02 August 2008

Timing Is Everything.

It seems that the best arguments anyone can come up with to...
defend Gordon Brown are;-

1. 'it would be too difficult to remove him'
2. 'the electorate would not forgive us if we have two unelected leaders'
3. 'we would have to call an immediate general election that we would lose'
4. 'we have no money to pay for a leadership election / general election'.
5. 'we have nobody else'

None of these makes a positive argument for keeping Brown, just negative ones for getting rid of him. The 'he has the experience to get us through these difficult times' argument is clearly not persuading anyone and the similar 'successful record as Chancellor' argument is being shot to pieces now his claims of 'no more boom and bust' and 'stable economy' are looking laughable.

The first argument for not removing Brown rests on how Labour's party rules work and these are outlined here by snowflake5.

If Brown doesn't resign, then 71 Labour MPs (20% of the total) are needed to get the ball rolling, then a majority of the membership have to vote for a leadership election, only then can candidates emerge with at least 44 MPs backing them. Then it goes to the electoral college of; union members, constituency party members/socialist societies and the parliamentary party, weighted 1/3rd for each section.

Snowflake argues that a Brown appeal directly to the membership might mean they reject a leadership election. I find this unlikely but if he is right, this would at least give some legitimacy to Brown's premiership after the disgraceful 'coronation' MP's gave him that got us into this mess in the first place. I don't see how a 'strengthened Brown' can be any worse than the present situation where he is clearly heading for a massacre at the election. As Polly points out, her man is now looking finished - nobody thinks he can win the next election. Polly should admit as Jackie Ashley did, that she made a big mistake in thinking Brown was gonna be some sort of inspiring socialist. Wrong on both counts - as I argued on here right from the start.

Secondly we have this argument about 'unelected leaders' and general elections (points 2 and 3). At the moment this is the favourite Tory argument. What gets me about Ian Dale and his ilk are they can argue simultaneously for two different things and get away with it. On the one hand they argue for fixed terms and on the other for elections to be called at the drop of a hat. Should we have a general election if a leader is assasinated or dies of some other cause?

We have a parliamentary system in this country - people elect the party not the leader - there are plenty of precedents of governing parties changing PMs in mid term. Admittedly a party has never done it twice in one term - but so what? Is there even a moral case to be made here - you could argue a lot of people vote for the leader not the party, maybe, but it is not a conclusive argument and there certainly is not a constitutional argument to be made no matter what the Tories think.

I suppose the real argument being made is that another change of leader would not be accepted by the electorate and that Labour would lose a general election if held immediately. Well I am not so sure. Brown's honeymoon lasted 3 months and he would have won an early election if he had had the guts to call it. Who is to say that Miliband or Cruddas or a Denham couldn't engender the same honeymoon in the same short amount of time?

The last point is that we have nobody to take Gordon's place, no-one with the experience. Well maybe 'experience' of the 'new labour' greasy pole is not what is needed. What experience has David Cameron got? What indeed did Blair have in 1997? Yet Blair won 3 elections and Cameron seems destined to win the next. Whatever Brown's experience it is clear that Labour will lose with him at the head.

Miliband poked his head above the parapet, who knows maybe he was just using that article to make an argument against the vacuous Tories, but unless he categorically denies it, a leadership challenge has been positioned for. Brown's attack dogs and bullies have been called of because Brown is scared. He knows there is nothing he can do to Miliband - sack him and there would be a challenge. Brown has already shown once he fears the membership more than our spineless MPs by preventing a proper election. he knows the membership are in no mood to be denied again. Our members are itching for a contest.

Come on you Labour MP's, surely 71 of you out of 356 have spines? Another 18 months of this and there might not even be 71 of you left in 2010! A new face and a change of direction can surely do better than this. It's anihilation in 18 months or give the party a chance this Autumn by letting the members decide, then the public after that. You will need to be brave, but to cheer you up, just think how scared the Daily Mail will be that the next PM would be decided by Labour members and the trade union membership?


  1. Miliband, as I have said before, makes my flesh crawl, but you don't have to concern yourself with my vote, because it's not coming back to Labour. However, if anyone thinks that piece of detritus should be leader, I challenge them to name one policy the man stands for.

    The only reason he is talked about is because of his slippery tongue and his perceived photogenic looks, which I would refute most vehemently.

    Labour is very likely to lose the next election, not because of Brown but rather because of the last ten years, when it did nothing of substance for the working class, embraced every facet of thatcherism, indeed going further than she would have dared, and took this country into two wars on a basis of lies. And as is usually the case when Labour lose, it will be mainly because its core voters will refuse to turn out and vote. They may repent this at their leisure once the tories are back in, but the blame lies not with the voters, but squarely with the Blair, Brown, Mandelson and the rest of that bunch of self-abusers.

  2. TT: When was this magical time of perfect Labour governments? Both Harold Wilson/Jim Callaghan and Clement Attlee were accused of betraying the working class and backing unjust US wars. But of course without these governments we wouldn't have the NHS or the social progress of the 60s and 70s, just as we wouldn't have had the minimum wage, Freedom of Information and civil partnerships of today. New Labour have been more successful at winning elections than any other Labour government. Even Attlee only managed 6 years.

    As for inequality, Labour have redistributed through the tax system over £100bn to the poorest 20% and spent £100bns more on public services. The Tories in government would have took us to a place twice as unequal with a destroyed NHS and public services - this government have stopped that. Ok, wages at the top have rocketed, but short of a maximum wage and an exodus in this globalised age, what could Labour have done?

    Miliband though not to my taste, has personally proposed radical carbon rationing and more devolution of power, Not bad for starters! And at least people he can convey his message across to the public, unlike Brown. He would be a big improvement.

  3. Well said Neil, although I think it should also be pointed out to Trooper that Labour doesn't lose because the core vote doesn't turn out. We lose when we aren't able to mobilise a coalition much bigger than the core vote.

  4. Miliband went to Haverstock, one of those schools that are called comprehensives in much the way that some private schools (and a few comps) are called grammar schools for historical reasons.

    Haverstock is (like, say, the London Oratory) one of those half a dozen or so London private schools which have the effrontery to send their bills to the taxpayer, but which are far more difficult to get into than many an institution with no such brass neck. They are the equivalents of the Lenin High School, Havana.

    No son of the mighty Ralph Miliband's ever went to Grange Hill, and no one from Grange Hill ever went to Oxford by then, although they might have been the intended beneficiaries of the ILEA scheme that took Miliband the Younger there.

    But I doubt even that. That scheme, like his school, was a device whereby the upper middle classes could bill the rest of us for the perpetuation of their privileges from one generation to the next.

    So let there be no doubt why the media, and above all the BBC (which tried even after the last minute to draft Miliband last year), are so determined to enthrone him.

    If they succeed in this, or indeed if Cameron ever becomes Prime Minister (bringing in a Cabinet of at least 19 millionaires, mostly too young to have made it themselves), then no one whose parents had not both the cash and the clout to get them into one of the 50 Oxbridge feeder schools, and who did not proceed seamlessly through Oxbridge to Westminster Village non-jobs for the independently wealthy, will ever again be allowed to become Prime Minister.

    To Auntie, it is a personal affront that 10 Downing Street is occupied by someone state-schooled in a meaningful sense of the term, with a non-Oxbridge degree (more than one, in fact), and whose Scottishness is decidedly not of the David Cameron variety.

    So she will stop at nothing to put things right. She will even install David Miliband in his place. Yes, David Miliband.

    Don't let it happen.

  5. David, According to Ofsted, Haverstock is a fairly average (even below average) comprehensive. So I'm not sure where you are getting your info from.

  6. That's scarcely the point. There are plenty of "fairly average (even below average)" public schools. But look what becomes of their pupils.

    The man is Ralph Miliband's son. Come on, stop pretending that he went to a normal comp. Of course he didn't.

  7. So a below average (in terms of results) comprehensive doesn't qualify for being a 'normal comp'? What does qualify?