Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cruddas' Side Splitting Analysis: He's Blown It Hasn't He?

Dr Rupa Huq recently witnessed Dr Jon Cruddas making a bit of an ass of himself, predicting a Labour schism and lobbing bricks at Labour lefties from his glass house. An enigma wrapped in a paradox. Where Rupa's writ is mirrored at Labour Home assorted comrades, including yet another PhD or two, take the Dagenham dustbin far too seriously if you ask me.

Protesting too much about perceived slights, possibly worried that these are precursors to a witch-hunt. But they're taking him almost as seriously as he takes himself. Or John Maccy D takes himself. But Cruddas has blown it hasn't he? Refusing all offers of office. A kind of Frank Field of his generation. Parbury also comments.

All three "main parties" could be prone to splits I think under many forms of PR. Regional flavours, not electorally competitive, perhaps; or social libs and conservatives within each; or economic ditto; or some other fault lines perhaps. But no prospect of PR.


Dave Semple said...

I think Cruddas is a complete spoon, but there's no reason not to take him seriously, is there? He and Trickett lead (by virtue of auctoritas rather than position) the group of Compass MPs and wield a fair amount of clout among Compass members.

Similarly with Maccy D: he chairs the LRC group of MPs and is essentially the leader of what remains of the Labour Left (the sort of group which descended from Bevan through Benn to McDonnell). I take that pretty seriously.

My own analysis on Cruddas remarks can be found here (along with protracted debate):

Now, you may say that I've taken it a bit too seriously, but honestly I was spitting mad when I listened to his interview. Not because of anything that he said, per se, but because he is presented as the new man who will help build a more progressive Labour Party.

The utter contradiction makes me furious because I know that even despite this, there's a large number of Cruddasite hacks who will continue to say such things about him being the future of the Left.

I suppose if one is generally in step with the leadership, then it all seems like a storm in a teacup because none of it is likely to threaten New Labour hegemony.

But those of us on the Left of the party actually have a stake in the issues Cruddas talks about - and to have him make a pretence at a representing a leftward step for Labour, then to go on and give that interview, makes many of us genuinely mad because it proves to us that we were right; the same illusions are being stoked up in Cruddas as were stoked up in Blair.

Chris Paul said...

Now you may be taking me too seriously. I think Cruddas is a Blairite who is taking some liberties and being a bit of a free spirit just now. But clearly not a leftward step.

Trickett might be more so. But then again Ken Clarke also voted against the war for instance. Neither of them are very left wing.

But just because JC's got a PhD does not immunise him from saying daft things every now and again. Far from it. He may even believe this schism to be on the cards? or he may just have shot his mouth off foolishly.

I just think that pouncing on every recorded but unscripted remark anyone ever makes is not going to help the debate. It will stop people speaking anything half-formed or developing or half-arsed and sometimes that will be detrimental.

Did he mean it or not? Why does he believe this? Can his beliefs be tackled with arguments rather than assertions?

Maccy D may be a good thinker on the left but my own view has long been that he can - for various historic and intrinsic reasons - never garner enough support within the PLP or the wider LP or indeed LM to be a viable leadership candidate - even if there were a vacancy - and I tend to think we do need to be looking several degrees further towards the centre. But not JC.