Sunday, August 03, 2008

The TB GB's are back, and this time it's war

Well the Mail on Sunday has a bit of a scoop this morning. They have a copy of a secret memo allegedly written by Tony Blair after last years conference season that slates Brown for suffering from "lamentable confusion of tactics and strategy", failing to learn lessons, and doing everything to ensure that a fourth Labour term would not be won.

Assuming the memo is genuine, it is a devastating blast from Blair at Brown and will keep up the pressure and the reinforce the general view that he is a complete failure. It seems quiyte clear that, in the wake of the positioning by Miliband this week that the Blairites are now flexing their muscles and trying to force significant change in the direction Labour is going.

They says that chickens have a tendency to come home to roost, and this latest intervention, which is clearly a deliberate leak looks very much like the return fire from the coup attempt of September 2006 that forced Blair to set a date for departure. It seems highly unlikely that a memo like this would have been leaked without Blair's knowledge. The memo, where Blair writes about himself in the third person said,
'I am passing this message on to GB – not in these terms – and will try to help; but at present, there is every indication that the lessons will not be learnt.

'There has been a lamentable confusion of tactics and strategy. Tactically, it was thought clever to define by reference to TB i.e. this was not the era of spin, we are going to be honest, the style would change etc.

'Strategically the consequence was twofold: a) we dissed our own record – instead of saying we are building on the achievements, confronting new challenges, we joined in the attack on our own ten years – a fatal mistake if we do not correct it and b) because we were disowning ourselves as a government, we junked the TB policy agenda but had nothing to put in its place.

'So tactically we took the benefit of the anti-TB feeling, but strategically, we ended up accepting our opponents’ propaganda and appearing incapable of articulating a forward policy agenda.

'The real problem was not the brilliance of the Tory conference, but the hubris and vacuity of our own. This meant the Tories, by having something to say on policy, appeared substantial and to represent the future.

'The truth is that DC was in trouble long before TB left, but that was because he was being forced to choose on NL policy and found as a result that he couldn’t differentiate properly. The Tory policy is still not up to much but they are able to get traction on inheritance tax – unbelievably boosted by our own briefing – because otherwise the policy field is left wide open. DC is confused by proper strategy but immensely empowered by short-term tactics.

'The choice is and was always between GB running as the change candidate or as continuity NL. He never needed to worry about distancing on Iraq – it was never going to be seen as his issue; but he really needed to be seen as continuing NL not ditching it. By trying to be change, he played exactly the same game the media wanted but never the game that gives us the only chance of a 4th term.'
As I said earlier this week, I don't think this current crisis in Labour is going to actually force Brown to stand down because Brown's character is the sort to dig his heels in. However, it does signal that open civil warfare will define the Labour Party in the coming months.

Brown will continue to limp along whilst his authority ebbs away further until Labour faces electoral wipe out and then the Blairites will move. The real question is whether the Labour Party can actually survive such open sectarianism and who will win such a battle this time.


John M Ward said...

Fascinating! I suspect it might be essentially genuine, but re-worked prior to being leaked. Interestingly, there doesn't appear to be any indication of who the original recipient(s) of this memo was/were...

The timing of the leak is intriguing too, coming during the Mili-bland business. This is one to watch and see what unfolds.

Anonymous said...

Genuine? Go to the post above. This is as genuine as my third testicle...

Claire Khaw said...

I cannot imagine any sensible person in the Labour government wanting to lead the Labour Party to defeat in the next election. A Camoronian premiership is a historical inevitability, surely?

Nor can I understand why Brown will not formally stake his claim on his absolute right to lead Labour into defeat at the next general election.

Blair is the only other "sensible person" left in the Labour Party fit to lead it into defeat ...

Perhaps he should be invited back into government and a by election arranged to let him back in if he be fool enough to accept.

This would be my advice to the Labour Party anyway.

As for the new policies required to bring enliven Labour's lacklustre performance and policy drift, may I suggest proposals to:

(1) introduce an elitist and rationalist one-party state run along the lines of the host of the Olympics 2008 who are doing so well for themselves

(2) reintroduce capital punishment and the principle of condign and economical punishment of criminals

(3) constitutionally establish the principle of limited government

(4) abolish the welfare state

(5) introduce compulsory health insurance and dividing its provision into

(a) basic
(b) standard
(c) luxury

(6) give the British a referendum on the EU on an "in or out" basis

(7) disestablish the Church of England (and break the too-long connection with defeat, decline and dementia) and invite "tenders" from other faiths to replace it. The Muslims will probably have a few ideas about how Anglican Islam could be established.

(8) reinforce the British tradition of having a "Special Poodle Relationship" with the world's superpower and henceforth take active steps to become a Pekingese lapdog

(9) allow children to learn Mandarin in British schools as they used to learn European languages

(10) withdraw child benefit from any parent unable to produce

(a) a marriage certificate and

(b) a man willing to acknowledge paternity

to prevent Britain becoming officially "one of the lands of illegitimacy, illiteracy and innumeracy"

This should be distraction enough to keep people talking till well after the next general election.