Saturday, 30 August 2008

Alistair Darling's interview - a foot in both camps.

Alistair DarlingI've read Alistair Darling's interview in the Guardian and I've come to the following conclusion: Darling is a man in the know, a man who knows that very shortly the Labour party is going to tear itself apart in an attempt to fix its problems. Darling's interview follows this basic theme: Things are bad and are going to get worse, the people are pissed off with us and we are failing to communicate - whilst at the same time saying that he believes Gordon Brown can sort this whole mess out. This sounds like a man putting a foot firmly in both camps.

There's going to be a battle and Darling wants to be one of those still standing when the dust settles. If Gordon hangs on to his position he can't be accused of not giving him his public support. However, should Brown get the boot he will be on record as understanding public dissatisfaction with the government and Brown's failure to get the party's message across.

This battle over the leadership of the Labour party, and ultimately the country will settle into two factions (three if you count those like Darling who will keep their heads down in the hope of still having a seat at the cabinet table). At the moment the two factions are likely to be David Miliband's band of usurpers and Gordon Brown's faithful few. I think we will hear similar statements from other ministers over the next couple of months - ministers who will edge their bets until they are sure which way the wind is blowing.

This positioning becomes clear when Darling's press adviser, Catherine tells him before his interview: "Now Alistair, tell her everything. Make sure you tell her everything." I don't think Catherine is telling Darling to make supporting noises about Brown, that will come naturally to him seeing as they are friends, I believe she is instructing Darling to be honest about they dire state of the party and its need for change (without saying that change should be Gordon going).

"Self preservation" will be the name of the game for many a Labour MP between now and the end of the year.

4 comments:

Deb Acle (aka Barely human now) said...

Steve, I like your clear, plain words interpretation. It is quite simple, isn't it? We're ringside spectators at the sinking of the Ship of Fools. They've done this all to themselves and are making last ditch attempts at currying our sympathy. It all seems to me to be reportage about internals...nothing constructive about how they're going to mend the devastating damage they've done to our once great union of nations.

Meanwhile, deckchairs are being feverishly added and shuffled about...

Daily Referendum said...

Deb,

Thanks. It seems like the country is falling apart while these idiots bumble on. We need a fresh government willing to make big changes and dump Labour's costly projects.

Deb Acle (aka Barely human now) said...

Absolutely agree with you Steve. The paucity of the original NuLab vision is revealed in all its staggering hubristic stupidity. Bijou eateries in Islington, remember?

We do need radical changes, more so than we've needed since end of WW2. But I don't mean radical in the usual sense of revolutions and rampaging on the streets. Nor do I mean reactionary, return-to-blue-rinse-old Tory! Neither do we need New Tory!

Daily Referendum said...

Deb,

I know what you mean about change. The big changes I want to see are less government involvement in education, health and the police. Less red tape and a total clean out of made up governmental bodies.

The last thing I want to see from a Tory government is a long list of reforms similar to those that have driven the public services mad under new labour.