Sunday, May 07, 2006

Whose in trouble?

Ooooooooo....... you're going home in a private ambulance!

Blair's reshuffle seems to have created more problems than it solved. Mr Gordon Brown for the first time has started making public statements about Blair's timetable for withdrawal. Backbenchers are rumbling Dave Osler has that letter and the Socialist Campaign Group is actually doing something! I know! It's that serious!


But let's take a look at that some of that reshuffle in depth.

Prescott; He keeps the titles but loses the power. He's a bit like the Queen now I suppose. A total embarressment to the PM so why is he getting paid so much for doing so little. I think it's pretty clear.

If the Deputy PM loses his cabinet post it is one step away from losing his position as Deputy Leader of the Party. Deputy Leader is an elected position and if he lost the post there would have to be a leadership eleection in the Labour Party - and if you're having one election, why not make it two?

If Blair had sacked Prescott he could have been setting the ball rolling for his own politcal demise - but his refusal to rid himself of this troublesome creature hands Blair's opponents a gift that just keeps on giving.

Daily Mail; Prescott ogled secretary from the day he began job


Straw; There are two theories as to why Straw was effectively sacked. Guardian; The two crucial mistakes that cost Straw his job

Theory one - Straw was for talking to Iran rather than bombing it. CBS News; Did Bush Force British Minister Out?

Theory two - Straw spoke to Gordon Brown. Telegraph; Outwardly loyal, but Straw kept his distance

Could be both, although number two seems like the hanging offence to me.


Dope Fiend Reid;

Bomber Reid has his reward, possibly he's Blair's dealer... I recieved this important message that I think bears repeating... "You know Dr John Reid has got really friendly eyes that shine with sincerity. If you were being tortured you'd want him to be in charge because you'd know he cared and didn't want to hurt yyou anymore and it would be so good to tell him everything and the pain would stop, but even better than that he'd be your friend, and even if he just shot you in the back of the head it wouldn't be so bad. You know, he'd make a good successor to Tony Blair."


Charles Clarke;

Clarke is not a happy man. Sacked in the same week that Blair gave him unqualified and fulsome praise... such is life. Unfortunately whilst many on the left will be celebrating the axing of the latest in a long line of proto fascist home secretaries the fact he was sacked for not dealing with evil foreigners is not necessarily a good thing.

The worry is this is going to push the debate to the right (if that's possible) and into yet another attack on habeus corpus.


Margaret Beckett;

Clearly a blow for women's liberation Washington Post; Britain Gets First Female Foreign Secretary but also it's a replacement of the disloyal Straw with an ultra loyal robot. Not good. Bland, bland, bland - but let's reward her for taking the nurses anger on the chin.


Blair has got real troubles - but looking at who he's putting in charge of that government I think his troubles pale in comparison to everyone else's.


AN said...

With reference to the nostalgia for the pre-Blair Labour party, remember that when John Smith died, Margaret Beckett was the BEST candidate, and I even voted for her (as a member of an affiliated union, my votes counted as 1/35000 the of an MP's vote)

Jim Jay said...

By the time John Smith came along I'd completely lost faith in Labour and he seemed a total non-entity, and Beckett seemed completely unrealistic standing for leadership after his death.

I've always put the nostalgia for Smith down to the fact that he wasn't leader long enough to do anything bad - and therefore is almost unique in Labour Party history as a leader who didn't fuck up.

Perhaps I'm being unfair but as historical footnotes go 'unobjectionable' isn't entirely inspiring.

AN said...

And to be fair I cannot remember Margeret Beckett doing anything at all when she was caretaker leader.

John Smith was leader longer than people remember, nearly two years - so the very absence of anything memorable is itself something to criticise. His main advantage is that he wasn't called Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

And I am prepared to stand corrected, but didn't George Lansbury do a good job as leader? although admittedly before my time.

Jim Jay said...

Looking him up on wikipedia just to check my facts here

Having been a member of both the SDF and then the ILP he was obviously to the left

I think Lansbury's achievements were when he led the radical council group in Poplar (Michael Lavellette has a pamphlet out about this which I'd quite like to read)

Lansbury was leader of the party in the direct aftermath of the split with Ramsey Macdonald and a disasterous election campaign where almost every leading figure of the party lost their seat.

In 1933, as the Nazi's came to power, he made a statement saying "I would close every recruiting station, disband the Army and disarm the Air Force. I would abolish the whole dreadful equipment of war and say to the world "do your worst"."

He also opposed sanctions against fascist Italy against the will of many in the Party. In the run up to 39 he visited Hitler and Mussolini attempting to prevent war and was President of War Resisters International.

Which is all stuff I vaguely remembered but the power of wiki put it at my finger tips.

The thing wiki does not bring us is the more general attitude to anti-fascism in Britain and the Spanish Civil War. Whilst the Communist Party and the ILP may have had their faults they threw themselves into militant activity to physically resist fascism at home and abroad - Lansbury did not.

So I'm going to say D- as leader of the party and A+ as leader of Poplar council.