Saturday, June 28, 2008
There has been much scratching of heads and stroking of beards by Labour Party loyalists over the last few days and weeks who are struggling to come to terms with why they are so out of favour with the electorate. One of their notably smaller-brained "strategists" writing on Labourhome has come up with the totally unoriginal idea of attacking the Conservatives on their record on so-called "sleaze".
"We should ALL have Cameron on the ropes.... over the baker's dozen or so of his parliamentary groups in Westminster and Strasbourg who have not declared, declared late, tried to cover up etc embarrassing donations; or who have dipped way, way too deep in the gravy...... Leave Gordon alone. Go get Nanny Caroline and Oily Alan." (For those of you that don't subject yourself to the prolific and unmitigated drivel that Chris Paul writes on his blog, this is about par for the course.)
His point apparently is to exhort the head-scratchers and the beard-strokers to stop concentrating on why Labour is so bloody useless -" shift to the lefters claiming this proves we must shift to the left, Compassites calling for a headless-chicken of a seminar and yet another will-the-ends pamphlet, the triangulating roundheads getting their protractors out, the wannabe leaders' camps sharpening their knives, the "no strings" funders pulling stroke after stroke, and Progress concentrating on upsetting Shami Chakrabarti." (No, I don't know what he is talking about either but this seems to be the language that Nu-Labour use when they communicate between their various factions.)
So that's it - attack the Tories on "sleaze" and Labour will be back into the voters' favour - Gordon Brown will walk on water and go on to be Prime Minister for as long as Robert Mugabe will be President of Zimbabwe.
Ermm! What about the David Abrahams' case that is now being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service? Last year it emerged that Mr Abrahams had donated money to Labour using a series of conduits including his secretary and a builder. The property developer was one of the party's biggest backers and gave £670,000 but his identity had been kept secret. The police conducted a far more low-profile investigation into this case than that into the Labour cash-for-honours enquiry, although several key Labour figures have been interviewed under caution.
There was apparently a degree of murkiness about the Abrahams' donations (dodgy planning permission deals with Labour's North-East mafia?) but it is by no means certain that a prosecution will result under potential breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 as a result of donations made through intermediaries. Time will tell.
If the Labour grass roots really think they can outflank the Conservatives by simply shouting "sleaze" then they are likely to be seriously disappointed. They need to look deeper and wider for their real problem. They have a leader who is not up to the job; they have a third-rate Cabinet; they have run out of ideas that inspire the voters; and they have a reputation for sleaze and incompetence which will not be forgotten by the wider electorate.
My advice to Labour supporters? Go back to your constituencies and prepare for non-government - for a very long time. And so say all of us!