Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Smart moves

Like you my readers, I'm a big fan of smart moves. David Miliband seems to be making them right now, first by putting out a well thought-through piece challenging any sense of inevitable Cameron/Tory ascendancy, and secondly, by refusing to rule himself out of a leadership contest. Its a kind of knight's gambit. At once, he has done nothing to dent the sense that he is behind Gordon Brown, and at the same time, he has done everything to put himself forward as the future of the Labour party. Clever Trevor. I'm sure there will be energy and commitment forming around him right now. Who the hell wants boring Jack Straw to step in - Blackburn's equivalent of John Major fifteen years ago?

Miliband vs Cameron is a far more even contest, especially if James Purnell comes in as Miliband's number 2 figure. Its funny to see my generation take up leadership positions at the top of British politics - Purnell is a friend of a friend, as is Miliband. Miliband I think has the greater political acumen and the higher spectrum brain. The Foreign Office has been an excellent place to cut his teeth, and he has increasingly acquired a statesmanly air. Cameron on the other hand has proved himself a good performer in PMQs, even if he's not so hot on locking his bike up properly. Behind the political theatre, the reality is there is little clear space between both parties these days. What Labour has going for it is a deeper historical commitment to social justice. I'm not so biased as to deny that some of the young 'uns in the Tory party don't have something to offer.

On the whole, the convergence around the centre ground has been a good thing for British politics. We no longer have to contemplate people like Norman Tebbit and their ilk. The one drawback from a centre-left perspective has been the void created by a partial abandonment of working-class values in Labour, which has increasingly been filled by the BNP. Miliband's recent courting of the unions is a sure sign that he is sensitive to this outflanking of the left turning into an outflanking by the extreme right.

I doubt now that the next elections are a foregone conclusion at all - so long as Brown is allowed to make a dignified exit either shortly before, during or just after conference season.


Naapali 11:36 pm  

Jeremy, do u really see Gordo walking away after waiting 10 years in the wings?

anonymaus,  4:06 am  

I liked reading about your take on political developments in your homeland. Now, you have confirmed my suspicions that you are left leaning (nothing wrong with that, so am I).

From what I can gather, politics in the UK is now about subtle manoeuvring, such as Miliband's courting of the unions to recapture the perception that Labour cares about working-class vales. Because there isn't much to separate the Tories from Labour maybe it will come down to personality.

You failed to mention Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National party. What role will they fill come the next general election?

Beneath my feet 11:15 am  

I am not saying am on the left, neither am I am saying am a rightie but am surely not the radically unseen. Objectively speaking, this is much more like it - more damaging to the left wingers if the Leper stays and I think Cameron would be able to do to the Leper exactly what prophet Blair was able to do to the grey man of British politics (John Major). I would agree lso that there will be lesser discrepancy in the Miliband-Cameron match-up. But there is an eruption at the left which fire is really a very clear call that people at the left want a new leader. This call will almost certainly give victory to the right in the much wider race for No. 1. In this country the people rule and they want change. The outcome is clear.

Anonymous,  11:28 am  

I am with you on this Jeremy, Goddie needs to take a hike and let Milliband & Cameron fight it out.

Controversial Anon 1:01 pm  

Miliband is a clown, a lightweight, and a schoolboy Minister. He stands no chance, he would be knocked-out by Cameron's 'big clunking fist'.

Don't you get it? It's not Brown people detest it's New Labour. Utilities/Infrastructure are not commensurate with the crazy high taxes. Trains, Energy, Telecoms, etc all are in private hands, so what are the high taxes for? the NHS only? Also New Labour run a Nanny State, they want to instruct you, in detail, on how to live your life. Why?

Countries (like France) with similarly high taxes practice socialism, the trains are nice and fast, gas bills don't rise every other quarter, and Utilities are in state hands.

The New Labour ideology has crumbled, they've been found out. There is no 'Third way', you are either a socialist government or a capitalist government, you can't be both. You either have sky high taxes and run a big government and own all major utilities/ infrastructure or you run a small government with low taxes and allow the free market flourish.

Miliband my foot. The man who almost fainted at the breath of Sergey Lavrov and his crew? Wants to be PM? No chance! He makes Brown look good.

Anonymous,  1:38 pm  

I'm not so sure that millibands moe is so good.
As Rhodri Morgan said the first person to challenge Brown would be making career suicide. I think this is still true.
and yet they simply can't go to the polls in 2010 with gordon.
messy, messy times ahead for labour.

Beneath my feet 4:36 pm  

Would you TRUST two brothers?

David's brother is also a minister (Cabinet Office Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster).
The Milibands are the first brothers to be simultaneous cabinet members since Oliver and Edward Stanley in 1938. David became the youngest Foreign Secretary since David Owen in 1977.

I was unaware of this until a few minutes ago when I read it somewhere. Going by that, it would appear that David may perhaps have the blessing of Gordon Brown!

Beneath my feet 4:50 pm  

or could Davids brother (Ed) be the one to watch?

"...The Milibands are Labour aristocracy and the brothers are among the most academic MPs on the Labour benches..." Source:

anonymaus,  11:58 am  

Controversial anon, many times you have offered your opinion which I have totally disagreed with. On this occasion, you made your points well and in a civil manner. I could see your justification for your line of argument, which provides a lot of food for thought.

In spite of your previous opinions, I will continue to read what you have to say, to see if something useful can be gleaned from it.

Thank you for this post.

Jeremy, no comment on the Liberal party, any reason for this omission, aren't they the third largest party in the UK?

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