Chasing Gillian Duffy…
Sometimes the workings of the inner-mind of the leadership of the Labour Party are truly mystifying and actually quite terrifying. We spent what seemed often like an eternity in government chasing mythical ‘Middle England’ in pursuit of the Holy Grail; occupying the equally mythic ‘centre-ground’ of British politics. This strategy, which has now entirely collapsed following electoral defeat led to a chase across the nether-regions of the political landscape, which was maddening to most members and frequently led to the legitimate question of whether we had any concrete values at all as a Party. You would think it couldn’t get any worse but you would be wrong because it seems the pursuit of ‘Middle England’ has been replaced with the pursuit of well…errr…Gillian Duffy.
It does David Miliband no credit at all that she has endorsed his leadership bid following a privately held tea and biscuit dunking session. In fact, to my mind it confirms some of my darkest fears about the potential character of a DM-led Labour Party. Duffy shot to fame when Gordon Brown famously branded her a ‘bigot’ during the election campaign. Apparently, Duffy ‘feels sorry for Brown’; an expression of sympathy that will probably sound a bit hollow to Brown. Personally, I feel more sorry for Brown because he was obviously dragooned by his aides into returning to Duffy’s house and begging for forgiveness. Duffy was today present at the opening of Simon Danczuks’ – the victorious Labour candidate in Rochdale – new constituency office.
It seems Labour’s ‘core vote’ strategy actually amounts to no more than pandering too its worse, less glamorous and most defiantly less progressive, prejudices and making its un-elected representatives into legends in their own lunchbox. A time did exist when this Party existed to challenge prejudice not to pander too it. Now it seems like our main function is to not just pander to prejudice but to actively invite it over for cheese, champagne and nibbles. If we are to return to ‘value-driven’ policies we need to be arguing with the likes of Duffy and having defeated their prejudice providing them with a hopeful vision of a society transformed not elevating to the status of our ‘ideal’ voter.