The Thick of It


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Labour's future

Does it matter whether Labour's next leader is put in place through coronation or contested election? A contested election between feasible candidates, not John McDonnell or Michael Meacher from the left of the Party.

Yesterday's 2020 Vision "announcement" from Milburn and Clarke adds a further to the debate. The main problem is not whether or how Gordon Brown should take over the leadership. The problem is that Blair rather stupidly stated that he was going to stand down at a point in the future.

I've always been a far stauncher Blair supporter than most, but when he said that he was going to stand down it would have been better for the Party if he did so sooner. Dragging the whole process on for months has left Labour with an "empty chair" crisis.

That aside, we have a leader to elect. In 1992 John Smith was always going to win the leadership election (beating Brian Gould) and in 1994 Tony Blair was always going to beat John Prescott. I don't recall there being any problem with that. If there is one candidate clearly stronger than anyone else what is the problem with that?

Perhaps much of the discussion has been caused by scepticism of Brown. Those who don't want him as leader say there is a need to debate. By debating you can then propose someone else. Those who support Brown don't see a need for a debate when in their minds the choice of next leader is already obvious. David Milliband has been suggested and I'm keen for himn to be a future Labour leader but I think we should leave it there. In a few years his profile will be higher and the time will be right then.

One thing is for certain, I'm not going to be voting for McDonnell or Meacher.


Colm said...

What about the (terrifying) prospect of John Reid?

Timmymc said...

In some of my more bullish moments I think he would be a good thing. He could attract all the Tory voters but at the same time he might scare off the natural Labour voters.

Having met John Reid several times I have to say that he comes across as a really nice bloke and very able.

He is also teetotal after having a booze problem back in the day.

Islington Political said...

Did anyone else notice that Alan Milburn's name is misspelt on the mainpage of the 2020 website?

Is this a serious initiative?

I have no problem with Brown at all. Blair and Brown together have dominated world politics. If you can't have both, have one. But a proper election will put Brown in a much stronger position.