Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh Gord!

As the truism has it, the Tories have sex scandals, and Labour has financial scandals. My party has obediently played according to type in recent weeks. Today brings news of another, different kind of financial scandal. This time, Brown and Darling are apparently blocking a £725m rescue package for 125,000 workers who lost their pensions when their employers went bust or wound up their schemes. If this is true then it's morally indefensible. Recall that back in April it was revealed that Brown had ignored civil servants advice when he pushed ahead with scrapping dividend tax credits on pension funds in July 1997 - an act of colossal folly, which in no small way contributed to the pensions crisis. What is it with Brown and pensions? He seems to have a blind spot as far as they are concerned. Pensions must be thought of as deferred wages, a basic entitlement for any worker. As this blog commented back in April, the lost livelihoods of pensioners should not be treated as just another pawn in a political game.
Oh, the naked politicking behind the story's emergence is also worth commenting on. Cabinet split ... Peter Hain "is angry" ... Mike O'Brien is "mortified". Added to this, the Mail on Sunday has yet another unwelcome story for Brown (was ever a leader more cursed with ill fortune?)
reports that Brown reduced a top aide to tears over the on-off Autumn election fiasco and
• Friends of former party general secretary Peter Watt, who quit over the 'Donorgate' scandal, said he was privately critical of Mr Brown's "lack of leadership".
• Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell said his party was "in a mess" and faced defeat by David Cameron as a result of the Prime Minister's "ineptitude".
• And insiders revealed party chiefs planned to offer Labour MP Ken Purchase a peerage so his Commons seat could be given to transport union boss Jack Dromey, husband of deputy party leader Harriet Harman.
Plus there's a delicious item about the boy David (Miliband, that is) trying to stop the teddy bear teacher's rescue.
There's no hiding it. Labour's high command is showing all the traditional signs of disarray; vicious infighting, scrambling for cover and leaking all over the place.


Blogger Patriccus said...

Agreed, Brown is surely beginning to look over his shoulder – his dithering over the Autumn election, the ongoing scandals and generally poor performances at PMQs must be causing a few Labour MPs to be looking at their own majorities and wonder whether things would be this bad with another man at the helm (I say man only because the thought of Harriet Harman or Hazel Blears would have the Tories laughing all the way to the ballot box).

The question is, who do Labour possibly have as a viable alternative? Davey boy Miliband is looking more out of his depth by the day in such a major position – proof that there is a world of difference between a hardline Government position and the “hug me, I’m green” nonsense that is DEFRA; Jack Straw lacks popularity both amongst the party rank-and-file and the electorate as a whole, and both Alastair Darling and Ed Balls are far too close to the former Chancellor.

The only possible alternative this writer can see is the ever-delightful Alan Johnson, whose first few months as Health Secretary have been one of the few impressives from this faltering Government. His handling of the nurses pay dispute and the doctors application scandal demonstrated his ability to smooth ruffled feathers, and he has not been as damaged as he could have been over the hospital infection crisis. He would also be popular with former Blairites, who would relish the thought of one of their own taking the hated Brown down for good.

Of course, he would be shitting himself if outed as a possible Leader-in-Waiting, given the legendary Brown tolerance for possible challenges (the summer leadership “election” springs to mind), and given his defeat by Harriet Harperson, he probably hasn’t yet had time to marshal any defences to such charges. So do keep it quiet…

12/10/2007 6:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home