With Friends like these

I have been reading an interesting article by contributing editor Dan Hodges on Labour Uncut called "The Left is losing its marbles."

Five years ago I quoted on this blog some thoughts by Mark Shields, an American journalist, on the pattern followed by parties which lose elections. He was thinking of the American Democrats (who he usually supports) after George W Bush's re-election, and I said at the time his comments were every bit as applicable to British Conservatives. Now they are relevant to the Labour party.

Sheilds argued that parties which lose elections go through four phases:

1) We woz robbed

2) Blame the communications

3) Blame the leader/candidate

4) Find a Winner

I commented at the time

"I've had a bellyful of phases one, two and three. Whether there is any justice in them or not, they don't work."

Obviously the majority of the rest of the Conservative party felt the same way, as they elected David Cameron who is now Prime Minister.

Dan Hodges would like Labour to find a winner. Just as the Conservatives might not have had to wait 13 years after 1997 before there was a Conservative PM again if we had been a bit more realistic about our position, so Labour may be out of power for a lot longer than they currently expect unless they are willing to face facts the way Mr Hodges does. Here are a few examples of his comments:

“Something’s happening out there”, one shadow minister said to me, hopefully. He’s right. What’s happening is that the left is losing its marbles.

"Freed from the shackles (sometimes called responsibilities) of office, we are acting like children in an anarcho-syndicalist sweet shop. Shall we go on the fees protest? No, let’s hit Vodafone. Wait, what about the demo against the police? Aren’t we supposed to be targeting the Lib Dems’ offices? Or is it Top Shop? And the occupations? Hey, the cuts; what about the cuts…?

"All of this could be dismissed as youthful high spirits, if it weren’t for the desperate efforts of the Labour party leadership to appropriate the zeitgeist. School children wanting to join in demos, “should be free to do so”, said Ed Miliband. No, they shouldn’t. School children should be in school, not putting themselves in between a tooled-up Met and an SWP rent-a-mob.

"In fairness to the student protestors, at least they’re successfully marrying flair with organisational acumen. If only the same could be said for Labour.

... "our search for a strategic narrative has degenerated into farce. First, we were told that Labour in opposition would hit the ground running. Then we were told it would be a marathon not a sprint. Then we were told: forget that, it’s a sprintathon, and started rushing after every Lib Dem in sight. Jackie Ashley described this as, “the long game and the short game, and the ‘now’ game”. I’ve got an alternative. It’s called the “making it up as you go along” game.

"We lost the previous election because we were on a different page to the electorate. Now we are in serous danger of entering a parallel universe.

"Debates about tactics, strategy and ideology are one thing. But what is happening in the party at the moment represents not a political divergence, but a divergence of reality. It is as if a collective madness is taking hold. I cannot see how anyone can seriously believe that tying Labour to a high tax, pro-student, anti-police, anti-consumer, anti-business programme is the right path for the party to pursue."

You can read the full item here.


Tim said…
Curiously, you seem to have nothing to say about the Lib Dems and their latest local difficulty. Happy Xmas !
Chris Whiteside said…
Did you miss my joke about undercover journalists at the end of the previous post?

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