The reason Oliver Kamm will vote Labour, regardless of the “feeble” & “incompetent” Brown

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    3rd May 2010

    Oliver Kamm: “But I shall vote Labour for this reason. The worse the Labour defeat, the more likely it is that the wrong person will be blamed: Tony Blair rather than Gordon Brown.”

    Oliver Kamm is one of “we few, we happy few”.  I found this article of his via John Rentoul.

    Kamm has been writing at the newly declared Conservative-supporting Times, on why Brown deserves to lose the election. Counter intuitively, he also explains why he, Kamm will be voting Labour.

    So why exactly? Pulling no adjectival punches, Kamm says:

    “This is a feeble, unimaginative, incompetent and intellectually incurious Prime Minister, whose hapless, cynical and dysfunctional government has debased the notion of public service, coarsened public life and forfeited any claim to public respect, and I shall be voting for its return to office next Thursday. This post, for what it’s worth, explains my reasoning. (It shouldn’t need saying, but of course, as with any signed comment, I’m speaking only for myself.)

    I’m not turning on the PM only when he’s down. I’ve always thought he was useless and I said so. I founded that view on what everyone knew about him before he succeeded Tony Blair. He bore ferocious grudges, consulted closely with some pretty poisonous people, had large gaps in his knowledge, and from 2002 squandered what had previously been a good economic record of tight control of public spending. Total managed expenditure in 1999-2000, at 37.7 per cent of GDP, was at its lowest level since the early 1960s. Had Brown, as Chancellor, maintained the impeccably Keynesian course of building up surpluses during the boom, then Britain would have entered this recession in a much stronger state. (Incidentally, both of the other parties – especially the Lib Dems – criticised Brown in the late 1990s for excessively tight fiscal policy. How wrong they were.)

    […]

    I’ve underestimated the Lib Dems in the past. I wish in retrospect that Labour and the Lib Dems had come to an agreement in the early days of Labour government in 1997. But Paddy Ashdown was as distinct a figure among the Lib Dems as Tony Blair was within Labour: that opportunity has gone, and so have they.

    […]

    But I shall vote Labour for this reason. The worse the Labour defeat, the more likely it is that the wrong person will be blamed: Tony Blair rather than Gordon Brown. Guessing the future alignments of British politics is futile. Things can change radically. They might have done but eventually did not in the 1980s. But the safest route to preserving liberalism seems to me to be to shore up Labour’s support, ensure that David Miliband rather than Ed Balls becomes Leader of the Opposition after the election, and thereby help the British polity conform once again to the conventions of two-party politics. That may not be possible. If the electoral system ossifies political stalemate and sustains a Labour Party that would otherwise subside into an irrelevance comparable to that of the French Communist Party, then liberal strategy would need to change. But not now; not yet.”

    Good to see Mr Kamm asserting that Paddy Ashdown was as unusual a figure in the Lib Dems as Tony Blair was in Labour. I have long recognised this.

    If Tony Blair had been listened to in the mid to late 1990s, and his recommendations followed through from a position of strength, perhaps Labour would not be in their weakened Blairless position today.

    A whole lot of issues might have been agreed, and a number of policies marking differentiation on the Left/Centre Left would have been resolved differently by now. Even without a merger or coalition Blair handed the Liberal Democrats policy fulfilments which they would never have achieved without his government, devolution being the obvious one.

    In case you wonder, in my humble opinion the ONE policy that is the main reason for my being unable to vote Lib Dem is not a policy or decision that would have defeated Blair in such a coalition.  In a Labour/Lib Dem coalition or political unity the Iraq decision would have been understood better.

    The Liberal Democrats were wrong about Iraq and I am sure many of them know that in their heart of hearts.

    (See my reports on Ashdown’s & Blair’s “Great Coalition/Merger Plan” here and a very recent post – “Paddy says Clegg is the New Blair”.)

    As a blogging Blairite, I agree with this commenter at Kamm’s:

    “I’m with you on preferring Miliband to Balls but I don’t quite follow the reasoning in the last paragraph. Why is it more like that Tony Blair rather than Gordon Brown would be blamed for a heavy Labour defeat? Blairites would surely take the opposite view and it is not as if Brown hasn’t had his chances in the last couple of years to shore up Labour support.”

    Yesterday, Sunday 2nd May John Rentoul looked at “Who is endorsing Whom?” Amongst others he mentioned Oliver Kamm’s article.

    Rentoul also links to Peter Hitchens who says he will NOT be voting Tory, because he is annoyed with Cameron over reneging on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

    And to Nick Cohen, who WILL be voting Labour because “Labour still has something to give”.

    Excerpt, Cohen:

    ‘As the polling expert Mike Smithson says, whenever opinion polls are tested against real election results, it is the polling company which gave Labour the lowest level of support which turns out to be right. That was true even in 1997, but nevertheless Labour still won to become the only truly national party, able to represent town and the country, native and immigrant, Scotland, England and Wales, rich, middle class, working class and poor. “Labour is the political wing of the British people,” cried Tony Blair when he came to power. Thirteen years on, the shrunken remnants of his coalition are at war with themselves.’

    All kind of depressing to read, isn’t it? Even if like me you’re not a Labour party member.

    What do I think we need?

    Ten more years of Blair. Not Blairism, nor Blairites, nor pseudo-Blairs like Cameron and Clegg. Nor Blair-pluses like Brown, Mandelson or Miliband. But the real thing.

    Blair. Tony. Starting now. Next week might just be soon enough.

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    7 Responses to “The reason Oliver Kamm will vote Labour, regardless of the “feeble” & “incompetent” Brown”

    1. Catching up with the election muddle « Says:

      […] am sure BlairSupporter would agree with me whom I would like to thank for his priceless summary of what Britain needs […]

    2. Stan Says:

      Glad to see that Kamm is voting Labour but sorry to see that, like too many Blairites, he’s continuing to put the boot into Brown. In my opinion that approach has simply added to the hyped -up Brown-bashing campaign of the opposition and media that may well cost Labour playing any part in the outcome of this election (hope I’m wrong).

      A good example of the bias against Brown is the Duffy story where few know that the reason why he was so angry with her was that he thought she had said “where are all these East European f***ing from” instead of “flocking from” (curious verb for her to use btw), On such misunderstandings are elections lost when almost the whole of the media is against you.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        I looked at the ‘flocking’ possibility too, Stan. I don’t accept that, to be blunt. It is TOO curious for this lady to say “f*cking”. She didn’t.

        In any case since Brown is known to swear often at colleagues, that in itself, if misheard, should not have persuaded him that she was a “bigot”. If it did, he’s an incompetent, judgemental, two-faced, hypocritical … you get the gist.

        Just as the policy and personality reasons for voting are many and varied, for some of us Brown’s bad outweigh the good. That’s all.

    3. Stan Says:

      I didn’t say she said f****ing, KTBFPM, only that’s what he thought she said. If it was, I can quite understand him thinking she was a bigot since using that word about immigrants suggests that she is, whether or not you use that word in other contexts.

      And if you think that Brown’s bads outweighs the other reasons for voting Labour (like getting us fairly through the recession, looking after the vulnerable, changes in the voting system etc) it seems to me that you are putting personal animosities before the greater good.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        And I said it was too curious for this lady to have said that word, and Brown should have realised that.

        As for your accusations – I do not necessarily agree with you about what Brown is or isn’t doing or why he is saying he might do certain things. A lot of it is because he may well HAVE to, not out of his political genius or the kindness of his heart. He hasn’t suddenly discovered the common sense of electoral reform. His predeccessor, in any case, was the true reformer, starting with the Lords and devolution.

        And I do not necessarily agree with you that Brown is the font of all that leads to the “greater good”. In that I am in the same boat as much of the country, thus the great number of undecideds at this election.

        I also do not share your great faith in ANY of the parties, as you do in Labour. And you know why.

    4. Robert Says:

      Thank god i did not vote Labour….

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