The Thick of It


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Labour needs unity - there is an election coming!

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt's letter to Labour MPs calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown's future is self indulgent and potentially destructive. Arguments are always best held in private and voters always take a dim view of political parties squabbling in public. That was the harsh lesson Labour learnt from the 1980s and many in the party seem to have forgotten this.

Less than five months before an election this only damages whatever credibility the Labour Party and Gordon Brown hold. It damages Labour because it shows that the party is more interested in itself than the country. Labour talks about internal issues draws a contrast with the Tories who are claiming to offer practical solutions for the country's problems. It damages Brown because any leader fully in command of his party is immovable. Hoon and Hewitt are saying to voters that not everybody in the part respects Brown. If the party doesn't, why should the country?

I'm happy for this letter to be a Labour suicide note for Hoon and Hewitt but not for the party. Labour needs to remember that the tough lesson of opposition was that only a united party is taken seriously by the public. Secondly Labour needs to remember that appealing to a core vote won't bring victory. Mandelson is right that the working class alone will not bring victory. It didn't in the 1980s and won't do today.

For Labour to appeal to anyone it needs to start talking to the country.

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Thomasbobs said...

this stunt is just a parting gift by two former cabinet minister who never liked Brown.

Current ministers don't think this will last the night.

read what they said here:

Justin Quirk said...

Was just listening to this on the World at One. Can scarcely believe that Hoon is still in a job, let alone that he might have some hand in unseating the leader. Good Economist piece two weeks ago re: the dangers of a class-based campaign. As they pointed out, trying to appeal to working class voters by bashing the rich can easily be turned back into the Conservatives appealing to rich voters by promising to cut the services which they don't use, but the less well off do. Divisive, and not good for the country.

Paul said...

I could not agree more - I have no idea why these two have decided to pour a bucket of horse shitzer over all of us. No, Gordon is not perfect, but there is no reason why he cant lead us to a decent result especially as Cameron demonstrated a capacity for imploding in his first campaign moves yesterday.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

I can understand why they're squealing... but didn't they think of that when Blair stood down? Or a year ago? Changing leaders now won't help much, and could easily make things worse. And who'd want to take over anyway, other than someone who doesn't think he could win if it were held after the election?

Anna said...

This very poor attempt at bringing down Brown will just anger anyone who actually wants Labour to win. Well done Hewitt and Hoon, just as we were doing a great job of getting good publicity for discrediting Cameron's flawed policies and ill-thought out ideas, you go and try to discredit the Party. I just hope they get shot down in flames for their stupidity.

Tim McLoughlin said...

The only people I can see calling for Brown to go are Tories and bitter ex-ministers like Hoon, Hewitt and Clarke. Perhaps there is a pattern there?

Tories want Labour in turmoil for the same reason Labour repeatedly called for an election and-or Major to resign in the early 90s. The only reason was to make the opposition look weaker.

Colm said...

This is all very silly. Why would any credible Labour candidate want the job in this way? Assuming Labour don't win, the individual will be associated with failure by the country and seen as disloyal by the party. All this just to be PM for a couple of months. It will not provide the springboard for a return in five years or sooner.

It would be much better to fight a close election, elect a new leader immediately afterwards, and then regroup to attack what will be a Tory administration with a slim majority. That way we are back after one term off, with all the cobwebs blown away from 13 years of Government.

Obviously winning the coming election would be even better.