Cruddas attempts to align Labour’s compass…
All the people who deny they would ever dream of running for the Labour leadership are moving into place for the eventuality that the ‘changed circumstance’ of a Brown resignation will leave them open to a sudden change of heart. The government continues to limp on in name only; caught in a curious state of suspended animation, like the condemned before it’s inevitable execution it is contemplating most of all itself and where it went so desperately wrong.
John Cruddas MP is therefore quite right when he says that the government is meekly accepting it’s fate and therein lies Brown’s best hope. Hopefully, from his point of view Labour MP’s won’t start to dare hope that a leader with less penalty points may, just may, be able to salvage at least something. He will also hope they don’t do the math and realise that David Cameron’s Conservatives still do have an electoral mountain to climb. Hopefully, they won’t take any solace from the Financial Times report that marginal, swing seats, are the least hard-hit by the government’s lack of fiscal farsightedness.
Of course, this is the hope and I think it is touch and go whether it is a realistic one; of course, this summer was always going to be plagued by leadership speculation and it is only thanks to the Scottish Executive, Al-Meghari, and the increasing shambles in Afghanistan that we have been spared a daily diet of leadership speculation.
Cruddas purposes a return to Labour’s radical reforming zeal as the solution and there is no doubt that this would perhaps invigorate the core vote; coupled with the febrile atmosphere of change that would accompany a Cabinet-sponsored regicide of Brown. The notion, that James Purnell propagates in his reply, that all this would be counterposed to a ‘electoral coaltion’ is, of course, complete rubbish. Broad electoral support exists for the notion that higher income earners should pay more in taxation.
Such a realignment would slay us and make the nightmare ‘squeeze’ scenario very real and it would force some serious questions to be answered about what direction our compass points in. Questions which The Fabian Society already asks although some of its points are misdirected (support for the Child Trust Fund which is one of their favourite hobby horses) I think it is basically fair to say that against the program put forward by the likes of Cruddas, Nick Clegg’s ‘aspirations’ have little to offer the progressive voter.
It bears constant repetition; we cannot self-declare ourselves the progressive party when all we offer people are vague aspirations. Although Cruddas & Co are not likely to get anywhere close to a leadership spot this side of a massive electoral hammering that does not mean that we can take what they offer lightly.