The Timid Party and the EU dominate the Political Class by Derek Wyatt
The Timid Party (aka as the Labour Party) is awash with elections (again). Somehow it has allowed its leader, Ed Miliband to throw his toys out of the pram by resigning immediately. Meanwhile, there are eight candidates seeking the Labour nomination for London.
In May, 2010 Gordon Brown then still the PM even though Labour had lost the popular vote should have resigned the day after the general election and allowed David Cameron to form a minority government. Instead, the Brownites held on hoping to persuade the Lib Dems to join them in power in a new government. The arrogance of those shenanigans was clear to most of us save those in deepest negotiations. The very notion that the party receiving less seats could some how stitch up the constitutition and serve for another five years was fraudulent.
This was not fully understood by Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem apparatchiks for whom power became the be all and end all served up in a dish which said “For the good of the Nation.” Punters were not fooled. Had Brown and Clegg formed a coalition both parties would have been facing a wipe out a month ago. Instead, it is only the Lib Dems who are paddling up stream backwards.
Labour learned nothing either. By vacating the leadership as Brown did in May, 2010, Miliband has allowed the Tories to own the narrative. Five years ago from May 2010 and for a couple of years thereafter their mantra was it was “Labour what got us into this mess not the global banking crisis”. It stuck and was reused again from January through to May this year. For Lib Dems in 2015 read Labour for 2020. It is that serious.
Now, as Miliband resigns, there will be no Labour leader until September once again handing the EU narrative, austerity, Northern powerhouse negotiations, HS2 et al to those Tory media supporters – the Mail, the Telegraph and the Times – and to Cameron and Osborne. Osborne looks the coming politician to watch. He has hardly played a bad hand since his annus horribilis budget of 2012.
There is talk of a democratic deficit. Four million voters voted for UKIP but they only won a single seat; the Greens also polled a million and also had to settle for a solitary seat. The Tories espy a healthier majority in 2020 so do not expect electoral reform to feature in Parliament this next five years. Our politicians look like they are serving themselves and they are as they have probably done for the past 200 years.
This time though I think the public needs to galvanise a national movement for change using the social networks. In America, voters can petition their state governments. Just 100,000 signatures will ensure that it appears on the ballot paper. Whilst there is much to detest about America’s democracy this is a beacon for the rest of the democratic world to ape. Hand power back to the people.
For the moment, the EU is centre stage. There is a simple manoeuvre which could change our perspective of the waste and corruption that exists in countries below the “Grape Line” – that is Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece et al – and that is instead of spending £12m a month moving Brussels to Strasbourg (which of course France’s loves) why not make it compulsory for all MEPs to have to return to their own parliaments to give a record of themselves? This way at least we would know who they are. We would also know what was on the EU agenda. At the moment no-one knows or cares.
Finally, I do find it mildly amusing that the Labour Party has a constitution which forbids a non-MP from standing as its leader. No I am not suggesting a “bring back David Miliband” type candidate. I just think all of its members should be eligible. It is after all supposed to be the party of the people.