Friday, April 28, 2006

David Miliband and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Is there actually anyone competent left in the Labour party? Currently David Blunkett (twice), Hilary Armstrong, Estelle Morris, Peter Mandelson (twice), Keith Vaz, Stephen Byers and more have already been forced to resign. Tessa Jowell, John Prescott, Charles Clarke and Patricia Hewitt have disgraced themselves enough to warrant resignation if the allegations that Prescott did more than just sleep around are true.

That leaves Tony Blair (who's promised to leave), Jack Straw (why?), John Hutton (who Brown clearly dislikes), Margaret Becket (why?), Alistair Darling (dull), John Reid (should really be a bouncer), Geoff Hoon (demoted for a reason), Peter Hain (dull), Ruth Kelly (hasn't there been an education scandal yet?), Hillary Benn (is the country ready for another Benn yet?) and Des Brown (who?) in the Cabinet and not proven liabilities. Hardly the most inspiring of lists.

Perform a similar experiment for the end of the Major years and you had Ken Clarke, Michael Howard, Michael Portillo, Malcolm Rifkind and William Hague all left with sufficient credibility and substance to later make leadership challenges. Like them or loathe them they were national figures none of whom had done anything worth resigning over. Probably the closest to such notoriety was Michael Howard thanks to the Paxman interview but I doubt that any of the current Labour scandals will be looked back on as such non-events. Perhaps Alistair Darling could mount a John Major style dark horse ascent but I doubt it. None of the names in the Labour list look like they are going anywhere despite their being ministers and, hence, those you would expect to become national figures during Labour's long stay in government.

Given that we still, theoretically, are a country of cabinet government where a Prime Minister is only the first among equals it is important that Brown have impressive figures around him. He is hardly the magnetic political personality required to carry a government alone. How on Earth are the Labour party going to build an impressive government with such an unimpressive set of ministers? Granted there are Brownite back-benchers sure to be promoted but they will be establishing their national reputation pretty much from scratch.

Of course there is one name in the Labour cabinet I haven't mentioned yet. Ask a Labour supporter to name someone impressive in the parliamentary Labour party and they will almost certainly give you one name; David Miliband. David Miliband is apparently a "thinker" and the great hope of those still attached to the Labour party. This Observer article gives a decent account of what the Blairites think of him.

What does this mean for the Tory party and blogosphere?

We have ourselves a target... being local government minister hasn't he, just once, offered to alter the funding formula in favour of the local council which paid the most into his Tuscany fund? Being a Labour minister surely he's paid an illegal immigrant he met in a Carphone Warehouse to come back to his house and choke him while he touches himself?

We need to find out... get to work people.


Serf said...

Surely you have it wrong.

Brown is the run away favourite in the leadership contest. We need him to have a credible opponent so that there is a good chance of a horrible leadership election.

So leave his opponents alone.

Dave Cole said...

Because, of course, the interests of party come first and it is imperative that one wins at all costs. It would be ridiculous to hope for an internal debate in Labour over the future direction and we don't care if other parties have functioning democratic processes.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Brown will win and I certainly don't think he will be unopposed. I forsee either Milburn or Milliband running against Brown and beating him. In any case I (thankfully) forsee another Labour victory.

How can you claim that William Hague or Michael 'something of the night' Howard were well known credible figures. I can't understand how you Tories still revere them - I mean we might have elected Michael Foot in 1981 but we didn't bring him back in the late 1980s a Foreign Secretary.