwich) has pledged a "clear direction". Unfortunately for him we can all see which direction that is. Down. The question for him is whether he wants to take the Labour Party down with him, or will he do the honourable thing? Because the simple fact is this didn't have to happen. This is not a natural disaster but a Labour Party manufactured one.

Whether it's vicious, idiotic policies like abolishing the ten pence tax rate, having the lack of foresight to get involved in a war that wasn't won quickly and easily or, at the ground level, running a by-election campaign that a school mock election would be ashamed of these are all problems of mismanagement, of poor decision making rather than the inevitable product of the wider political context. That means, in theory, those problems can be turned around if action is taken quickly.

Labour have two years in which to elect a new leader, get them settled in and convince people (hopefully because it's true) that a new program of democratic, economic and social reform is at hand. That means Gordon has to leave now. If Labour don't do that then they'd be better off handing control straight over to Cameron and saying "Tell you what, you deal with this mess, cos we're buggered if know how to."


weggis said...

Isn't that what Callaghan did in 1979?

Anonymous said...

But what should the Green Party be doing?

That is the question.

In about 100 weeks time there WILL be a Prime Minister - either Labour or Conservative.

What is the GP doing NOW to avoid being squeezed into irrelevance?

Will there be a single leader?

How will they be funded?

Will the GP go down the road of the Green Party of Ireland?

The Texas progressives Jim Hightower had a book out last cycle
with the title" Theres Nothing in the Middle of the Road Except Yellow Lines and Dead Armadillos"

Quo vadis GPEW?

Jim Jay said...

Will there be a single leader - yes. We should have elected the new leader in September / October.

What are GP doing? Well, in places like Norwicha nd Brighton we are on course to get Green MPs elected for the first ever time and by pushing an alternative set of policies in a constructive way we hope to how that there is an alternative to the two headed monster of mainstream parties.

Of course some of this is a problem that will just be an objective fact for us - and whether the next GE is fought on favorable terrain for us is down to us and factors outside our control.

By the Ireland analogy I'm assuming your asking if our two Green MPs would go into coalition with the Tories. I think that's highly unlikely.