Sunday, 21 November 2010

The other Lost Leader...

With Labour seemingly mired in one of its periodic phases of being led by windbags, hypocrites and small-scale connivers (it’s been that way for several years now...) it’s hard to think about ‘moving forward’, not with so much rebarbative recent history still to be digested… David Laws’ recent sour remarks about Ed Miliband (amid his hasty reminiscence of the ConDem shotgun wedding) should be set in context of Laws’ obvious Toryism and attendant hatred for Labourism. But the Mail's serialisation of Brown at 10 by Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge made for more disconcerting reading. Let’s set aside the risible spectacle of the Mail arrogating to itself the right to determine, Socialist Worker -style, exactly who is a traitor to the cause of Labour. The rest of us just need to read between the lines and marvel anew at how such a sanctimonious and scarily self-obsessed pair as Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman wound up at the very pinnacle of the Labour Party, prior to blessing Ed Miliband as their rightful inheritor.
John Rentoul’s revival of 'AJ4PM' is tongue-in-cheek, surely, for the moment has passed, just as so many other promising Labour ‘moments’ have crashed into the rocks over recent years. I haven’t been wowed by Johnson’s despatch box performances as shadow chancellor. But, rare in a politician, he remains a recognisible human being, one with just the right mix of frankness and canniness, and unlike his Leader he's not about to bang on about the defeatingly populist notion that people ought forever to hand back more than half their income once they've made their way to £150K.
Johnson's recent tribute to his Leader has a nicely minimal feel: 'Everyone’s got their views about how we get back into government and there’s a variety of views in the Shadow Cabinet… … we have to discuss those differences of opinion like mature people which is really a mindset that I think Ed has brought into the party that is I think commendable...'
No, I don't wish to re-run redundant quarrels so even I balked a little at Rentoul's observations in his print column today: "There were disloyal whispers at Westminster last week. Anonymous speculation about Brownites organising for Yvette Cooper to succeed [EdMili]. Sarcasm about when he was going to start in his new job. Grumbles about his breaking his paternity leave on Friday to provide a soundbite for TV news on Lord Young's resignation – a Tory bad news story that needed no help from him – instead of to surprise us with his plans, say, to be tough on immigration..."
But, y'know, if the cap fits... Or as the bracingly rude Daily Mash satirises it, 'Despite assurances from David Miliband that there would no repeat of the Blair-Brown 'soap opera', his supporters said that would be f**king right...'

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