Saturday, December 30, 2006

On Renewal

PragueTory wrote a rather good post on the subject of Renewal of the Labour party. About whether the Labour party has will be able to renew itself and once again capture the hearts and minds of the voters in the way it did in 1997. He suggests that at the moment Brown is very much associated with the status quo, and that if Brown gets to be PM without a fight renewal is an impossiblity and Labour will be launched on the road to electoral defeat. I think he might be right.

I admire Brown, his handling of the economy has been very good (not perfect IMO) but he has presided over years of steady growth in the economy, and left a trail of shadow chanellors in his wake. The problem with Brown I feel is the way that most people view him, the view I get from people is that he is not that likable and not that trustworthy. Brown has his virtues, but they have been very much overshadowed by the more general perception of him as a dour accountant.

What I feel that Gordon will need is a fight, he needs to have his ideas challenged and he needs to reaffirm his passion for his beliefs and he needs to convince the electorate that he is the right person to take the country into the future. A leadership contest is, I feel, the perfect platform for this. The Tory (less said about Lib dems affair the better) leadership contest was a brilliant example of this, as the candidates debated the issues they gained a newfound respect for each other, the whole affair really reinvigorated the Tory party.

While the nature of the Labour party's renewal will have to be different, the electorate will be much more willng to accept a Gordon Brown who has had fight for his position as leader. To that end I would like to see John McDonnell (I would like to see another candidate as well*, but I'm not sure if anyone else will stand) get enough signatures to stand for the leadership, if he gets his signatures, he is far more of a threat since in a leadership contest vote is divided between trade union members, grassroots members and Labour MP's. McDonnell has good support among the grassroots members and is likely to get a good deal of support from the unions. Although I feel Brown would win, I don't think he could afford to be complacent.

*although not Michael Meacher

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

1 comment:

Tom Freeman said...

I agree. I'm probably more of a Brown fan than you, but I definitely think he'd benefit from being tested in a leadership contest. Actually, I think the party would benefit from it as well.

It'd be a bit odd to have Brown winning by default on the day nominations close, with maybe two months of a deputy contest still to come.