Tuesday, April 11, 2006

no thanks, alan

I would have posted something about Alan Milburn's hilarious hint that he might stand for the leadership of the Labour Party in the terrifying period of post-Blair rule somewhat earlier, but unfortunately I've been laughing too hard ever since Sunday morning, when he made his push on the BBC's Sunday AM show. But I'm pulled up a little short by Polly Toynbee's thoughtful column in the Guardian today, where she - although plainly recognising that Labour could not find a more unnapealing leader and that Milburn would be trounced by Michael Meacher, let alone Gordon Brown - points out that Milburn, true to form, is just indulging in a bit of unpleasent 'tribal warfare' and trying to destabilise his Chancellor. Following the grim sight of Milburn and Byers attacking Brown in the post-budget debate, Toynbee asserts that "this is less about policy than scorched-earth loathing of Brown".

Well, talking of loathing, here's an admission for you. I never managed to much hate Peter Mandelson. I dunno why, I think it was something to do with the fact that I kind of understood what he was saying, and understood why he said it, even if I didn't often agree. No, for me, it's always been Milburn who gets my goat - the deeply offensive macho posturing, the startling vacuity of his policy pronouncements, his shamelessness in financially benefiting from links with a company which, in turn, financially benefited from New Labour's obsession with contracting out services to the NHS. The sheer stupidity of his election campaigning last year, the absolute brainlessness of his 'forward, not back' party slogan. And now, obsessed with hatred for traditional Labour, he repeatedly attacks and undermines the few good things that this appalling government does.

I'll let Marina Hyde finish the job off.

"Nor has he shown himself averse to the wretched bowdlerisation of the political discourse favoured by, among others, George Bush, in which people are invited to "choose" between things like "chaos or unity", "a world of fear or a world of progress", "violence or freedom". Consider Alan's characterisation of the debate at the last election: "Do we keep moving forwards, keep the money going into public services, make sure you get more people off benefit and into work, give more help to first-time buyers," he demanded, "or do we go back into the bad old days when there was mass unemployment? ... That's the choice!"

I hope Milburn does stand against Brown, if only because that might prevent the likes of David Milliband from having a shot at it - but I suspect he won't; he's not that delusional, is he?

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Couldn't agree more - the man is completely vile.