Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Labours Forgotten Asset?

I just want to raise the question to see if anyone bites.

Is Labours best chance of a partial recovery to abandon Brown and bring back Blair? Obviously Tony Blair is not an MP so I do not believe it would be conceivable that he could come back as party leader. Speculative challengers are all in the "Blairites"camp, and are known as such for their affection towards Labours most successful leader. It should be remembered that not only was Tony Blair an election winning machine, he is still the person who can claim to have won the last General Election. Blair would command the party in a way like no one in the Parliamentary Labour Party could even dream of.

It is not just Blairite MP's that might be keen, as Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandleson would certainly be happy to play a role in steering the ship towards some kind of recovery.

The way I see it, it looks like whether there is an election in June or if it runs until next year there are fundamental questions that the Labour Party need to answer about it's own identity. The New Labour project has not transformed the Old Labour Party, root and branch. It did a good job of keeping the factions united for a long time, but that has melted away and the party seems to be divided. Labour will need to search and answer questions on its ideology and where it wants to go. I personally do not believe that the Old Labour mantra will be successful in terms of electoral appeal, and I suspect the Blairites feel the same. In fact I suspect strongly that Tony Blair himself feels the same.

I wonder what the Labour grass-roots would think to a puppet Blairite being installed as party leader to fight an election this year, with Blair, Mandelson and Campbell fighting their corner? Blair might even be prepared to be the one to tell Brown that time is up - I am not sure that there are two many in Browns circle that would be prepared to do so now. I cannot think of a bigger potential electoral challenge to David Cameron's Conservatives coming from the Labour Party - can any one else?

Potentially, if the Blairites can not succeed in setting the direction of Labours policy, there is a real possibility that the next generation of centre-left political star performers may look instead to the Liberal Democrats. I am pretty sure that the prospect of this happening so soon after Labours big triumphs must be causing some sleepless nights.

Let me be clear, I am speculating, and I do not think even Tony Blair could come back and win the next election, but if Labour are serious about dodging a landslide defeat and over a decade in the wilderness I think they need to look to the guy they benched two years ago and literally beg him to get back into the game... [and maybe politely suggest that Cherie play more of a behind the scenes role.]


scunnert said...

Unelected Canadian Prime Minister John Turner:

"... if the leader of the governing party is changed before an election is due and the new leader is not a Member of Parliament, he or she will normally await the general election before running for a seat. For example, John Turner was briefly Prime Minister in 1984 without being a member of the House of Commons ..."

Daniel1979 said...

That is interesting Scunnert, I wonder if a) such an action is allowed at home, and b) how that would work.. for example PM questions, the form of accountability etc..

I wonder also if the Queen would be prepared to refuse a leadership change and dissolve Parliament if such an action was attempted, given that one leadership change has already occurred and that Labour have broken so many manifesto pledges this term.

Anonymous said...

We shall see....