Golden Brown and collaboration?
I have to admit Gordon Brown grew on me as a leader despite obvious flaws he obviously did his best and the way he was treated over issues such as his handwriting by the media and bloggers like Guido Fawkes was appalling. You might therefore expect me to welcome the news he will be speaking at this years Labour conference.
However, I think it’s a dreadful mistake and whoever thought it was a good idea is shall we say, a little lacking when it comes to political strategic thinking. The whole point of this conference is to renew and, of course, to crown a new leader who will use it as a platform to suitably impress the nation. Having the political equivalent of Banquo’s ghost attending the feast therefore does not seem like a terribly cleaver idea. In fact, it’s a monumentally stupid idea. Strategic thinking at the top of the party is still dominated it seems by factional interests because while Brown has rightly stepped back from frontline politics, Charlie Whelen still very much holds court and obviously wants to maintain his influence.I would be happy for Brown to speak at any future Labour conference however this is defiantly not the right one.
Meanwhile, Alan Milburn has joined the ranks of John Prescott’s ‘collaborators’ . While Milburn isn’t being a model of loyalty to the Party it is perhaps worth noting that as an ardent Blairite in joining with the Liberal Democrats and the supposedly more ‘moderate’ wing of the Conservatives he is probably being basically true to what he believes and is following the logic of his own politics to its natural conclusion. In fact, the problem with a ‘rainbow coalition’ with the Liberal Democrats in the first place is that it is the logical realisation of the Blairite project. Given the fact that Milburn is showing loyalty of a fashion (to what he truly believes) I find it hard to be as harsh on him as Prescott who seemingly and conveniently would like to ignore the fact that it’s Milburn’s Blairism which made this a natural move. I am sure in a changed Labour Party the influence of these people will diminish as a natural course in any case so my wish is bon voyage; do not pass go and defiantly do not select these people for safe Labour seats.
All of this should be in the past but one of my major fears; especially given the Brown news, is that Labour simply will not be able to let-go and if it is to move forward it has too. Not only do we need to let-go for the sake of the Party but also for the sake of the country which more than ever needs a strong, coherent and effective opposition; not one sitting in a darkened corner licking its wounds tormenting itself over its past defeats.