.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The problems with campaigning

It must be very difficult to fight an anti-establishment campaign from within the cabinet. Some might say that it is well-nigh impossible and that could well be why Peter Hain is making so little progress in his bid to become Deputy Leader. His problem is that the very left wing activists can often find it difficult to distinguish between his actions and comments and those of the cabinet.

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying here. I happen to think that Peter Hain has had a good ten years as a Minister. Above all else he is competent and a safe pair of hands, and that is why I believe that he has survived the few occasions that he has gone off-piste in his public utterances.

This time it is different however. He is trying to carve out a niche for himself to win votes and in the process he has upset a number of his cabinet colleagues. The latest Minister to get the hump with Mr. Hain is Home Secretary, John Reid. He has accused the Welsh Secretary of creating a row over new anti-terrorism measures to further his ambitions to become Labour's deputy leader:

In a letter to Tony Blair, Mr Reid condemned the Northern Ireland secretary's behaviour over proposals to give the police stop-and-question powers.

He accused Mr Hain of pressing for an extension of powers used in Northern Ireland and then protesting to the prime minister when Mr Reid in turn proposed them. The protest helped ensure they were dropped from a package of measures put to the Commons on Thursday.

"I must admit to being perplexed at the correspondence on this issue from Peter, given that this was a power which he himself had specifically pressed you for," Mr Reid said, in a letter passed to the London Evening Standard.

Peter Hain is of course right in saying that there is "a grave risk that the new power will act as a recruiting sergeant for extremism". However, Mr Reid told the Prime Minister that Mr Hain "was the only proposer of this measure" on stop-and-question leaving doubts as to why the matter had been raised in the first place.

Mr. Hain says that his criticism was not on the substance of the powers but the way in which they were portrayed as tough and warlike in a Sunday newspaper. I wonder how the activists will see it.

Update: Hain responds by accusing the Home Secretary of 'fanning' the row: Asked if he had supported similar powers in the past, he said: "What you've seen in the papers is actually not true. That's all I'm going to say about it". It is war!
I think that Peter Hain should come back to his liberal roots and join the Liberal Democrats. That is where he truly belongs.

Mind you, that would mean thinking less of his ego and more of his principles.

Do you think he is capable of that?

More to the point, do you think the Liberal Democrats would grant somebody of his calibre membership?

- Richie Northcote
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?