It's Almost Heartbreaking - These People Are So Clueless
Steel, Mark, The Independent (London, England)
THE LEADERS of the Labour Party have reached a fascinating stage, where they hate each other but don't know why, and aren't allowed to criticise each other, and if they do they have to assure everyone that: "When I said he's arsed everything up like the steaming Scottish cowpat he is, this was in no sense meant as a criticism, but as a contribution to the wider debate of how we move Britain forward with the forwardness the British people look forward to."
And this is while they look so hopeless you can imagine a researcher running to Gordon Brown and saying "There's excellent news on the public reaction to our health message. We're now only 3 per cent behind swine flu in the polls."
If a Labour leader's marriage is falling apart, he must say to his wife: "I continue to have every confidence in you as the right person to lead us through the challenges ahead. Furthermore, the Philippino hooker you caught me with in the shower has no ambitions to replace you, and is delighted to remain in her current post for the foreseeable future."
They're almost heartbreakingly clueless as to why they're in trouble. Hazel Blears described the problem as the need for politicians to "re-engage" with voters, as if they just have to find new ways of getting their message across. But that's the thinking that led to the genius of Brown on You-Tube. You can imagine cabinet meetings where Ed Balls calls out: "I know, let's get Harriet Harman to go on Britain's Got Talent, and perform the figures on reduced NHS waiting lists expressed as a piece of hip-hop dance."
Labour's problem is that people ARE engaged with them, and they've decided they don't like them, because their message HAS come across. The cabinet can't honestly think: "People WOULD vote for us, if only they were aware that we sent the country into war on a pack of lies, insisted there was no more boom or bust, fiddled second homes and let bankers rob the place."
Part of their difficulty can be found in the nature of their arguments. They can't describe clearly the reasons they disagree, because they don't actually believe in anything. In the lamented Old Labour Party, leaders disagreed about nuclear weapons or nationalisation, but New Labour arguments are about petty personal squabbles as if they're teenage girls. …