Monday, July 28, 2008

Ten terrible arguments

One of the things about losing a by-election is that it offers commentators the chance to regurgitate a kind of Greatest Hits parade of terrible advice for the Labour Party. In no particular order, here are the top ten:

1. "Gordon Brown has to go because while he is very bright, he is not charismatic and people think he is a bit weird and a policy geek. Labour's next leader should be David Miliband."

2. "Labour should spend upwards of £1 million which it hasn't got on holding an election for the next leader. This is a better use for money that Labour doesn't have than communicating with the electorate or hiring organisers to mobilise campaign volunteers."

3. "Labour should spend the next few months having an internal debate about its future, with lots of candidates standing with more or less identical policies. This worked really well during the Deputy Leadership contest."

4. "Gordon Brown should resign and be replaced by the one who announced that he wasn't up to the job of being Prime Minister."

5. "Labour should hold a general election this year under a new leader, because it is better to be guaranteed to lose an election now then probably lose an election in two years time."

6. "Labour could change its leader, and carry on governing until 2010 with the same policies, and this would be likely to lead to a better election result."

7. "The next leader of the Labour Party should adopt a radical set of policies completely different from the ones Labour was elected on in 2005, based on demands from the trade unions around making it easier to go on strike. This will make Labour more popular."

8. "The one who the Tories really fear is James Purnell."

9. "Labour MPs are more likely to be re-elected if they spend their time talking to journalists and each other about who the next leader should be rather than spending every possible moment available campaigning in their constituency."

10. "He's tanned, he's rested, he's ready. Bring back Tony Blair."

21 Comments:

At 9:39 pm , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...

Here's a couple more for the list:

"[...] there may not BE a Labour Party to lead unless we can kill off New Labour - and get rid of the Blairites and Brownites."

"Forget Middle England - they have gone back to the Conservatives"

 
At 10:57 pm , Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

This is an excellent post.

 
At 11:33 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

I think we should've given Barack Obama a go while he was over here. He could have had a turn for two months, single-handedly restoring the fortunes of the Labour Party and steering the UK away from recession. Then people in the US would elect him so he could do the same thing over there.

But Brown dithered about offering him the top job, and while he was making his mind up, Obama was off back to the US again.

 
At 9:17 am , Blogger Tom Freeman said...

11. "Gordon Brown is uncharismatic, lacks vision and has been around for too long. He should be replaced by Jack Straw, working under the slogan ‘I’ll try not to lose the next election too hugely’."

12. "My favourite policy ideas have always been X, Y and Z. These would be sure to win back the lost voters."

13. "With the growing economic problems, the next election may be a good one to lose. In opposition, we'll be able to regroup and renew the party calmly and effectively. Plus I really like being in opposition: you get to shout a lot."

 
At 1:20 pm , Anonymous Daniel Blaney said...

Here are some more terrible arguments:

"Brown is a really unpopular Prime Minister so he should stay."

"We can't get rid of Brown because it would mean somebody really right wing taking over."

"Brown is really experienced he knows what he is doing taking the party down to a terrible defeat".

 
At 6:35 pm , Blogger Robert said...

Here is a good one, who the hell cares.

 
At 8:01 pm , Anonymous a.h. said...

And more:

"The way to restore Labour's popularity is to speed up the involvement of private companies in public services and charge people for things that are now free."

"We are massively unpopular so the last thing we should do is move to the left as that will make us massively unpopular."

"I supported Tony Blair as leader because I thought he was a secret social democrat. Then for a long time I thought he was persuadable but I was wrong. I then supported Gordon Brown for leader because I thought he was a secret social democrat. Then for some time I thought he was persuadable but I was wrong. So now we must support the Milibands/Douglas Alexander/Ed Balls for leader because they are secret social democrats or at least open to persuasion."

 
At 8:03 pm , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...

Yawn.

 
At 8:40 pm , Anonymous jdc said...

14. The reason we're going to lose the election is that housing has become too affordable. We need to give a lot of taxpayers' money to banks to keep it expensive.

(If they go through with that scheme and think I'm going near a door, telephone, or leaflet in the next two years, they can whistle.)

15. Harriet Harman can win it for us, no woman leader has ever lost a General Election in the UK.

 
At 10:31 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

jdc, aren't there well-known dangers in you going near leaflets, though?

 
At 8:15 am , Blogger jdc said...

Tim, I write phenomenal leaflets, and I deliver like a demon.

The only risk factors are what happens when I set fire to Green leaflets (who'd have thought they were so flammable!) and when people badger me about tiresome foreign policy issues when I'm trying to sort out decent homes, better bus services, and effective waste collection.

 
At 5:05 pm , Blogger ejh said...

The only risk factors are what happens when I set fire to Green leaflets

How extraordinarily democratic of you.

 
At 8:53 pm , Anonymous dirty european socialist said...

This post is right. The PM has saved millions of lives in africa with his aid policies he is a good guy. Milliband seems nice too but there is no hurry to change.

 
At 7:48 am , Anonymous Mike said...

"The next leader of the Labour Party should adopt a radical set of policies completely different from the ones Labour was elected on in 2005, based on demands from the trade unions around making it easier to go on strike. This will make Labour more popular."

Don, I say this with all possible respect, but this is an uninformed caricature which would sit better on page 23 of the Daily Mail. First of all, it should be fairly apparent to everyone that if Labour fights the next election on the same platform as it fought the last one, we will lose. It may be unfair on "poor Gordon" as someone described him to me the other day, but it's the reality.

Secondly, the union's "demands" at the NPF were not based around making it easier to go on strike. Yes there were proposals around supportive action, but actually most of the demands were about things like hospital cleaning, fair pay for public service workers, etc.

What would you suggestions be, to help us win the next election? Stick with what we're doing at the moment? How's that going?

 
At 8:48 am , Blogger jdc said...

"How extraordinarily democratic of you."

Once they put them through my door, they become my property, to keep, sell or destroy, as I see fit.

Given my limited storage space and their frankly pitiful resale value, I thought fire would be most fun.

Democracy doesn't really enter into it. More classical capitalism and property rights, really.

 
At 5:43 pm , Blogger donpaskini said...

Some excellent suggestions for other terrible arguments.

In answer to mike - Yes, number 7 was a caricature, as were several others.

But to be more serious, if we get a more left-wing leader with a policy platform which is closer to what the unions are calling for, then it needs to come complete with a strategy for how to respond to the absolutely ferocious assault from the other parties and the media that will come (backed up by briefings from disgruntled Blairite MPs from our own party).

Harriet Harman came up with some incredibly mild anti-discrimination proposals, and they got widely reported as making it illegal to hire white men. All that most people are going to hear about any new policies that we put forward is the uninformed (or deliberately twisted) caricature.

That's not to say that adopting more leftie policies or a leftie leader would be doomed to failure (it didn't stop the congestion charge, for example), just that it needs extremely careful planning and lots of thought.

It seems at the moment that the thought is going into what policy changes to demand, with very little into how to persuade a majority that these policies are a good idea.

 
At 6:31 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

jdc, I was more thinking about the practice of setting fire to leaflets before they go through doors..

 
At 9:47 pm , Anonymous jdc said...

That is a scandalous allegation. I have never burnt anyone's house down for voting the wrong way. Not in ages.

 
At 11:09 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"while he is very bright"

And the evidential basis for this assertion is....

 
At 11:46 am , Anonymous Max said...

Good post

 
At 6:54 am , Anonymous Undecided Voter said...

"All that most people are going to hear about any new policies that we put forward is the uninformed (or deliberately twisted) caricature."

The biter bit. You and your chums in the BBC have been doing that to the Tories for decades.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home