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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Peter Hain and the hand of history

In the Western Mail yesterday the former Shadow Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain gave us the benefit once more of his political wisdom and knowledge with the claim that Labour will struggle to win the next general election outright and should be ready to go into coalition with Liberal Democrats.

He may well be right, but if he is I hope that Labour are more prepared to negotiate as equals than they have been in the past.

Hain's political analysis and understanding of history is a bit one dimensional and he struggles with the history of the Liberal Party, which he was once a member of. For example he says:

"It seems likely that the ’Orange Book’ Lib Dem leadership – which hijacked their Party and took it into bed with the Tories – will be rejected by a membership desperate to restore the tradition of ... Lloyd George"

Perhaps Mr. Hain has overlooked the fact that Lloyd George also took his party into a coalition with the Tories.
Actually, it's worse than that, because Lloyd George split his party several ways in 1916 and took a small, mostly right-wing rump into coalition with the Tories (the left merged with the emerging Labour party, the centre continued under Asquith and Maclean). Then, just to make matters more bewildering, he split the Liberal party three ways again in 1931, leading a radical left splinter group composed almost entirely of his own children into exile by refusing to join the national government. I don't think even the most ardent left-wing member of your party would be anxious to restore that tradition. Anyone who deals with Lloyd George's career needs to be very very careful, because you can draw just about any parallel you like from it. What makes it more surprising is that I gather Hain fancies himself as a bit of an historian
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