Tory blogger Iain Dale has posted a letter from former Home Secretary Charles Clarke which says:
In Parliament and elsewhere an overwhelming majority of Labour opinion believes that in this position Labour’s chances would be significantly improved if Gordon Brown were to stand down.
Over Christmas there have been signs that this strength of opinion is understood in the Cabinet. The New Year will be the time to ensure that the overwhelming feeling which does exist is turned into the action which brings about the necessary change. The price of failure is just too high.
Doing nothing now may seem the easiest option. But Labour should learn from the Tories, who have had many whole decades in power: political parties need the killer instinct to hold on to office. David Cameron’s Conservatives are relying on Labour failing to learn that lesson.
From the beginning of 2010 we need a renewed Labour Party which can offer the people of Britain a genuine and positive choice at the ballot box.
It’s a potent argument, but one which sadly ignores a number of key realities. Sure it would be ideal if Brown were to stand down. Even his successes become failures, but under his watch we’ve also seen the database state and our growing surveillance society grow now almost out of our ability to control; we’ve seen economic disaster and an impotence to change the arrogant behaviour which would allow it to happen again. We’ve seen Brown’s government walk away from Copenhagen with precious little, and massive (and growing) inconsistencies in its attitudes towards the ‘green economy’. We’ve seen the expenses scandal break, with only platitudes and vague promises for the reform our political system needs. And let’s not forget how Brown’s government bends to whatever corporate will offers the best luxury holidays. I’ve already written about the draconian Digital Economy Bill. Would replacing Brown fix the political carnage from these failures?
We need to look at the alternatives: David Miliband, Ed Balls, Peter Mandelson (he’d find a way), Jack Straw, James Purnell, Harriet Harman, Jon Cruddas, Ed Miliband – who out of that bunch would actually do things differently? I believe the electorate’s disinterest in voting for Brown is entirely down to his failure to represent the wishes of the huge swathes of them not considered ‘swing voters’ in marginal constituencies. That would mean an end to the neoconservative adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would mean an end to the doomed belief that marketisation solves the problems in public services. It would mean ending the paranoia which Brown (after Blair) has set in motion between voters and not relying on databases and police batons to further the interests of the state. It would demand an honest voting system, which reflected the will of the majority not a flitty minority. Cruddas? Maybe. Ed Miliband? Barely anyone knows him. The rest? Where is the rallying cry for a return to ideology and an end to neoliberal economics? No, I’m not hearing it either.
They can replace Brown if they like but the ideas which the electorate knows it needs (which aren’t right wing ideas by the way) simply aren’t coming forward.
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