Comment at end
9th June 2010
First the good news –
LEFT CANDIDATE JOHN MCDONNELL PULLS OUT OF LEADERSHIP RACE
UNITE & DIVIDE
Normally his quitting the race would make most middle-of-the-road people of any political persuasion happy. His recent boob over going back in time and assassinating Margaret Thatcher (watch here, and note the cheers!) wouldn’t have helped his cause. But his reasons for quitting have little to do with this, though it may have spurred him on to reality. Excepting Diane Abbott, McDonnell was simply the least popular amongst Labour MPs.
It is clear that he and others on the left notice that with the Miliband Brothers and Ed Balls and Andy Burnham the so-called “Right” is dominating the field. The Left must unite and split the Right when it comes to the party’s vote.
Now the bad news –
It probably can. And the REALLY bad news – there is only Diane Abbott left on the traditional left.
- She is not male.
- She is not forty-something – she was born in the same year as Tony Blair, 1953.
- She is black.
- She is on the left, and the present government is Conservative (mostly.)
But she IS Oxbridge educated. (More on Abbott here)
I make no bones about it, I dislike the woman. I dislike any politician, in fact anyone who says this – “You can only be bullied if you are weak”
We should also remember this – she only supported the leaders of her own party until they did what SHE considered “the wrong thing”. Anyone who watched her salivate between summer 2006 and summer 2007 at the thought of Brown replacing Blair and by 2008 salivating again at the thought of Brown being removed as Blair had been, knows exactly her “principles.”
She and Labour party members should never forget how lonely it was in the political wilderness for 18 years until Tony Blair rescued Labour by appealing to those who were NOT on the political Left.
I do hope the Labour party grassroots gives her short shrift. But I fear they won’t. Then, sadly it’ll be the end of Labour, not just New Labour, as I suggested here two years ago.
Video of Abbott saying – “we can’t have all the leaders who look the same”.
Pardon? You don’t mean we should judge by “looks” Ms Abbott?
McDonnell’s ‘ASSASSINATE THATCHER’ remark
Labour leadership contender John McDonnell has apologised after saying that if he could go back in time he would “assassinate Margaret Thatcher”.
Ref McDonnell’s comment as covered at The Daily Politics here.
In his defence, he made this comment in the ‘warm-up’ time before taking part in a radio programme. But it got more applause than anything else that was said later in the “battle of ideas”.
The Conservative MP and friend of Lady Thatcher Conor Burns, Jeremy Corbyn MP – who is supporting Mr McDonnell in his leadership bid – and FT editor Lionel Barber discuss it here.
Mr Burns, the Conservative panelist on the Daily Politics says that the left do a lot of this “sort of thing”. He’s right, of course. Some of us still recall with seething anger George Galloway in May 2006 on the “justification” of assassinating Tony Blair. (See here.) Also read Oliver Kamm’s thoughts on McDonnell and Galloway.
As Lionel Barber from the FT says, “I found the applause more telling in some ways than the remarks. This tells you actually quite a lot about the current state of a large segment of the Labour party.”
‘The leader is chosen by an electoral college system made up of three sections – Labour MPs and MEPs, party members and members of affiliated unions and other affiliated organisations.
People are balloted individually in each of the three sections, with the results from each of the three parts of the electoral college making up a third of the final result
The result will be announced on the first day of the party conference on 25 September.
Mr McDonnell, who had only 16 of the 33 nominations he needed, said he was pulling out to try to help Diane Abbott get on the ballot paper.
She currently has 11 nominations. David Miliband, his brother Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have all secured the required support. Andy Burnham has 31.
Nominations close at 1230 BST.
Both Ms Abbott and Mr McDonnell are from the left of the Labour Party and argued they wanted to offer Labour and union members a choice when they come to vote in the contest in September.
Explaining why he was pulling out of the race, Mr McDonnell said: “I stood for the Labour leadership as the candidate of the Left and trade union movement so that there could be a proper debate about Labour’s future in which all the wings of the party were fully represented.”‘