The sleeze allegations against Blairites will stick to Labour unless Gordon Brown does to the the Right what the Right did to the Left

This blog has repeatedly called for tactical voting to ensure that the Tories do not form a majority government after the election.  The recent narrowing of the opinion polls has pointed to a hung parliament, while optimists hope that Labour can pull victory from the jaws of defeat.  The joker in pack has been the Blairites, including Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, or as they are also known the Bitterites, who hate Gordon Brown more than they hate the Tories.  They are, afterall, Tories in Labour clothes.

I had always expected the Blairites to put the boot in during the election campaign.  They may yet do this.  They have form, not least in 1983 when they openly attacked the Labour Manifesto even though many were standing for election on that very platform.

What has come as a surprise, though why it has shows my innocence, are the disclosures about cash for influence.  The video footage of former Blairite Minister, Byers, has brought condemnation from his former colleagues, and there may be more to come in tomorrow’s Dispatches programme.

What Gordon Brown should do is withdraw the whip from them for the duration of this Parliament while the Party undertakes an investigation into their actions that clearly bring the Party into disrepute.  The Labour Party has never hesitated doing so against the left, but will it, and Brown himself, have the courage to do it against the Blairite right?  It would send a signal that Labour finds the alleged behaviour unacceptable.

But of course, Labour won’t do this, and Gordon Brown will at best remain silent, or at worst try to give the Bitterites some political cover.  He thinks he needs them and that his personal prospects depend on their loyalty.  They don’t and they won’t remain loyal.  This will be another opportunity lost for Brown.

Why do some Labour Elders want to see the Party defeated?

What an interesting week this is turning out to be.   With the polls narrowing, David Cameron barely able to cope with the questionning at his press conference on Monday (even calling Nick Robinson a stooge of the Labour Party – the man was a yopung Tory for goodness sake!), and today Gordon Brown was far and away the most compelling at Prime Minister’s Questions, we see some Labout elders trying to commit electoral suicide.

Geoff  Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have raised the issue of Brown’s leadership. The Blairites in Labour clearly have a death wish.  And then Charles Clarke calls for a secret ballot on the leadership.  What is their problem?  Do they have to sow the seeds of division?  It seems that for some Blairites, a Cameron victory would be less undesirable than Brown being successful at the polls.  The bitterness and divisions may run deep, but now is the time for them to shut up.

Hollow promises from Miliband

David Miliband today made a speech in which he called for fundamental reform of the structure of the Labour Party. I applaud many of his proposals including open primary is to select candidates for local and Parliamentary elections and to involve in party meetings the 3 million trade unionists who pay the political levy.

Cynics might suggest that these are desperate measures aimed at trying to resurrect a dying party. Miliband himself said that certain political parties were close to death, made up of “shrinking membership, declining affinity and fuzzy identity lead many to proclaim that death has already happened, with a few tears at the funeral”.

Compare the Labour Party today to the thriving activity of the 1980s. It is the Blairites who killed Labour, being themselves largely responsible for the infighting, in tolerance, and witch hunts that suck the lifeblood out of local activity.

I agree with many of the measures that Miliband has proposed, not least the open primary is the selection of candidates. However, the sad truth is that none will be implemented, not least by Miliband himself should he in the unlikely event ever become Labour Party leader.

Put up or shut up

Following a meeting of the PLP, it seems as though Gordon Brown has reasserted his leadership of the Labour Party. Yet at a meeting of Progress, Stephen Byers has stated that Gordon Brown cannot lead Labour to victory at the next general election. He has handed a propaganda coup to the Conservatives who will be able to quote his speech continuously between now and the general election.

In the past, those on the left of the Labour Party have been expelled for disloyalty for criticising the leadership. It is time that the Labour Party deals with the Blairites who continue to sow division and dissent in the Party.
The likes of Byers, Purnell, Flint and Blears should either put themselves forward for election or shut up.