Posts Tagged ‘resignation’

With Corbyn as the Labour frontman it’s time for a new centre left band

27/09/2016, 07:39:24 PM

by John Slinger

At Labour’s ruling body last week, deputy leader Tom Watson described his reforms as “putting the band back together”. As someone who’s played in rock bands for as long as I’ve been a Labour member, I know that there comes a time when most bands split, usually over ‘artistic differences’ or arguments how to get a record deal. For me that time has come.

Having worked with Jeremy Corbyn in parliament in 2003, I know he’s a principled and decent man. But he’s the wrong frontman for a band that at its best is capable appealing to the masses, Oasis or Blur-style (I’m showing my age). Like all bands with ropey songs but genuinely held delusions of grandeur, Jeremy and his managers have found a niche market of devoted fans who cheer him to the rafters as a rock god. Everyone knows the euphoric feeling of seeing ‘your’ band, singing songs for you amidst a crowd of like-minded people. After the gig you return to the real world and discover that not everyone shares your musical tastes. I suspect that Labour members will experience this when they knock on the doors of ordinary voters in the coming weeks.

This isn’t about bands or even principally the future of the once great Labour Party, but about British democracy. It’s vital that any government faces a strong opposition, capable of holding them to account and which is a credible alternative for the time when the people choose to kick out the incumbents. The public doesn’t regard Corbyn and his underperforming front bench as anywhere near up to the task. They hear about the Corbyn-supporting Momentum organisation and they remember how Militant infiltrated Labour in the 80s.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

David Cameron flunks his final test

13/09/2016, 07:43:37 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Twenty years. That’s what it will take for David Cameron’s name to be anything other than a byword for political failure. In the 2030s a new generation of Conservative politicians, untainted by the assumptions of their political forbears will rediscover David Cameron like some long lost Beatles recording.

I recall the process well from the mid-1990s when many of us working for the Labour party unearthed our own Rare Groove classics: Jim Callaghan and Harold Wilson.

When nostalgia and retro-chic return Cameron to relevance he will be 69.

Just three years older than the current leader of the Labour party, one year older than Hillary Clinton, most likely the next President of the United States and one year younger than Donald Trump, god forbid, the next President of the United States.

Instead of ascending to the highest office in his profession, based on a life of experience, David Cameron’s most productive working years will be spent trailing around the world engaged in lucrative but transitory and ultimately hollow pursuits.

He branded himself the heir to Blair a decade ago and as he travels through his fifties and sixties, David Cameron will truly take-up this mantle.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Chuka the unready

15/05/2015, 01:49:34 PM

by Atul Hatwal

In politics, you’re either on the way up or headed down. Chuka, unfortunately, is headed down.

After the shock at his withdrawal and the sympathy at what politicians have to put up with in terms of intrusion, one view will linger: he has suspect judgement.

And that will blight him for the rest of his career.

If there is a scandal about to break, of sufficient scale to force him out of the running, the question will be why he ran at all?

If there is no scandal, then in a way, it will be worse. To have jumped in, and then out, within days hardly suggests decisive leadership.

Chuka has a point about the difference between expecting and experiencing greater scrutiny, but the job he was running for was not some minor office, ultimately it was to be the prime minister of Britain. It’s right that there should be scrutiny and lots of it.

Chuka’s team are briefing that he might seek the leadership again one day, but this is fanciful. Despite his many skills and his ability as a communicator, questions over his judgement will hang silently unanswered, over all that he does from now on.

Many things are forgivable in politics. Bad judgement is not one of them.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

David Cameron has made a massive mistake but Labour’s picked the wrong line of attack

24/03/2015, 08:50:59 AM

by Atul Hatwal

If the Conservatives win the next election, David Cameron has turned himself into a bystander in his next government.

By pre-announcing his resignation he’s dissolved his future authority with backbenchers, who will be more interested in winning the favour of the next leader, and shifted the media lens onto his potential successors. The question of when he will resign – because he surely won’t last a full term – will dog him each day and ultimately he will struggle for relevance. He’s condemned himself to a living political death.

In the wake of such an extraordinary unforced error, Labour’s chosen line of attack is that Cameron is taking the electorate for granted by assuming he will win the next election. It fits with Labour’s broader critique of him and in that sense is logical, but it’s also wrong.

Two of David Cameron’s greatest political assets are his double digit lead over Ed Miliband as the public’s preference for PM and the extent to which he personally outpolls his party.

David Cameron’s telegraphed resignation is the very antithesis of leadership; it’s the epitome of weakness and raises the likelihood that any one of a gaggle of unappealing Tories could be prime minister in the next Parliament. Suddenly, there might be some hope for Labour.

Instead of talking about arrogance, Labour should be recasting the leadership choice at this election as one between Ed Miliband and the dangerous unknown.

There are two aspects to this.

First, the message should be hammered home that David Cameron is about to quit on the British people in the next Parliament.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Saint and sinner. Genius and villain. The many aspects of Gordon Brown

02/12/2014, 02:35:22 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Much has and will be written about Gordon Brown and about how he divides opinion both in British politics and, not least, in the party he once led. The many contradictions of his complex personality are already well chronicled.

A “moral compass” awkwardly spliced with low cunning. Big-hearted compassion for the poor matched with unrelenting brutality towards opponents. An expansive intellect married to occasional political stupidity.

At the root of it all, however, he was an outstanding social democrat, one of a select few Labour ministers – Bevan and Crosland spring to mind – who have left an indelible mark on British society.

He was undoubtedly Labour’s finest chancellor, using the role to rehydrate key public services, trebling spending on the NHS and doubling it for education. This alone will see his impact echo. But he also, for a time, brought about full employment and presided over the longest continuous period of growth since records began in the late 18th Century. Even his later failings to manage spending, against the vortex of the global banking crisis, will pale against his many achievements.

He was certainly our most political chancellor, using the office to pursue an unrelenting social democratic agenda in a way none of his Labour predecessors ever managed. Snowden, Dalton, Cripps, Gaitskell, Callaghan, Jenkins and Healy. Each of them found themselves at the mercy of events, implementing austerity measures in failing governments, dashing dreams and triggering internecine feuding in the process. Brown, for a good while at least, seemed to have mastered political alchemy.

“No more boom and bust” may seem a hollow boast now, but not when he used to make it. He made the whole of British politics believe it too. His intellectual dominance was, for most of his decade-long tenure as Chancellor, total. This explains why his Conservative opponents hated him so intensely, while admiring Blair.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Au revoir David Miliband

27/03/2013, 07:11:02 AM

by Kevin Meagher

There’s an air not just of finality to David Miliband’s announcement that he is quitting British politics but also of inevitability.

Ever since he lost the Labour leadership to his brother in 2010 he has been searching for a meaningful role. For an intelligent, experienced and talented man in the prime of his political career, the taste of defeat was bitter; all the more so when his forward propulsion was stopped dead in its tracks by his own brother.

Such is politics. His campaign to succeed Gordon Brown wasn’t helped by his repeated, misjudged attempts to undermine him from the cabinet table. He waved the dagger but couldn’t thrust it.

In recent times Miliband has taken to saying his role was “on the frontline, not on the frontbench”. By taking up a position (yet undefined) with the New York-based NGO the International Rescue Committee, he will be leading efforts to provide emergency humanitarian relief and human rights advocacy around the world. It is to his credit that his lucrative speechifying and corporate sinecures were clearly not enough to hold his interest.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Hogan-Howe will go over plebgate

24/12/2012, 07:05:58 AM

Back in October, Uncut made two predictions: that Andrew Mitchell would resign (down to the day he would go) and he would use the CCTV footage of the incident on Downing Street as the basis for an inevitable fightback.

Now a further prediction: the Metropolitan police will be looking for a new commissioner early next year. Bernard Hogan-Howe will resign.

At the moment he still thinks he can survive but this is about to change. As the new police investigation progresses and evidence mounts that key details in the log book were fabricated, the focus will move onto three areas: first, accountability for the mess; second, Hogan-Howe’s judgement over the past fortnight and third, why there wasn’t even a cursory investigation into Andrew Mitchell’s version of events at the time of the original story.

Bernard Hogan-Howe was appointed to bring more hands on, visible leadership to the Met. His reputation in his former bailiwick of Liverpool was as a leader with a grip of the detail on what was happening in his force.

Now on Bernard Hogan-Howe’s watch, it is likely that some of his policemen will have attempted to frame a cabinet minister. This constitutes one of the gravest potential acts of police corruption in recent years.

To think that at least one serving police officer could be charged and convicted in this affair and no senior officer take responsibility is inconceivable. In this context, given Hogan-Howe’s mandate, it is hard for him to abjure ultimate accountability.

Second, his judgement, over the days since Michael Crick’s explosive report, will surely be called into question.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Don’t call her babe: Dan Hodges interviews Hazel Blears

30/11/2010, 02:04:17 PM

“Hazel Blears? Good luck mate. She’s the most on message politician I’ve ever met”.

“Hazel is a robot. ‘Tony good. Labour good. Tony good. Labour good’. Scratch the surface and you just find another surface underneath”.

"I was asked to go and defend the government in some circumstances when no one else wanted to"

Hmmm. Uncut arrives at our meeting with the woman described by one Labour MP as the bionic Blairite with some trepidation. We like discipline and loyalty – in moderation. But we also like a peek behind the curtain. Will we be able to uncover what makes the bionic Blairite tick?

Let’s kick off with Ed Miliband. She voted for him fourth, behind Andy, David and Ed. According to reports, he offered her a job and she turned it down, although Ed’s office officially denies this. Hazel confirms that she had a meeting with Ed and told him she wanted some time out on the back benches. So what does she think of the new leader?

“I would characterise Ed’s leadership as calm, measured, steady, and actually, a surprise to people. I don’t think you have to come out as a brand new leader with fireworks and pazzaz. When Ed won, a lot of people said ‘Ed’s a blank page’. Well in a lot of ways that’s not bad for us, because we need to reflect on why we got the worst result since 1983. I don’t mind a bit of reflection”.

No fireworks. No pazzaz. This could be a long haul.

“But, if we don’t defend our record nobody will. If you walk round my city, it’s not paradise, it’s not nirvana, but it’s a damn sight better than it was. This narrative the Tories are getting traction with, that it was all a disaster, we bust the bank, spent all the money; it’s at our peril that we let that just be the story. People may accuse me of wearing rose tinted glasses, being gung ho; well sorry I’m not going to be snivelling and apologising for what I think in many ways was a damn fine government”.

A flash of passion. Not synthesised. Real, “I’ll see you out side”, anger. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Hung out to dry by Labour: I know how Woolas feels

08/11/2010, 11:30:59 AM

by Peter Watt

I have a very personal experience of what it is like to be brutally cast asunder by the Labour party. The circumstances were different than those which have led to the position Phil Woolas finds himself in – but I suspect that the personal impact was similar.

I was general secretary of the party when, in November 2007, the Abrahams 3rd party donation scandal erupted. It happened on my watch. I took responsibility and in a blaze of negative publicity I resigned.

I knew that once I’d resigned an important part of the “handling strategy” of the donation story would be to rough me up a bit. I wasn’t naive. I accepted it as part of the rough nature of politics. The more I was damaged in the short term, the less the party was going to be damaged in the long-term. That had to be the right thing for the “greater good”.

What I was not prepared for was the massive toll this took on me, my family and friends.  I expected that the party would support me personally, behind the scenes. That they would caveat their attacks. Issue some statements of personal support that recognised my contribution to the party over many years. With a few notable exceptions, what I got was a character assassination. It went beyond being “roughed-up” to being a full blown assault. The personal impact was devastating. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Carthorse Cable off for glue? Crowdsourcing the resignation

13/08/2010, 02:19:15 PM

He’s the most left-wing member of the government. He used to work for John Smith. And this week he learned that he’s got just half as many staff as Caroline Spelman at DEFRA. It has become about as remarkable as pointing out that Gerrard and Lampard don’t really work together in midfield, but it’s worth saying one more time: Vince Cable is a walking resignation.

Add today’s news that, presumably just to annoy Cable, the government has signed up Sir Philip ‘sophisticated tax status’ Green as an efficiency adviser, and the truth is more obvious than the hangover Dave’s never had from the ‘tins’ of Stella he pretends to buy from a supermarket he’s never been to: Cable will walk.

Vince has already manoeuvred his ally Simon Hughes into the party’s deputy leadership; and the grassroots, who still worship Vince, are preparing to brand Gove’s free schools programme even worse than first past the post. But a conference bust up over a ridiculous right wing policy almost certainly won’t be enough to precipitate Vince’s resignation in 2010. So just when will it come, and how?

Here at Uncut we’re crowdsourcing the resignation. We’ll start the ball rolling.

It’s late autumn 2011 and the drastic cuts Vince never believed in have led to the fabled double dip he always feared. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Lansley’s NHS reforms should have been concluded with a rather more substantive paragraph than “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”. And the increasingly ubiquitous media presence of Toby Young is – amazingly – one of the least upsetting consequences of Michael Gove’s DfE.

Directly elected police commissioners have been the disaster everyone predicted, and Cable’s own department has been reduced to hot-desking whilst trying to save British business because Danny Alexander ‘needs’ a spare set of computers in case he breaks his by spilling Tizer all over them again.

As he arrives at his office, a downtrodden Vince is forced to cross a picket line of public service workers. He can’t help but feel that they have a point as they protest at Con/Lib plans to axe 98% of social service funding based on the flimsy big society thesis that “maybe a charity will do it instead…hopefully.”

As he walks towards his office Vince wipes the rotten tomatoes from his beige suit and the eggshell from his off-white shirt to discover the final insult. Nick and Gideon are there, in his office, high on a cocktail of port, pimms and power, smoking cigars and doing impressions of the once national treasure using Vincey’s own signed copy of Joseph Stiglitz’ “Stability with Growth” as a makeshift bald cap. As he slams the door he shouts “what the hell do you think you are doing?”, but it barely registers. The braying continues, a defeated Vince turns and leaves, never to darken the great offices of state again.

A broken man, Vince spends the rest of his days pondering one question: how did I let it happen. How did I join a government that contained Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith. It wasn’t even nice while it lasted.

Your turn.

How do you think the end will come? Bust up with Osborne, schism with Nick. Or an offer he just can’t turn down to fill the vacant presenters chair on Nevermind the Buzzcocks?

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon