May Day! May Day! Labour Lunacy Meltdown

Labour MPs are in complete disarray and the Tories in the form of Alan Duncan reckon the Prime Mentalist is “treading rapidly into realms of complete and utter lunacy”.

The thing is, Labour politicians seem to agree:

  • Mandelson conceded: “It is indeed turning into a bit of a week. It never rains but it pours, it seems.”
  • David Blunkett admitted “We are on a treadmill and we have got to get off”.
  • Tony Wright, the level headed chair of the Public Administration Committee says: “It is rather a large under-statement to say that we are in a bit of a mess.”
  • Gordon Prentice said Gordon’s loony tunes YouTube video “was just too horrible to watch.”
  • Tom Harris warns: “‘Governments fall apart when discipline fails.”
  • Bob Marshall-Andrews judges matters thus “He’s had it. He’s finished. The Prime Minister is complete blown chaff… All my colleagues think so too. For the first time in my life I’ve seen them united. They are united in despair.”
  • Blunkett wants Labour to “avoid self-inflicted wounds”.

Meanwhile rumours circulate that Charles Clarke is ready to inflict some wounds by standing as a stalking horse candidate.  A summer of fun awaits…

Purnell : We Can’t End Boom and Bust

Smiling James PurnellJames Purnell won’t thank Guido for wishing this out loud, but when the civil war starts in the Labour Party after the general election, may Purnell be on the winning side.  If he wins a not forgotten Thatcherite aspiration will be realised – we will no longer have a socialist opposition party.

He gave a speech in Chile yesterday setting out how he thinks capitalism should be saved, how it can be more egalitarian and predicting that the next decade will be capitalist.  He also wants less power for the state and politicians –  which all sounds very much like a Thatcherite agenda for popular capitalism.

The coded bit of the speech that struck Guido was this:

People are worried about the extraordinary instability that was bubbling below the long boom of the last two decades.  We can’t promise to end instability.

Who presided over that bubble? Who promised to end the instability of boom and bust? Do you think Gordon Brown will be happy with the speech?

PPS Revolt Threatened Over Post Privatisation

This was sent around Labour PPS’s by Dave Anderson, PPS to Bill Rammell at the FCO. Note he says the issue is as important as the 10p tax issue.

Dear Colleague

In discussion with other colleagues I am aware that some PPS’s share my concerns regarding the proposal to bring a private partner into Royal Mail.

In line with meetings that we had with Alistair on the 10p tax changes, I am hoping to get a meeting with Lord Mandelson and Pat MacFadden and worried PPS’s. I hope that we can find a way forward that is acceptable to all parts of our party and in line with our manifesto commitment.


If you are interested in attending such a meeting can you let me know as soon as possible? My telephone number is 0790 xxxxxx and my email address is xxxxxxxxxxxx@parliament.uk.

Yours sincerely

Dave Anderson MP

Clearly the meeting didn’t go brilliantly…

UPDATE : You have to admire Mandelson’s sheer cunnning. He has just had the first reading of the Post Privatisation Bill a day early in the Lords. former postie, Lord Clarke, shouted “shame on you”. A good day to bury bad headlines.

Dougie Follows Hazel in Attacking Infighting

With Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman and Ed Balls now openly raising their own profiles and jockeying for position, Gordon looks increasingly like a lame duck PM. Dougie Alexander has used the same trick as Hazel of a “speech in his constituency” to release to the press his rebuke to the increasingly sharp elbowing by potential candidates;
“The many party staff I have met this week who, with our members, will be on the front line of that campaign, want the direction and focus of the Cabinet’s efforts to be getting Britain through the downturn and working together to secure a Labour victory. All of us should remember the words from our party’s constitution, on the back of our membership card: ‘By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone.’ When the general election comes, securing a fourth term will be difficult but do-able. The task of securing that fourth term will require unity, effort and innovation.”

It is becoming increasingly likely that the Labour Party is readying itself to dump Gordon, if they do, they will have to have an immediate general election. We can’t have two successive Prime Ministers foisted on the country by the Labour Party without any mandate.

Hazel’s Honestyl

Hazel Blears has used the time honoured device of a “speech to her constituency” to deliver an uncomfortably honest message to her party.

My message to my colleagues is simple: get a grip. Our first loyalty is to the British people. If they think that we are more interested in our own jobs than theirs, they will not forgive us. If the mindset is all about what happens after some future election defeat, then the game’s up... All this political positioning just helps the Tories … I don’t detect a serious clamour for a Conservative election victory, people have not made up their minds, but they will if we fail to focus on protecting decent hard-working people. They will rightly think that we’ve let them down. We’ve a big job ahead of us – on the economy, on reforming the public services, on the environment. Divided parties don’t win the trust of the people.

Over on the grassroots site LabourHome there are more and more articles like Does anyone seriously expect Gordon to win?Meanwhile on the Downing Street approved LabourList, there is zero self-analysis of Labour’s problems, just tired articles by Ed Balls with headlines likeBritain is not Broken. When the Tories were in difficulties, ConservativeHome was a source of renewal and honest critical self-examination.

This lack of internal honesty when Labour is 20% behind in the polls is not going to do them any good. The fish rots from the head, with Gordon unable to admit that he did not abolish boom and bust, or in fact make any mistakes, Labour will remain on course for annihilation. Privately Labour ministers admit this, publicly apart from Honest Hazel, they pretend otherwise.

Harman Wants Brown to Sail Off into Sunset on "Lifeboat"

Jackie Ashley set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday with this story:In it she claimed that Gordon was being lined up for an international job as a super-regulator by Angela Merkel. Jackie said the storycomes from quite close to the inner core.” Like the Deputy-Leader’s office? From another member of the sisterhood? Ben Brogan is pointing the finger at Harriet Harman, claiming that “Brown was the victim of a botched spin operation by the party’s deputy leader amid signs that his authority is weakening.” Who better to be a caretaker leader if Gordon goes off into the sunset on a lifeboat or for ill-health reasons than the current deputy leader? She could hold the party together as it takes the inevitable punishment at the polls, performing the same role that Michael Howard did for the Tories. Labour could do worse…

Clarke : Tony Wanted Me to Be Heir

Charles Clarke claims in an interview in the New Statesman that Tony Blair “wanted me to be foreign secretary because he thought that if I had been foreign secretary and home secretary I would be a credible opponent to Gordon, as the leader of the party. And this had been his long-standing strategy, and that was what he had been intending to do, and that’s what he hoped to do.”

Funny, he is rumoured to have wanted exactly the same for David Miliband. Who to believe?

Jeremy Corbyn Most Rebellious MP Again

There is something marvellously truculent about Jeremy Corbyn. He is once again, according to Philip Cowley’s analysis, the most rebellious whip defying MP. Given that part of the reason for getting rid of Tony Blair was to restore party discipline it is amusing to see that the parliamentary Labour Party is more revolting now than it was under Blair; “Gordon Brown’s first complete parliamentary session as Prime Minister, saw Labour MPs defy their whips on 103 occasions. That compares to 96 occasions in Tony Blair’s whole first Parliament.”

Download full analysis (pdf).

Hodge Quitting as Minister

Tim Walker is reporting in The Telegraph that Margaret Hodge, the Blairite culture minister and friend of Tony has had enough and will be standing down as a minister from Brown’s cabinet in the next re-shuffle.

Another day another

[…]

+ READ MORE +

UPDATED : Who are the "Handful"?

N.B. This article was first published on the morning of Saturday, 13 September 2008, it is being updated and re-dated on a rolling basis as more names come out.

Guido has yet to see a list of the “handful” of

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rat Race Continues

The rats are bailing out of the Downing Street ship fast and furious nowadays. Last week Paul Sinclair jumped, this week it is the turn of Jo Dipple.

The Prime Mentalist’s strategic communications adviser is a former Daily Mirror

[…]

+ READ MORE +

23 Requests in Total Rumoured

Tips, rumours, gossip and tittle tattle are coming in from all directions. Some are more plausible than others, here are five:

  1. Iain Martin took Guido to task for making speculative conjectures yesterday, today he speculates that John Reid could be

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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