Posts Tagged ‘plots’

Incompetence, not internal plotting, is damaging Jeremy Corbyn

27/03/2016, 10:10:31 PM

by Kevin Meagher

‘Infamy, infamy, the PLP have all got in it for me!’ This seems to sum up the mood in the Corbyn inner circle, certainly judging by the leadership’s now infamous list ranking Labour MPs on their relative loyalty and disloyalty.

The author – still unconfirmed but reported to be Corbyn’s political secretary Katy Clark – really shouldn’t have bothered. There’s really no need for lists of friends and foes because Labour MPs are utterly rubbish at coups.

Unless all his detractors can agree on who should replace him (which they can’t) it’s hard to see how the mechanics of a successful insurgency against Jeremy Corbyn will ever come about. John Woodcock’s plaintive cry to his colleagues that ‘We can’t go on like this,’ will remain unheeded.

The initial thought was that May’s elections would see Corbyn’s Labour crash to the ground once electoral gravity hit his ‘straight-talking honest politics’. Yes, there will be a collision, but the fall will not be as precipitous as first thought.

May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament are already factored-in as a wash-out. Labour will win both the Brightside and Hillsborough and Ogmore by-elections without breaking sweat, while Sadiq Khan will romp home in London.

Plus, the party will do well enough in his heartlands in the local elections to please activists and reassure most Labour MPs they are not facing electoral oblivion in 2020. Labour will struggle in battleground seats, particularly in the south of England, but ‘not winning’ is much less damaging than ‘actually losing.’

So, yes, there is feverish plotting, but most Labour MPs are the political equivalent of Adele fans. They will settle for lowest common denominator mush. They will go with the flow and offer no threat to Jeremy Corbyn out of a mixture of reasonableness and indolence and dare not fall out with their local activists. They will put loyalty to the party ahead of intellectual principle (assuming they have any) every single time.


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Will Miliband face either Cameron or Clegg at the election?

11/03/2013, 03:24:31 PM

by Jonathan Todd

This weekend the fog of war descended on Brighton, central London and Grantham. It seemed to be thickest in Brighton where the Liberal Democrats met for their spring conference. Some think their enemy are the “self-appointed detectives” in the media. Others are convinced that their enemy is the party with whom they share government.

Orange-on-orange attacks are more to the taste of some: What did Nick Clegg know about Lord Rennard and Chris Huhne? And when? Is the party capable of avoiding electoral annihilation with him at the helm? Does he agree with George Osborne or Vince Cable on public investment? If Cable, where does that leave the commitment to immediate deficit reduction that supposedly lies at the heart of the governmental compact between their party and the Conservatives?

It’s not clear whether Cable’s abdication of this compact is a declaration of war with Osborne or Clegg. He’s undoubtedly taking collective responsibility and unrelenting commitment to deficit reduction on fleet-footed dances. In so doing, he wants to emerge with his now battered reputation for economic wisdom restored and his status as the heir apparent to Clegg renewed.

The sensible argument for the defenestration of Clegg is that the alternative is to reduce the Liberal Democrats to a parliamentary rump of cockroaches. His embrace of Cameron and support for increased tuition fees shattered public trust, so says the argument against him, which can never be regained. No masochistic radio phone-ins or relaunches are going to change this. Clegg, pace Jonathan Freedland and John Kampner, is a dead man walking and if he is not removed then he will drag his party down with him.


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Let’s stop fighting non-existent plots and let the leader lead

13/06/2011, 07:00:19 AM

by John Woodcock

The past has its part to play in politics, but the future is the only thing that really matters. This is our chance to show we get that far more than the people who want Labour to fail.

Working for then welfare secretary, John Hutton, I was passionate about Tony Blair’s drive to change the UK’s welfare and pension systems at a time when reform was difficult to sell. I gave my all when Gordon Brown asked me to work for him in Number Ten. I was a vocal supporter of David Miliband in the leadership contest. And before all that I walked David Blunkett’s dog when he was leader of Sheffield City Council and I was the son of one of his more left wing Labour councillors.

All of that helps to inform what I think today. But it is all history. Like so many thousands who want to change the world around them, we remain proud of the myriad of past allegiances developed over the years campaigning for Labour. But we are not defined by them.

Now, we are all part of a party focussed in its determination to support Ed Miliband, renew Labour’s offer to the British people and stand up for those suffering at the sharp end of aConservative economic policy that is selling future generations down the river.

I may not have put Ed first on the ballot paper in the leadership contest, but I am sure of one thing: he won a mandate to lead, and he is going to lead us as a united party into the next election.

Without plotters, wind-up stories about plots will not succeed (so long as people on our side do not fall into the trap of fighting phantoms – mounting a counter-attack against threats that just aren’t there).

So let’s all take responsibility for doing better; as Jim Murphy said yesterday, let’s roll up our sleeves, listen to our changing country, and work harder to think up the new ideas that will re-earn Labour’s right to claim and shape the centre ground of British politics.

Ed has already rightly identified the people any Labour party worthy of the name needs to speak up for: families in the middle who work hard, want to get on, and don’t want to see others get a free ride at their expense – whether at the top or the bottom of the income scale.

His speech today on that subject is important. We should do everything we can to enable it to get the hearing it deserves and give our leader the support he needs to follow it through. That focus on the future is our best bet to ensure the ambitions people have for their own lives are reflected in the ambitions for Britain we put forward at the next election.

John Woodcock is Labour and Cooperative MP for Barrow and Furness and a shadow transport minister.

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