Hazel told a fringe meeting last night that the Labour Party had been “wicked and malicious” in government. Brillo asked her about her candid comments live on air, she denied having called her party any such thing. Watch her get caught out…
According to the Telegraph’s Andy Porter (a close friend of Damian McBride) “Hazel Blears’ resignation as Communities Secretary was partly triggered by the discovery that she had allegedly avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of another property.” This is Downing Street back up to its old tricks, getting dirt on enemies, putting the dirt into the public domain via friendly Lobby hacks. Guido has been told by a source that the same “Cabinet Office compliance unit” that found out about Blears’ other property has more expenses dirt on Alastair Darling. That is being used to menace Darling, just in case he gets any Geoffrey Howe type ideas.
Nick Brown is the “shit-kicker in chief” according to a well connected Blairite, Watson is still unofficially doing his old enforcer job, even the semi-detached Douglas Alexander is back on the bunker team. Blairites emphasise to Guido that they are going to keep silent until the close of the polls tomorrow at 10pm. That leaves the Brownies a free run to have the mother of all factional fights to save their fuhrer.
Well that post this morning was prophetic faster than Guido expected. More and more interesting.
This is looking more like a deliberate effort to unseat Gordon…
A lesson Guido learnt the hard way in his younger days was “never antagonise a redhead”. Could Gordon be about to learn the same lesson?
It has been bothering Guido that he couldn’t see the logic for anyone leaking Jacqui’s exit plans. Certainly doesn’t make sense for Brown central to leak it (contrary to LabourList’s claim). Guido was putting the leak in the cock-up rather than the conspiracy category. However the Blears theory makes some sense – Blears feels aggrieved that she got roughed up by Brown over expenses in a way that Darling (until yesterday) Hoon and Purnell did not. She also feels imperilled by the reshuffle and of course she isn’t really a fan of Gordon. By destabilising Gordon and revealing ahead of the re-shuffle that a woman is already leaving cabinet she shores up her own position. She also scores some brownie points for the future by laying some useful ground-work for Alan Johnson…
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 like “Britain 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.
“We are witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture… Perhaps because of the nature of the technology, there is a tendency for political blogs to have a ‘Samizdat’ style. The most popular blogs are rightwing, ranging from the considered Tory views of Iain Dale, to the vicious nihilism of Guido Fawkes. Perhaps this is simply anti-establishment. Blogs have only existed under a Labour government. Perhaps if there was a Tory government, all the leading blogs would be left-of-centre?
“But mostly, political blogs are written by people with disdain for the political system and politicians, who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.
“Until political blogging ‘adds value’ to our political culture, by allowing new voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair.”
Paul Richards, Guido understands, wrote her speech. (Guido has written about him a few times.)
Anti-establishment and occasionally vicious Guido may be, but nihilistic? Never. Nihilists deny that an objective morality exists. Guido has a clear sense of morality – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Blears really shouldn’t use words she doesn’t understand. Does Blears actually think that Guido rages against political corruption because he cares not for morality?
She is however correct to say that Guido has disdain for political corruption and seeks to unearth scandal and hypocrisy. Does Blears really think that is a bad thing?
Asking political bloggers to “add value” is to misunderstand the relationship between a free press and politicians. Take a memo Ms Blears, we are not here to “add value”, or do what politicians want, Guido has his own values and aims to hit back at political hypocrisy and lies. Politicians make laws, so they should be held to account, to a higher standard. The Nick Robinsons, Peter Riddells, Michael Whites and Steve Richardsons of the world don’t do investigative digging, they report back their impressions from their lunch meetings. They re-package and interpret spin from the party machines. That is how they “add value”. They are what Peter Oborne memorably described as the “client media”.
Guido has, without the platform of a newspaper or broadcaster backing him, achieved a position of influence for some reason. From nowhere this blog has become one of the most widely read political sources in Britain. It reaches a lot of people who were once disillusioned with and disinterested in politics, it is written (on a good day) in an accessible and entertaining way. Why does Hazel think this fuels political disengagement? The Labour Party would love to have a website that engaged as many people as this blog.
What has deservedly brought about disengagement from and cynicism towards politicians is spin, triangulation, focus group derived policies, positioning purely for partisan advantage, vacuous slogans and meaningless promises. Add in personal self enrichment from expense fiddles, petty corruption and barefaced lying to that toxicosis. Hazel has herself personally defended with repulsive sophistry everything from 45 minutes to mass destruction and cash for honours in her time. Who has really fueled corrosive political cynicism? Look in the mirror Hazel.