Monday, May 10, 2010

Levers of Power

So farewell, then, Gordon. In truth, you were a brilliant Chancellor but an ill-starred PM. Your double act with Tony Blair defined the political landscape from the mid-90's, and left the opposition struggling to catch up. But whereas Tony was always sprinkled with a bit of stardust, your feet were firmly on the floor.

I've always thought that Gordon's greatest crime was not to be a media player - he never came to terms with the limelight that 24/7 news politics now seems to entail. The simplest devices we councillors use to communicate with residents seemed sometimes to escape him. His mix of high principles and a driven personality were better suited to the politics of the 1840's rather than the early 21st century. He is a good man, too good perhaps for the TV age.

Matters seem very finely balanced tonight, after Gordon fell on his sword in the interests of his party and his country. On one level, it's cliffhanging stuff, reminiscent of an episode of the West Wing. The Tories are very publicly wooing Nick Clegg and the LibDems with the offer of a referendum on the AV voting system. Some in my party are saying we should let them get on with it, and what Labour needs is a spell in opposition. I think they're crackers. So, presumably does Gordon, which is why he brought forward his resignation announcement to today.

In truth, whilst there is a chance that Labour can retain power with the LibDems and the Nats, we should take it with open arms. There is too much at stake. It was on that basis that we fought the election - that the Tories would not only imperil the economy, but inexorably turn the clock back, robbing some of the most vulnerable in our society of hard-won gains. Opposition is impotence. However imperfect a coalition would be - and believe me, the idea of cosying up to Alex Salmond fills me with dread - it would be 100 times more preferable to watching the Tories unravel the reforms we have spent 13 years bringing about.

Do I think a grand coalition is possible? Yes I do. Is it likely? Probably not. Nick Clegg is from the economic liberal wing of his party, and instinctively would want to deal with Cameron rather than Labour and a coalition of the left. Still, scroll forward 48 hours, imagine George Osbourne rather than Alistair Darling loose in the Treasury, and appreciate what's at stake.

8 comments:

james said...

I totally agree, those arguing for a spell in opposition are deluding themselves.

The assumption that is a good election to lose - because of deficit reduction measures meaning huge spending cuts - misses the point that the Tories will have no concern about fairness in this process.

It is as if some people have forgotten what the Tories are like.

ex-labour said...

Can't say as a personality I ever liked Gordon or the fact he became the unelected PM.
Nick is correct he was more suited to the 1800's than politics of today, but at last he has had the decency to see the overall picture and as Nick says "fell on his sword" I personally cannot help wondering why he didn't do this 6 months prior to the election as, although wrong I think a lot of people will have voted against Labour due to Gordon not the party's policy's.
God help us if Cleggy makes the ConDemned pact, we will all be doomed for sure.
This could be the very shake up the Labour Party has needed since Mr Bliar resigned that will move it forward and force it to see the error of it's ways in the recent months.

ianh said...

I do recall all to well life under the tories and the thought of that fills me with dread.

To see the lib-dems in a pact with the tories would, in my view, lead to the end of the lib-dems as any sort of force on a national level. Just too many people voted for them to keep the tories out, and they will feel seriously let down by cleggandco.

Equally though, to me the figures for a lib-lab pact just do not add up (unlike in 74)and a fatally week government can only harm both parties.

Therefore, rather than being in a position of strength, the lib-dems are actually in a very weak and exposed position.

Much as it it pains me to say it, over the medium term, it may be better (for labour and liberals) to allow the tories to run a weak and fractured minority government.
This will expose the people to the reality of life under the tories. This would also give time for labour to elect a new leader (hopefully not harriet!) and to sort an agreement with the liberals on electoral reform.

By the time of an inevitable early election both parties may find themselves in a stronger position than at present.

Anonymous said...

ConDem pact likely. I voted Lib Dem, never again if this does infact happen.

Anonymous said...

True Blue says.

I am so pleased he has gone and his sinister gang of Commies has gone with him. He has left the country in a worse state than when he found it. Now let democracy and justice be restored.

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown was an unelected PM? We don't elect Prime Ministers. We elect our own MPs.

Also ditto to Lib Dem voter above. Feel cheated and betrayed and now full of disrepect for the Lib Dem party.

we're all doomed said...

Poor Hurworth, vote yellow get Blue, As one of the last members of the Hurworth Labour Party, just what has happened, How will the next Focus explain this to the Hurworth party loyal.
ConDemned I cannot say I agree with Johno in charge at DBC but WTF is Cleggy thinking???
Answers on a post card to Focus Headquarters C/o 10 Downing St London :(

Anonymous said...

"Gordon fell on his sword in the interests of his party and his country"

Get real! He didn't fall on his sword. He had been defenestrated by an electorate that gave him fewer votes and fewer seatsthan Michael Foot but was still desperately clinging on to the window sill until Lord Mandelson finally stamped on his fingers because Miliband D is now the golden boy.