Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Take me to your leader

I suppose this is really following on from Alan Simpson's letter of resignation; the bit where he says that the Brown leadership will be worse than the Blair premiership. I don't particularly agree with this sentiment, I do think Brown will be better than Blair but not by that much. I know defenders of the Blairite regime will say things about the minimum wage, tax credits, NHS waiting lists and...well you've heard the spiel a million times before (normally during Prime Minister's Questions), it goes on almost ad infinitum. Now I do not wish to appear ungrateful, but a whole load of this Government's achievements relate, at least in my thinking, to the deficiencies of the Major Government, the hangover from the Thatcher Years and the general state of malaise that was in the minds of Britons in May 1997. Sure this country is better than it was in '97 but after 18 years of the sodding Tories things could hardly have got that much worse, I mean the UK now is hardly a New Jerusalem is it? I do not believe that Blair has been the Prime Minister that he could and should have been, the Labour Party was voted in with a massive mandate to change the country. People were fed up with the Tories, fed up with the corruption, the obsession with money (as Tony Benn correctly recognised when analyzing the British manufacturing industry, apeing Oscar Wilde, that the Thatcherites 'knew the price of everything and the value of nothing') and their totally out-of-touch-with-the-great-British-public persona.
Defenders of Brown, and by God there are shedloads of them, and the more optimistic will say that Gordon is more like 'us'. 'Us' in this instance referring to the rank and file of the Labour Party, the good Comrades who believe, with absolutely no proof or hopeful blind faith, that Gordon Brown is more of a Socialist than Blair. That is like saying I am a better footballer than Stephen Hawkings: I may well be but it still doesn't mean I'm any good. To remind those of us with amnesia, Gordon Brown 'the Socialist' has never voted against any measure introduced by Tony Blair - that includes Iraq, top-up fees, foundation hospitals, Trust schools, PFI and I.D Cards. Gordon Brown 'the Socialist' has also been in favour of the Government not recognising the findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman over the ongoing Occupational Pensions fiasco. La plus ca change, la plus la meme chose?
This brings me to the actual point that I wanted to make about the Deputy Leadership campaign. Paul Linford has done a quick sweep of some Labour bloggers to find out who they were backing for Deputy Leader . I think the general consensus of the results was that they told more of the individual bloggers than the views of the Labour Party rank and file. No shit, really? The point I would make is that does it really matter who is Deputy if Brown is the leader, or McDonnell for that matter? The only worthwhile leadership in living memory (only just) was the 1981 Healey vs. Benn dust-up, which was essentially a fight between the Centre and the Right (Centre being the revisionist term. Contemporaries saw it has a struggle between the Right and Left wings of the Labour Party - little did they know that Blair would do away with Clause 4 and give new meaning to the word Right in hte Labour Party context).
Recently, Sheffield Wednesday appointed Brian Laws as manager; I was pretty happy about this. I couldn't say I was too fussed that at the same time Russ Wilcox was appointed Assistant Manager. Back in the days of boundless enthusiasm, I thought Sven would do a good job for England, I didn't really hold an opinion about Tord Grip (and still don't - actually I don't think I'd recognise him if I walked past him in the street). I would point out that Jon Cruddas does actually seem to have ideas about the role of the Deputy Leader and the importance in re-establishing the link between the Party and the Government. The others don't seem to actually say anthing, and how can they? They're not going to be Leader.

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