Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Ed Miliband is back from his sojourn in Ibiza and must be grateful at least that the expression is not “Your nose must have been burning” because the airwaves have been a-buzz with mention of his name… and it’s a hell of a nose. Everybody has been talking about Ed in his absence and most of it is not very nice to hear. It turns out he was wrong about everything and the shadow cabinet of ‘the nice party’ have fallen over themselves to say so. Well we, the hoi polloi, knew all along but wasn't the party one-million-per-cent behind Ed all the way? Yes, it turns out they were right behind him and pushing him towards the cliff.
On Monday Yvette Cooper attacked Ed on his approach to business. Chuka Umunna did it last week before stepping down from the contest on still-unexplained grounds. Even union-man Andy Burnham expressed disappointment and a recognition that any government needs to keep business onside. And the reason all the knives are out? It seems, at least right now, that the leadership contest will be won by the contestant whose blade plunges the deepest into Miliband’s back. If I were Ed I think I’d just stay away from England forever.
But I thought they all wanted Dan Jarvis to stand? Dan who? Dan the war hero who nobody outside Labour had ever heard of before last week and is now the darling in waiting; the man to lead Labour from the shadows. Except he doesn't actually want the job. Not yet at least; he’s backing Andy Burnham instead. When I first heard about Dan Jarvis I was perplexed. Former Parachute Regiment officer AND Labour man? Surely it’s been a good fifty years since that juxtaposition of allegiances was normal? In Thatcher’s day the armed forces and the police were Conservative to a man. But wait, let’s hear what he has to say.
Oh, I get it now. He’s backing Andy Burn'em because he thinks Captain Scarlett has the greatest appeal to the public and therefore he has the right credentials to lead the party. Meanwhile Red Len McCluskey, true to bully-boy form, is threatening Labour that its financial backing could be put at risk if they fail to represent “the voice of organised labour”. Hmm, I wondwer if there's any particular reason that Unite is backing Burnham? So, Emperor’s new clothes then? Nothing new from labour at all; it’s not about policy it’s about whatever will get them elected; it’s about appearance. Well, they appear to have a bit of as problem then, don’t they?
Still? Hasn't anybody read the instructions?
You see, original Labour became Old Labour the moment Blair, Mandelson and Campbell unveiled the ‘bit-like-the-Tories’ New Labour. Then, under Ed, they were sort-of Unite Labour a bit like Old Labour again… almost. But now that Yvette Cooper has been talking about adopting Tory policies towards business and immigration and the deficit, the term Blue Labour is looking likely. But maybe it’s time to finally admit that after whatever branding and re-alignment and new-directional tweaking they decide is necessary to make the party palatable, the only electable name remaining is Not Labour.