Saturday 9 October 2010

The Charlie Whelan guide to not gloating

"I'm not going to go around crowing", says Charlie Whelan of the Labour leadership result.

Yet the rest of his lengthy Times interview (£) with Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, also reported in the Guardian, suggests that Whelan is a practioner of the Willie Whitelaw school of not gloating, with Whelan warming up for writing of his forthcoming book on his life in poltiics, New Labour and the mediaby scattering potshots at his political enemies, even while worrying that the "soap opera" aspects of the leadership election were a distraction.

So I rather suspect that David Milband might well take Whelan's injunction to personal modesty in the party's interests with more than a small pinch of salt: "It was slightly self-indulgent to just go off. It didn't look good ... Politician losing top job is not a tragedy. It’s personally uncomfortable but that’s all. This is why David’s attitude annoys me. He didn’t get the job but it’s not a disaster. Get a life.”

If Whelan would like the credit for the leadership result, he acknowledges that he didn't get the Shadow Chancellor he wanted

Whelan does himself exemplify the point that trade unions can't dictate to their members how to cast their individual votes. (Whelan does thinks the electoral college will have to be reformed, saying it is a "no brainer" that nobody should have more than one vote in the election overall).

Yet for all of the effort that Unite put in for Ed Miliband (or, to be more accurate about the motivation, against David), the union's own political director cast his first vote not for his union's preferred candidate, but instead for his old ally Ed Balls.

“He’s an old friend and I feel loyal to him. The voting system allowed me to be indulgent", he said.

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