Alan Johnson is a dangerous and destabilising influence…
When Alan Johnson was appointed I was horrified and angry and the reassurances that he was merely a caretaker did little too placate me. Now I am mostly just horrified as he does everything he possibly can to bounce the leadership around in its policy making. His latest intervention clearly show that it is a deliberate strategy on his part to throw his weight around in public and, one might speculate, he has probably indulged in a few well timed leaks as well.
I am starting to wonder just who is in charge at the center of this Party and that is not a good sign. Ed Miliband has made a fair few fateful mistakes already but I think the one that will really cost him is the naive assumption that the way to placate the Blairite rump was to give them good seats at the top table. As opposed to shoring up his authority within the PLP its actually given them a scent of blood and that is the reason behind the state of chaos that festers at the core of the Party. Something our opponents have noticed.
The Parliamentary Party, which is quickly resembling a rabble if ever their was one, is a dinosaur of an organisation which simply hasn’t got the guts or political vision to lead this Party anywhere of value. As eloquently expressed here its emasculating the Party and the nature of our opposition with its conservatism. However, despite this it seems to me that the PLP, not the leadership, is the de facto leader of this Party.
This is dangerous for Ed. Support he would have had from the left and center-left will drain away quickly. Put simply, we didn’t vote for this; we certainly did not vote for Mr Johnson to play foot loose with our policy on tax and its becoming only a matter of time before Ed’s support starts to fracture. I predict the first crisis will follow if we fail to win the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.
The interventions of Mr Johnson are however the tip of the iceberg….the weakness of the leadership, its lack of authority and an authoritative vision (ironic given Ed was more than eloquent during the leadership campaign) means it is headed on a collision course not just with the PLP but the wider Party in time; this isnt going to be pretty….