Monday, 17 May 2010

BRITISH Labour leadership election

I may be anticipating events, slightly, as he hasn't actually declared he's in the running for the spot Gordon Brown vacated, but I wouldn't bet against John Cruddas (1). He's got a lot of support in the party as a whole and he's not a Brownite or a Blairite. While he's a leftie, he's not a mad one - he isn't another Michael Foot. Crucially, he's not Ed balls, so if the left of the party is sane enough to realise what a disaster Balls would be, he should get their vote. On the downside, he did vote for the Iraq war but at least has had the decency to admit it was a blunder, rather than try to hedge with jabber about how Saddam Hussein was a bad man.

Just like we had Blair-Prescott as the right-left ticket to unite the party, I can see a left-right Cruddas-Miliband (either Ed or Dave) combination. Might be Cruddas on top, might be a Miliband, hard to tell. But I sense a bit of a rejection of Blairism is in the air. Not a bad thing, as long as it doesn't get too psychotic.

Cruddas also has the HUGE advantage of not having been a minister, and thus isn't tainted by Brownism and Blairism. He hasn't been on TV every night being hateful for most of the last decade. That's got to help.

The new leader will be chosen by the unions, the membership and the parliamentary party, 1/3 each. I suspect Cruddas will struggle to get support from the the parliamentary party, but should do well in with the unions and the general membership. Which encapsulates the problems the Labour party has experienced since dawn of Blairism, pretty nicely.

I suspect a Miliband will be the choice of the parliamentary party, but won't be strongly supported by the unions or the general membership. If that happens, and Miliband (either one) doesn't win, it's likely that the support of his self serving parliamentary cronies will turn his head and he'll get the idea he really should be leader - what does the party as a whole know, after all? - and proceed to undermine and campaign against whoever actually wins. Which will simply reinforce the contempt the current and ex-Labour party members feel for their elected representatives, and will mean membership falls even lower.

And if a Miliband wins outright, that trend towards disillusion and abandonment will accelerate. So, unless the parliamentary arm of the party sorts itself out and stops the sort of conniving behaviour we saw against Brown, we'll could be well f**k*d whatever happens.
1 - "Ed Miliband stands against brother David in fight for Labour leadership," by Polly Curtis and Matthew Taylor. Published in the Guardian, 16th of May, 2010. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/may/16/ed-miliband-stands-against-david-miliband)

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