Friday, April 27, 2007

Anyone but Brown?

Given the number of 'anyone but Ken' campaigns surrounding the forthcoming London Mayoral elections it is almost a surprise that the anti-Brown Labourites have not done the same. However it has emerged today that a deal has been struck, and John McDonnell (left) is to be the left wingers opponent to Brown in the coronation / contest / battle (delete as applicable) for the Labour leadership.

To be fair he seems to be leaving no campaigning tool unused. He has a Facebook profile with 338 friends. His blog has been used to attack the credibility of Meacher as a candidate. He even has a manifesto 'Another World Is Possible', downloadable campaign material and a series of videos where he sets out his platform on issues ranging from world poverty to climate change.

Why the effort, given that it is the Labour members and not the public who have the power in this election? Well he seems to want his support to come from below. The public should petition their Labour MP, join his campaign and establish a ground swell of support. He wants to be the next Blair and Cameron, not in terms of politics, but the leader chosen on the basis that the public want them to be leader. Rightly, he sees public antipathy for Brown as his opportunity. But is he the man that can capture public support? He clearly has ideas and positions himself as a modern socialist visionary, but are these ideas that will have resonance with the British public? Or rather can he emerge as the people's choice. If the web has power to launch a candidate then maybe, but if his ideas prove out of step with the 'voter in the street' he may just be another leftie with ideas and a platform but not the support to put the ideas into practice.

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