Wednesday 9 June 2010

Red or Dead Redemption.

The labour leadership contest is really a matter of supreme insignificance to the country at the moment, so we won't mention it again for a while. But well done to Dianne Abbott for beating the odds and getting a ticket to the debates.
But it is worth noting one of the most skilled operators, outside of the Mandelson / Campbell / McBride operation, has pulled off another little coup.

Harriett Harman did not stand for the leadership herself. There is a feeling that she rather likes the power of being deputy leader, without the difficulty of being the actual leader. By backing Dianne yesterday, Harriet cemented her election platform of women's rights, and added some minority agenda to it too. She has pleased the left wing of the party, pleased hers and her husband's union backers, looked considerate about the wider interests of the party and, most importantly, avoided having to back any of the other candidates who are actually going to win.
She has gained an ally from the ranks of the old guard and further embedded herself into the deputies role.

Lots of pitfalls in a leadership contest. Just ask Dianne's friend Michael !
Ms Harman seems to have avoided them all, and actually strengthened her position.
No wonder the civil service called her Hattiavelli.


Old BE said...

I think Diane Abbott will make an excellent Labour leader. For the casual observer.

measured said...

"Well, Bill. I may call you Bill, main't I?" to paraphrase Abbott, I think Harperson was thinking about herself and the next leader. She was not thinking about Abbott, although I think Abbott will be flattered. Truth is we now know what happens to those that study PPE at Oxford. Not sure I approve of this favouritism, or positive discrimination, but it seems win-win until Abbott realises she will be pushed aside.

Bill Quango MP said...

BE: She has a limited public presence. Not associated with the Brown cabinet and anti-Blair. Ethnic minority, single mum, first black woman elected to the HOC, nearly 25 years as a backbencher. On paper she looks good. In reality, she is not leadership material.

Bill Quango MP said...

Measured. Of course you may call me Bill old chap. That or the Right Hon.

I totally disagree with the favouritism. Abbott has been an MP on her own abilities for decades. Not just because its a safe seat. Other minority MPs, especially Labour ones, haven't been able to hang on.
The party should not have been compelled to put her on the ballot. She should have got on on merit. But that's the issue. Dianne, nice enough as she is, does not merit a place. She could not lead the Labour party to victory, and that is what this is about. Not an 'ideas seminar.'

If they wanted to Cooper or Harman would have got on the ballot by their own machinations.

What is a shame is Dianne can't get the deputy role. That would have been ideal for her. A sort of more literate and intelligent John Prescott. Appeals to the unions/left/sisters allowing the shadow PM to be a ... well 'Tony' Miliband.
All it would need is someone who thinks they have been cheated out of the top job, who wanted to be leader but would accept shadow chancellor, has a paranoid, bullying, sulking streak and was known to be a secret coup plotter. ... called Ed.

James Higham said...

I feel the flesh creeping.

Nick Drew said...

have been challenged by MW to produce a DigiHatti

she has not yet yielded to the power of the pixel

Steven_L said...

Will we stop getting lectured on '5 a day' etc if she becomes PM?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I am sceptical that the civil service ever called her "Hattiavelli". My missus works in the civil service at a fairly senior level (no names or depts, naturally!) and she informs me that Harridan Harperson was regarded as being as thick as shit and about half as pleasant.

Old BE said...

BQ, I didn't mean "excellent" for the Labour party....

Bill Quango MP said...

JH: The labour party's very own Hillary Clinton!

ND. We eagerly await it as the centerpiece of a promising new artist's digital exhibition.

Steven_L: Probably be lectured five times a day.

Sebastian Weetabix:"Hattiavelli" was just one of the many names. I heard that "Mrs Dumbfire" was another, but that may have been about by myself.

BE: Ahh, I see..