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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Labour splits and bad memories

The Guardian carried an article yesterday that illustrated how badly split Labour remain foll0wing on from the trauma of the Gordon Brown premiership.

The controversy even conjures up the ghost of former Labour spin-doctor, Damien McBride who resigned after it was reported that he had sent a series of emails to former Labour Party official Derek Draper discussing plans to set up the controversial Red Rag blogsite which would be used to post rumours they had made up about the private lives of senior members of the Conservative Party and their spouses.

The paper says that The Purple Book, which includes a chapter by Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, on re-engaging communities with politics and which is regarded as Blairite in approach, was described by opponents in anonymous briefings published yesterday as "lazy" and "idiotic". They say that supporters of the book, have hit back, claiming the attacks were reminiscent of McBride's actions:

A senior figure in the Labour party told the Observer that while Miliband and those around him had previously called for the party to re-engage with ideas and let a thousand flowers bloom, "it would seem some people don't want a thousand flowers to bloom, hence this Damian McBride-style briefing".

He added: "This hasn't been the hallmark of Ed Miliband's operation and he has put great store in removing himself from this kind of thing." That was why, he said, the latest briefing had "caused a great deal of alarm".

The split comes in the run-up to the party conference, where tensions now seem set to become public. There are concerns within the Blairite wing that Miliband has moved himself too far towards the ideas of Glasman, who claims the party needs to re-engage with traditional working-class issues such as the family and patriotism. Miliband announced on taking leadership of the party that the era of New Labour was dead. While the Labour leader has managed to reassert his authority over the party in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, during which he was an impressive performer, the are continuing doubts about whether he has the ability to win a general election.

It does not look like Ed Miliband will have a very comfortable party conference.
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