It’s six months before the general election and Labor are toast.
We’ve had all hues and variations now, from the old Red, to Tony’s shiny New, to short-lived Brown and Maurice Glasman’s Blue. Tonight meet Black Labour. Black as in farce. Black as in death.
Having spent weeks undermining, ridiculing and baiting their own man, the People’s Party were championing Alan Johnson with media commentators joining in the mobs attempt to destabilise the hapless and beleaguered Labour leader.
Unfortunately for everybody involved Johnson issued a simple statement saying he has never stood for the leadership of his party and “regardless of the circumstances never will”.
You’d have thought that whoever was behind his aggrandisement as Leader-In-Waiting would have checked-in with him first. Apparently not.
Now, all they have achieved is to utterly undermine their own fragile and helpless leader who seems paralysed by indecision, lack of vision and a distinct lack of purpose meaning or drive. He will no doubt now continue on until the general election where he will fail spectacularly.
I don’t subscribe to the ad hominem attacks on Miliband for his facial expressions, meekness or whatever other personality defects he’s supposed to have. I couldn’t care less. I do however have a problem with a Labour leader that, in the face of a reactionary backlash of the right and the far right has little or nothing to say, bar a few contrived palliative words. I do have a problem with a leader who, twelve days before the referendum threatened us with the extraordinary idea of Border Guards.
If the attempts to deal with ‘the Miliband problem’ focused on replacing the person not the politics, the same is to be said north of the border at the branch office, where there’s been talk of ‘re-branding’ and popularising the party to solve their woes.
Irn-Bru for the masses is the plan. Self-reflection is out.
But you can’t re-brand a product that is faulty, and Labour remains profoundly ill at ease with itself as its membership has haemorrhaged from the 30,000 we are told were members when Gordon Brown took charge.
The party which made it possible through securing a No vote victory for an extra £25bn-£30bn in public spending cuts, is about to crown Jim Murphy their saviour.
Of course the media fan club are jubilant. But an aggressive, divisive, arrogant, unreconstructed Blairite, with a side-line in fanatical Zionism may not be the winning ticket.
Reinvent himself and he’ll look shallow and false. Stick to his guns and he’ll stick out like a sore thumb, allowing a newly revived SNP to claim the social justice left.
Perhaps it is irrelevant.
Ed Miliband has slumped to his lowest ever poll rating and the Conservatives have a three-point lead over Labour, according to a new Ipsos Mori poll tonight.
The Ipsos research for the Evening Standard put the Conservatives on 32%, Labour on 29%, the Liberal Democrats on 9% and Ukip on 14%. Asked about Miliband as leader, the poll found just 13% of the public think he is ready to be prime minister and his approval rating is now lower than that of Nick Clegg.
As Neil Davidson writes in the New Left Review (‘A Scottish Watershed‘):
“Meanwhile Scottish Labour has collapsed into fratricidal strife after the resignation of its leader Johann Lamont, who accused Miliband and his claque of being ‘dinosaurs’, out of touch with how the Scottish political landscape had changed, and of treating the party north of the border as a ‘branch office’. Lamont’s long list of grievances included being elbowed aside during Miliband’s Beria-style takeover of the Falkirk selection process in 2013,having her general secretary sacked by London, and being told she must not open her mouth about the Coalition’s deeply unpopular Bedroom Tax until Miliband had made up his mind about it—a notoriously lengthy process. The many resignations from Scottish Labour include Allan Grogan, a convenor of the Labour for Independence group, widely derided by the leadership, who described the party as being ‘in deep decline, and I fear it may be permanent’.
This is Black Labour, desperate, clueless and turning in on itself in a desperate search for the means to survive. It’s likely now to be broken on the rocks of it’s own opportunism. We may be seeing the Labour Party going the way of other great British institutions: Woolies, the Post Office, Rangers, the News of the World – sold out or sold-off or simply past their sell by date.