Saturday, April 21, 2007

In search of unity

"If we question the path we are travelling then we question our very existence... if we allow our supreme leader to be opposed openly it will damage the very fabric of our society... any election must act as an expression of unity in the face of our opponents"

This is the interpretation of Joseph Stalin's arguments against democracy as offered by my political theory lecturer Geriant Williams as copied religiously from his slides. Bizarrely these sentiments are now being echoed in a Blairite led argument against Charles Clarke standing against Brown and so having a contest for leader of the party and nation.

A contest would be a distraction, it would divide the party, it would create camps, it would expose the arguments for not having Brown as leader. Well perhaps this is required, it may only give voice to sentiments that are already in the public sphere care of the media. But dividing the party is a big statement; the Cameron/Davis campaign did not split the Conservatives; even the disastrous events of the Liberal Democrat leadership contest did not create open battle lines. There appears to be a real fear within the Labour central office of the effects of a contest, however the fact that the deals and arguments are made public means everyone is aware of it all and it could be as damaging, if not more so, as a leadership contest. Perhaps this is the last gasp of control freakery.


RICHARD said...

But both the Liberals - a sniff of shared power - and the Tories - we wnat power back, we miss it after 10 years - have a different context on which to paste this idea of open lerdership battles.

Labour after 10 years are riven with division (as all parties seem to be after a 2nd term) - Who, knowing this would then open themselves up to scrutiny??

Darren G. Lilleker said...

But, could a proper contest not heal division where as suppression drives discontent and the off the record briefings against Brown in the lobby. I think the issue here is which is most damaging, an open debate on the future of the party or the indecorous back-biting and speculation. Clarke said some quite damagign things about Brown, fine that is his right; if he stands he should then argue why he would be better - a democratic election with an open playing field would at least get the malcontents to put up or shut up.

Rose said...

I agree with Darren, they Will lose without a proper debate. With one ...something might just emerge to stop the rot.

A Malcontent said...

I am currently standing as a councillor for Labour and the people on the doorsteps want a unified party with a real direction not the managers that they see currently or just more of the same in a different guise. The best thing we could do is have a proper election where voting is informed by the public not hte party. All the Westminster squad want is a promotion and they are too scared to say a thing unless their careers are dead in the water already (like Clarke). If we crown Brown or have a pathetic election between Brown and some no-hopers we will lose the election, if we encourage talentt to stand and make a strong case there may be some more excitement in the party for a change. The party needs a good kick up the backside and a proper election will do this. (sadly I would like to put my name to that but if someone from the top reads it they might get in touch, that says a lot too)

Anonymous said...

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