Sunday, 25 May 2008

Navigating through the gossip and nonsense!


Well the weekend papers have gone to town, as they were always bound to. Depending on what you were reading this morning, you'd now be thinking that almost any MP was on the verge of some stalking-horse or serious challenge.

The Observer has it that Brown will be urged to bring potential rivals (Miliband and Purnell are named) under his wing, appointing a Deputy Prime Minister alongside, presumably, some sort of reshuffle. Comment in the same paper suggests Miliband, Purnell, Straw, Johnson - even Cruddas - as potential challengers.

The Independent takes the unlikely Cruddas story further, suggesting that he has been approached by Charles Clarke to be a stalking horse, supported by 'left' (sic) and right. The paper reports Cruddas turning down the offer, but leaves a hint that he might change his mind. They have Cruddas at 10-1 to be the next leader (behind Balls at 8-1). They still have Miliband as the favourite. They also report Denis Healey comparing Brown with Michael Foot, and there is a dreadful piece by John Rentoul praising those few MPs who nominated neither Brown nor John McDonnell and suggesting that the likes of Miliband and even Blair betrayed the true path of Blairism by nominating Brown when they did. He ends up listing the usual suspects (all of whom nominated Brown) as the potential saviours.

The Times, in contrast, reports that Miliband is 'ready to go' but doesn't want to wield the axe himself. (Perhaps this ties in vaguely with the Independent story - Cruddas, if he were to accept Clarke's invitation - being Miliband's stalking horse after delivering the MPs of the 'Compass Group').

The Mail gets into more fanciful territory still: Cruddas to stand as Balls' deputy, and so and so on.


All of this doesn't get us very far. All the papers also include every single one of these stories being denied by all parties.

Are they all rubbish? I don't suppose so... There'll be a crumb of truth here and there. What I think it mainly shows is what lots of backbenchers and parliamentary researchers are prepared to say to journalists off the record, rather than what the various people mentioned are really doing and saying themselves.

But it all comes across as so shallow and pointless. In many ways it compounds the problems of the last few weeks and could confirm in people's minds that we're not serious and don't have the answers to their concerns.

All this personality stuff, the plotting, the whispers, is rubbish. It's about the policies or it's about nothing at all. Any sort of alliance-of-convenience with Clarke would be ridiculous. Indeed, any action that seems to obsess on the personality of the Prime Minister would be a dereliction of duty.

We need to spend the next two years bringing in decent, progressive, LABOUR policies. I also think it's the closest we have to a fightback strategy; but that isn't the reason to do it. We should do it because it's the right thing to do. Maybe Brown can't deliver those policies; on that basis and that basis alone should any discussions about the leadership be conducted.

4 comments:

Robert said...

What has Cruddas done in life, or in politics, because he is seen now as being left, which must have happened when I did not see it, he has voted against trident and for everything else including the 90 days detention, not the 42 , he has voted for ID cards and voted for anything Blair asked him to.
Then he becomes a left MP, I wonder why.

Miliband is another Blair look alike, why not look for a Thatcher look alike

Curlew said...

"It's about the policies or it's about nothing at all"

Absolutely.

Phil BC said...

Cruddas is just a right-wing social democrat. Which in New Labour today makes him look pretty left.

Robert said...

New Labour makes Thatcher look left