A few slightly random thoughts as my (second) holiday draws to a close...
Being away I haven´t been able to be as active in Bloggers` Circle as I would like. It´s hard to access other blogs using a Blackberry abroad and impossible when it is nicked (as mine was in Lisbon). But many of the blog summaries sent round every day are intriguing and having access to the web today I checked out Henry Kippin´s post at 2020PublicService Trust.
As a great fan of ´The Wire´I agree with Henry that it was a strange (not to say inept) reference for Chris Grayling to make as part of the Conservative Broken Britain attack.
The messages I got from ´The Wire´include:
The disastrous impact of city hall corruption and nepotism
The incompetent and self serving nature of most senior police officers
The links between organised crime, big business and the trade unions
The morally ambiguous nature of drug dealing and gang conflict as the only viable route for young men to establish status and make money
So which bits of this is Chris saying are right about Manchester or any other major UK city? Given that the Conservatives are the biggest party in local government does he think city hall corruption and collaboration with organised crime is widespread and if so where; Surrey, Kensington and Chelsea, North Yorkshire? Surely, we should be told.
Not that any amount of Conservative errors are benefiting Labour, certainly not according to the latest ICM Guardian poll . The other bad news for those who hope for a Labour revival is that is seems increasingly unlikely that an unopposed successor will emerge to take over if GB is ousted or falls on his sword. The British people would surely react with understandable rage if they had to witness a potentially divisive competition in the Labour Party to see who would be their next Prime Minister, especially as contenders would have to appeal not to the general voter but to the increasingly unrepresentative constituency that chooses the Labour leader.
Being on the Iberian peninsular I remembered one possible way of resolving the combination of voters´antipathy to Mr Brown and the unacceptability of an internal Labour contest to choose a replacement for the person who replaced the person the voters chose in 2005. This is the Jose Aznar option.
In 2003 Aznar chose his successor who then became the People´s Party candidate for the 2004 election (which the PP may have won without the intervention of the Madrid bombing). So Aznar stayed as PM until the election but the election campaign was fought by his successor and current PP leader Mariano Rajoy.
Under this scenario Gordon Brown remains Prime Minister until the election but the Labour Party chooses a new leader to fight that election. In this way the internal contest within the Party for its next leader is not about foisting a new Prime Minister on the country, but about choosing someone about whom the voters can make up their own mind. The other advantage of having this option in mind is that it gives Gordon more time to try to turn things round.
I`m not advocating this nor do I think it is likely (it´s not really any of my business), but difficult circumstances can lead to novel solutions and Labour certainly does face difficult circumstances.
We shouldn’t underestimate how far our societies have pulled apart. Yet there is hope for renewal, says Anthony Painter. The question is not whether we come together – but how.