Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Labour Leadership: If Brown is Houdini, Who is Harris?

Iain Dale acclaims Gordon Brown as Houdini and claims Tories are delighted by his great escape. But in truth this was an atrocious piece of plotting, mostly involving bitter light weights, some of whom didn't realise that they were!, and though he's a great blogger Tom Harris' petulance is hardly heroic as Iain would have it.

Seems to me that had Gordon Brown been somehow forced to go Iain Dale would likely claim that THAT was brilliant news for Cameron too.

In many ways that's fair enough. It's his job as the loyal-est party man in the blog business to spin what happens in a craven way to the interests of his useless, policy-less, hoon-about, tap-dancing party leader.

The Labour Party leadership issue is finely balanced in some regards. And so is the cost benefit analysis for the Tories. But real life is not made up of a series of replicable experiments. We'll never know what might have been if X, if Y and if Z. You make your decisions and you then work with the outcomes of those.

We cannot run the past again to have Gordon Brown elected in a closely contested campaign against three or four rivals. Or even to have simply smacked down John McDonnell/Michael Meacher MP and/or Charles Clarke/Alan Milburn MP. Any sort of contest WOULD have strengthened his hand. No doubt about that.

We cannot run the past again with the Autumn 2007 Election and Labour Going Fourth for "five more years" from that point. Now can we? And it might have been Cameron winning, and now quite frankly in a terrible mess with the economy and with his big beasts.

And we cannot run the past again without the inappropriate smiling of YouTube gate, or even the "we can keep this recession going" - meaning recovery - that is still lurking in Labour YouTube la la land. Take it down, now! Or re-edit the thing. There must be a take with the correct word surely?

We also cannot run various future scenarios with any certainty now can we?

We cannot be sure what would have happened over the next six months if Gordon Brown had been knifed at this point. We cannot run the future if the pathetic plotters had kept their childish and inept moves to themselves. And we cannot run the future under alt. leader A, B or C either.

Labour of Love was clear. We wanted a party leadership contest. We wanted the right-of-Gordon Blair rump to put someone up. We wanted Compass to have their champion too. Even the prospect of the Brown-McDonnell smack down was better than nothing, though we had our doubts about John's candidacy as he is personally rather unpopular in the PLP and could never carry the day, whatever his policy platform.

Labour of Love is trying to be clear now as well. We are certainly not Blairites, and we're not Brownies either, but we think Brown Must Stay as PM. Preferably to and through the next general election.

The Euro Election arithmetic is almost totally irrelevant. And the statistical illiteracy and innumeracy and analysis of even the clever bits of the mass media, the pollies and the blogosphere is quite staggering at times.

The people who bothered at all clearly treated this election as a kind of opinion poll. Nothing more and nothing less.

Those who did not vote clearly don't give a monkeys who represents them in Strasbourg. Perhaps they don't believe the spin that 75% of our law comes from Europe? Or they believe it is the Council of Ministers that does it? Or they are content with that?

And those who did vote were divided between those who did care deeply, and those who couldn't give a flying fig.

The fact that only 31% turned out and Labour got less than 16% of the popular vote does of course mean that there is, if you like, a mandate of only 5%. But if you're going there why not follow through?

The same goes for the Lib Dems and UKIP. 95% of us are against them too. And the Tories can only muster 9% or so in favour, with more than 90% against them as well. 19% voting in favour of the big three parties. 81% not caring or against mainstream parties taken together.

And delving deeper the loathsome BNP's 6% protest-cum-racist rump is less than 2%. As is the one note Green house gas vote.

Tom Harris hasn't been particularly brave. He's blogged with empathy with some of the resigners, or are they sackees?, over the last week. But in my opinion he's very late, not fashionably late to the Kill Gord party. And very much over-simplifying things.

When he piped up at the PLP meeting Tom knew that the day had been lost for the inept plot. And yet he pressed on and spoke out? Dear me. And then publicised what he had said? Dear me again. Looks like petulance, quacks like petulance, it is petulance! Perhaps he thinks it will help him get re-elected?

Lloydy will have picked Tom to speak as a relatively wet plotter. As we discussed last night. Did he get Sally Keeble too? I know he let Clarkey have his bumbling mouth off.

Tom was relatively wet on Newsnight also. His choice of ties and his haircut have come on by leaps and bounds since 2005 and his first Ministerial outing at conference - perhaps this is his buddy Iain's influence? - but Tom's busily doing-a-Stringer with his parliamentary career.

That outing was in a very dull transport fringe meeting. In fact Graham Stringer was a jolly shining light of comedy on a dull panel. It was that bad. And Tom was extraordinarily dull. To be fair he'd only just got the portfolio a few days before. I spoke from the floor. Suggesting that the hypocritical chancers, the new Lib Dem MPs Rowen and Leech, were going to be making hay from either end of the potential Metro line and that we needed to rain on their parade.

I've still got my "speech" somewhere. Scribbled on the cover of some vital GMPTE propaganda or a Manchester Evening News pull out? Something like that.

Back to business. The fact that what Tom said in a private party meeting, and after the GB horse was back frisking in the Number 10 paddock, is placed into the public domain is not particularly impressive now is it?

If Gordon Brown is Houdini, as William Rees Mogadon claimed two months ago, from whence cometh the top graphic ... Who is Tom Harris? As Fat Ladies Singing goes he be may a flustered Pantomime Dame taking a final bow, rather than a raging Valkyrie bringing the house down.


Matthew Stiles said...

Good post Chris. This Tom Harris guy takes the biscuit. See his posts about Georgina Gould, single parents, 1983 etc
Is he the most right-wing MP in the PLP?

Dick said...

Well, you bought some time.

Anywho - thought you might like this; seems like a few vegetables are an effective debating technique these days - couldn't have happened to a nicer chap!!


Rosie said...

You're off Tom's blog roll, Paul. Have you upset him?

Chris Paul said...

Oh dear. That would not be an indication that the man who says he really felt he had to speak up extends that ruling to others.