Monday, June 25, 2007

yay for Harriet

I think Harriet Harman winning the Deputy Leadership is good news. It means that our members are focused on winning the next election and think that we need some changes in policy direction and to acknowledge past mistakes to help us win that election.

One of Harman's key messages right from the beginning was that she was the candidate who would appeal to swing voters, and that message got through to people. Whether or not that turns out to be the case, we shall see, but I know plenty of people in Liverpool who made up their minds to vote for her because although they didn't agree with everything she was saying they thought she was best placed to appeal to middle-class southerners. I don't get the sense that most Tory Party members at the moment are so prepared to put aside their own personal views in the quest for electoral success.

The stance she took on Iraq, Trident, housing and inequality were ones which members shared (seen also in Jon Cruddas' strong showing). A few people got very excited about how she had changed her mind and abandoned her principles, but more didn't care about that and were pleased to see candidates acknowledging past mistakes. Following Jon Cruddas' policy platform may have attracted scowls and jeers from insiders, but it was the right thing to do. Cruddas was another winner out of the election campaign, and I think that he'd be better at the moment as a housing minister than as one of the main public faces of the Labour government.

She might not have been the activists' choice, but it's a good choice and one made for the right reasons. And after months of drift, we're back in the lead in the polls and things are looking up.

5 Comments:

At 12:07 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

I agree completely. I was quite impressed by her performance during the contest, and almost gave her my first preference (I ended up voting 1 Benn, 2 Harman, 3 Johnson, 4 Blears, 5 Cruddas, 6 Hain). I'm also pleased that Cruddas did well enough to make the result look like a victory for the left, even though I was too doubtful about his suitability for the post to pref him highly.

No-one has any illusions about Harman's conversion to the left, but humility seems a better electoral approach to the legacy of past divisive/unpopular decisions than Blearsesque brazen defiance. I do think it's important that, as a Southern woman, she provides a balance to the ticket - contrary to others who have done a detailed analysis of the yougov poll she trumpeted, I think the important thing is not if she appeals to the people we most need to win an election (that's Brown's job) but that she appeals to different people to Brown.

On a personal note, I was pleased to see her endorsing regularisation during the campaign. In contrast to Cruddas, who seems ideologically wedded to the Strangers in Citizens proposal - a very right-wing regularisation proposal which could harm more migrants than it benefits and whose campaign threatens to divide migrants movements rather than unite them - Harman seems willing to consider a range of regularisation proposals. Possibly she's come to this conclusion through her links with the TGWU, who are presently the union taking regularisation most seriously.

Not sure Cruddas will get Housing Minister. If reports are true, Brown will make it a high-profile Cabinet position and give the relevant Minister the resources to make it a success (well, compared to the last 10 years anyway; I doubt we'll build the 2 million houses we need). I think he's much more likely to give a ministry whose work is likely to be considered a high-profile success to one of his supporters than Cruddas - probably Yvette Cooper will keep it. In an irony-laced way it could show Brown is going to take housing more seriously if he appoints Yvette Cooper to the role than if he appoints Jon Cruddas.

 
At 2:33 pm , Blogger Commissar said...

I disagree with you on the last point Tim. Cruddas has lead the debate on housing during the campaign and, like many other issues, where Cruddas went the others followed.

To give Cruddas the Housing job would give a great impetus to the proposals to build more social and affordable homes

And with Cooper being such a Brownite I'd imagine a promotion will be on the cards for her come Wednesday

 
At 3:24 pm , Blogger Owen said...

Now that she's won the election, her leftish rhetoric doesn't seem to have lasted very long: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6236412.stm.

Looks like business as usual...

 
At 10:46 am , Anonymous Pickles said...

Jon Cruddas will not be anywhere near housing.

It is my view that Yvette Cooper will stay as minister for housing but will be sitting in cabinet - but she may not get full cabinet or SoS rank.

 
At 11:47 am , Blogger C4' said...

I think that you are an utter moron and cunt!

 

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