Saturday 30 January 2010

Back to the future ... or not

I have set out why I am very sceptical about the conventional Westminster wisdom that Gordon Brown made a political mistake in calling the Iraq inquiry, because it is perfectly obvious that he would be getting slaughtered politically and in the media had he not called it, and that the conventional wisdom would then be that he only had himself to blame for such an obvious unforced error.

Now, watch out for a further twist. Let's find out whether any of those who have warned about the dangers of dredging up old ghosts also turn out to be tempted by a "Why Labour must regret that it ever let Tony go?" meme.

My ex-colleague Martin Bright is first out of the blocks with the eye-catching journalistic conceit of Tony Blair? The next Labour prime minister, but I rather doubt he will be the last.

Bright writes:

I was not a great fan of Blair in power. I do not share his politics. But watching yesterday's performance I couldn't help thinking back to when he first left office. I appeared on Newsnight at the time and argued that there would be a massive Blair-shaped hole in British politics when he was gone ...

In its present mood, Labour will never have him back, but that may just be a sign of the depth of the crisis within the party.

Well, that could certainly be one strategy to make a 2015 or even 2020 General Election about the Iraq war of 2003 as well. As we saw yesterday, Blair remains sincerely committed to the decisions for which he was responsible, while his defence further entrenches the views of his opponents and supporters.

The real depth of a Labour crisis would be in believing that only an ex-leader could offer leadership in future.

So, if Martin wants to try to shake off that despair, perhaps he might find useful a bracing polemic It's over: Labour's only hope is the next generation in The Spectator for the last party conference.

the next generation [should] begin seizing control of the party. The fortysomethings who now dominate the Cabinet have left it far too late to move against the Blair-Brown duumvirate that held the party in thrall for too long.

Its a piece from "a lifelong Labour supporter, on why all of those who have led the party to its present sorry state must now stand aside".

By one Martin Bright.


Unknown said...

I really enjoyed watching Tony blair on Friday at the enquiry, streamed live in twitter by politics home. It was also interesting to follow conversations about it in twitter for example comments about Nick Robinson showing his Tory beliefs. It now seems that Gordon Brown made a good decision to hold the enquiry at this time.
I'm looking forward to seeing more of Tony Blair and what he can do for Labour during the election campaign.

Robert said...

And me hopefully he will do enough to give Cameron a landslide.