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Saturday, July 26, 2008


As I type the TV is reporting Barrack Obama's visit to 10 Downing Street. Because the Prime Minister's meeting with John McCain was low key the same arrangements need to be applied to the Democrats' presumptive nominee. This means that there are no rallies, no joint press conferences and no opportunity for the sheen of power to rub off onto a politician seeking to establish himself in the public's affections, namely Gordon Brown.

In many ways this is just as well, the contrast might have been just too great. On the one hand there would have been a popular left-of-centre statesman who has just taken part in a robust and bruising selection contest to establish himself as his party's choice to fight the forces of reaction, a man who has come to embody the notion of change and who has grown into the role of leader as a result of the democratic challenges he faced up to and overcame.

On the other hand there would have been Gordon Brown, presiding over a divided and confused party, seemingly unprepared for the role he has taken on and entrusted with that role without any means of testing whether he was up to the job in the first place.

It is a bit late for Labour to hold its own primaries for leader, but I am sure that they will not make that mistake again. The Prime Minister personifies the reason why coronations are not a good idea in a democracy.
We'll soon see what a "divided party" looks like, Peter, when the Welsh Lib Dems' leadership contest kicks off!
That will be as democratic debate not a schism. It is something Labour did not seem so keen on when Blair stood down and now they are paying the price.
"Labour's Pain is Conservative Gain".
Am I the only progressive who is glad to see Labour enter its death throes? The sooner they're out of the way the better for real progressive politics.
Dear anonymous comment person: No, you're not the only one. And yes, I think Labour are a shower, frankly. However, thanks in large part to the terrible voting system we have here, Labour's demise generally leads to Tory victory. And that means even less progressive politics - after all, if it weren't for Labour there would have been a reduction of the time limit for abortion recently, and we certainly wouldn't have seen some of the good things they have brought to the table such as civil partnerships and an equal age of consent for homosexuals. If I thought that the death throes of the Labour Party would lead to the inexorable rise of the Liberal Democrats as the progressive party of choice, I would be clapping my hands. As it is, though some opinion polls give me a glimmer of hope, I'm not sure that's going to be the case and I'm frightened by the prospect of two or more terms of cardboard cutout Cameron and his clueless Conservative cabinet.
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