Does Britain have a new, unofficial leader of the opposition?

‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest’? I am sure Downing Street and the ivory tower of Tory Press HQ echoed to those calls today, following the intervention of Dr Rowan Williams into high politics today, rightly attacking the democratic legitimacy of the Coalition government. I think Williams was perfectly right and well within his rights to say what he said. However, that is an issue I have aimed to address elsewhere – the above question is prompted by my feeling that there are whiffs of jealously in some of the Labour responses to Williams.

I wasnt really being unserious when I wrote on my Facebook page that part of the problem for Labourites may well be that Williams is more insightful and piercing with his critique of the government than anything Ed Miliband can usually muster. In going straight for the legitimacy argument, Williams has seen and seized the central point and attacked the most strategically important weakness this government has. If only Labour strategists were so gifted and insightful.

Having said that Williams would struggle to be an unofficial leader of the opposition because key constituencies would struggle to support him. I am thinking of left/liberals and left-wingers in general who are mostly at odds with him being allowed a personal political opinion of any kind. However, he will cause serious problems for the government amoung its own key constituencies and this could be his major contribution to the downfall of the government.

This explains the nervous response of Downing Street which ‘welcomed’ his contribution to the debate. A Conservative Prime Minister, already struggling for popularity with his own core vote, can barely be seen to be openly attacking the head of the Church of England. This gives Williams a leeway Labour doesn’t have – his sniping will undermine the confidence of the ‘blue rinse’ brigade that this government is on the right track and may well sap morale. Of course, these people would unite against this attack had it come from a Labour or close to Labour source but Williams successfully executed a sneak attack on Cameron & Co.

So, the answer is no, Williams will struggle to become a new, unofficial head of Britain’s opposition. In some ways this is a shame and in many ways its a poor commentary on the official opposition and its leadership. Having said that however, his voice could be a powerful clarion call to forces that would not usually respond to a Labour one and could well fracture the social coalition that the government rests on – so, he could well have a key role to play in the end of this government and we certainly have not heard the last from him.


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13 responses to “Does Britain have a new, unofficial leader of the opposition?”

  1. gillig says :

    Does Britain have a new, unofficial leader of the opposition?
    No, the leader is Unelected President Van Rompuy and opposition leader is Nigel Farage.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Lol… did I know you were gonna say that?


  3. gillig says :

    Even the war criminal Bliar wants an elected president.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Lol well quite….


  5. Harry Paterson says :

    How contemptible a God botherer has more balls than the Labour leadership. Maybe that’s harsh of me, though; after all, Ed would have a neck criticizing policies that vary in matter of degree only from Labour’s own…


  6. gillig says :

    I suppose that within the narrow confines of British Politics, Labour could claim to be the opposition, but it would be true of only a small group within Labour. One group today is opposing those who believe everything in the hymn book; another opposes those who believe we should all be forced to use the hymn book produced in our glorious factory. Another group opposes the very dodgy hymn books we are currently being sold.
    British political parties are small narrow minded players, evidenced by their vulnerability to criticism from the followers of the mythical being. Labour will be useless in opposition until it can say, sorry we got it wrong , this is what we should have done and this is what we will do if you give us another chance.
    A small group in Labour think it helps their long term goals to ignore the fact that the EU is undemocratic and corrupt. They deny the rest of the Labour Party a voice. Take a step back from blindly following the European Union and look closely at the Pan European Party.
    It is not “proposals” The EU are empowered to carry this out without further consultation or referendums and they are doing so. This spells the end of National Political Parties, including the Labour party and reinforces a one fits all, unelected, Government by Committee.
    With the Greece and the Euro going tits up we stand to lose 20 Billion and rising; add in 12 Billion in foreign bribe-aid and Ed says ooo you are naughty! A riot on the streets and Ed says something about cuts. £6 billion, not even enough to reduce the National Debt. More importantly he speaks ON the street endorsing and encouraging the rioters.
    There is limited space in parliament; we can’t afford to waste it on political lightweights with their ambitions more important than public opinion( Cast Iron included). By blindly accepting rule by a corrupt undemocratic committee and never questioning their legislation Ed speaks for a shrinking minority.


  7. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Well quite Harry, it does say an awful lot and none of it good….


  8. gillig says :

    I demand the customary glib “single issue party” reply.
    I bet you are checking Pan European Parties on WiKi.


  9. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well there is only so many words you can say about this obsessiveness really isnt there?


  10. gillig says :

    Eyes shut, fingers in ears LaLaLa.
    Who do you pay tax too?
    Who makes your laws?
    Who has the right to put armed force on your streets to crush dissent?
    Can you vote for them?
    Can you vote them out?
    If you can’t answer these questions honestly, what value is your political opinion?
    Exactly who should run this country? Your considered opinion please, in just so many words.


  11. darrellgoodliffe says :

    The British Government, errrrr Westminster……the people…..concise enough for you?


  12. gillig says :

    Nope you missed the bit about honesty.


  13. darrellgoodliffe says :

    If you say so *shrugs*


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