With the great hopes of the populist left, Jon Cruddas and John McDonnell, distancing themselves from those who seek to remove Gordon Brown the so-called Blairite plot should now fail. McDonnell still blogs at John4Leader.org.uk, but is not so opportunistic as to join an anti-Brown alliance with a group that appears to belong to a personality cult to a former leader now retired.
That those who have led this plot have failed to recognise their own contributions to Labour’s woes, makes recent events particularly distasteful. Hazel Blears seems to have forgotten that many of her constituents survive on a minimum wage of less than £13,000 a year. Simply returning money she agrees she shouldn’t have claimed is not the route to the moral high ground. Waving a big cheque around of television, a cheque written with such ease, did not endear Hazel to voters, who felt she was rubbing their noses in it. Yet still Hazel simply doesn’t get why she has come to symbolise the worst excesses of the MPs’ expenses scandal, she has lost touch with her electorate and her naked ambition leaves her looking deluded.
Cruddas has previously been tainted by a second home scandal, but McDonnell is on the Telegraph’s saints list, having claimed no second homes allowance. These men have nothing to gain from joining the plot against Brown.
Those of us who remain loyal to the Labour Party are also incensed at Blears, the local government minister, timing her resignation to hurt Labour at local and European elections. And now the BNP has two MEPs.
At least James Purnell had the decency to wait for the ballot boxes to close. He may have had potential, but conveniently forget that prior to the expenses scandal, his biggest claim to fame was to be a whizz on Photoshop. Sending his resignation letter to the Times before the Prime Minister, he grossly overestimated his importance to Labour and the government and is left looking ridiculous.
Blair wasn’t perfect, but Labour achieved great things under his leadership and can again. Those who seem unable to cope with his retirement, should actively consider taking early retirement themselves.