The New Labour party's day is over, their leadership is in a mess and they've pretty much handed prime ministership to David Cameron. Here's why:
David Cameron has been handed the easiest job in politics this week in Bournemouth as he makes his first annual conference address to the Conservatives as their leader. All he needs to do is appear at the conference, smile at everyone and give the impression that he knows what he's doing. The voters will do the rest of the work for him.
Labour's 2006 Manchester conference was a catastrophe! Gordon Brown was portrayed as the scheming usurper with psychological defects. John Prescott apologized to everyone other than his wife about his questionable behaviour and John Reid tryed to demonstrate the party's machochism to whoever was interested.
For some reason however, Labour's ministers declared the conference a success! I don't know how they reached this conclusion. The party has shaken the public's belief that they are capable of running the nation without descending into a cloud of rivalries, backstabbing and silence between the ministers presided over by a charismatic crowd pleaser who doesn't know when it's time to quit.
Tony Blair has practically handed his job over on a plate to David Cameron. He made an announcement some time ago to say that he was leaving but then decided to stay on because he couldn't trust Gordon Brown. His wife thinks Gordon Brown is a liar. I'm sure there were some motives involved in believing his wife other than the well-being of the nation.
I'm fairly certain that there will be a considerable period of more backstabbing, cold shoulders and other insane beaureaucratic goings on before Tony finally does decide to leave. He has now told us that it will be sometime around March but I think that it would probably be a better idea for him to leave in January.
I don't have anything against Tony Blair, I believe that he has done a lot of good for the country and has worked hard but now he needs to know when to let go.
There won't be any ascension of Brown to power as the Blairites have done their utmost to destroy his image in the eyes of the public. He's portrayed as a cold calculating backstabber with no cares about the public and who is intent on building his own personal empire. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant as the outcome is the same.
This is manna for the Tories. David Cameron will have another year to establish himself as the agreeable leader of a relatively intelligent and united political party of the centre right. Certainly, there are concerns in some opinion polls about his policies – he doesn’t really have any. He has postures instead – on the environment, on human rights, on Iraq and not being too close to the Americans. This is post-modern politics.
However it's pointless for Cameron to worry about his policies because no matter what policies he may have, they'll look good in the eyes of the public compared to the Blair administration's pitiful excuse of a government which isn't quite sure where they are on the political map, if they even have one.
This used to be a satirical aside, but it is now plain fact. Look at what the Labour leader said about the Conservatives: he attacked Cameron for wanting to “hug” criminals, introduce a bill of rights and for having made critical remarks about American foreign policy. This was an invitation by Blair for John Reid to launch himself at the Labour leadership as the champion of the authoritarian populist right. Blair clearly doesn’t trust Brown on this agenda, and the chancellor has been largely silent on the war against terrorism and on crime.
Reid is definetly the aggresive force in the party, always ready to tell us that terrorists cannot expect to be treated fairly by the law, that muslim groups better toe the line and that immigrants are inferior to Britons.
All this is from the man who spent a lost weekend with Radovan Karadzic, punched a Commons attendant who wouldn’t let him into the chamber because he was drunk; who almost came to blows with Donald Dewar at the 1999 Labour conference over his son Kevin Reid’s involvement in “Lobbygate”; and who was accused by the parliamentary standards commissioner, Elizabeth Filkin, of intimidating witnesses in a parliamentary inquiry. What a CV.
If Reid gets Prime Minister then you can expect to remain best friends with the Americans, a whole new set of wars in the middle east and the Trident program to be re-activated.
This is all doing Cameron’s job for him. It is making him sound like the embodiment of calm reason. Presenting him as a liberal has been the PR strategy of the Notting Hill Tories as they try to undo the awful image of Thatcherism and appeal to modern voters. But now Labour is the “nasty party”, sounding like Norman Tebbit – or at least one part of it is. Civil war has broken out in Labour between the social authoritarians and the social democrats; between the populist right and the reformed left.
Blairites believe that Brown would loosen ties with America and would put civil freedoms before the safety of citizens (in a healthy manner). The vast majority of the party are in accordance. They also believe that mistakes were made over the Iraq war, that parliament needs to be strengthened against the government and overall the solution to crime is to create a fairer society.
Crime has fallen, overall, under Labour, largely thanks to the chancellor’s policies which have made work pay and created jobs. But to hear Reid and Blair talk, you would think we were in the middle of a crime wave, caused by liberal judges releasing paedophiles and terrorists to attack law-abiding citizens in their homes.
They do this because populists know crime chimes with the public. Law and order has always been an easy way to win short-term support, that’s why the Tories used to play the crime/immigration/ terrorism card. But as Michael Howard discovered in 2005, voters make a broader choice at election time, especially when the LibDem vote is added. Labour is unlearning the lessons of the last two elections.
Cameron may have lost his policies, but Labour has lost its political senses., succumbing to mad party disease, just as the Tories did after Thatcher’s fall 16 years ago. And for the first time since the early 1990s there is now a real prospect of a Conservative government.