18 April 2009

Control Freaks and Civil War - The Story of the New Labour Project

There were so many events this week that made significant statements about the mess the Labour Party are in.

Firstly, there was the sacking of McBride after being exposed for wanting to spread malicious rumours about Conservative MPs and their families. The poor reaction to this story by Brown's cronies means the story is likely to just get worse.

Secondly, there was the decision not to prosecute Damien Green, largely because the claims for the reason for the arrest and investigation were exposed for being totally exaggerated, by both a commons select committee who said:

"growing frustration in the Home Office and Cabinet Office about the leaks may have led officials to give an exaggerated impression of the damage done by them, and that it was "unhelpful to give the police the impression that the Home Office leaker(s) had already caused considerable damage to national security"

and by the Crown Prosecution Service who said:
"I have concluded that the information leaked was not secret information or information affecting national security."

My own view is that this was misguided politics, someone thought an arrest would put others off from leaking (actually delivering a decent Home Office might be a good start). It was a political arrest, carried out by a politicised police force that should have had the guts to stand up and say no, a police force that is still too focused on serving the Home Office and insufficiently focused on serving the people of Britain.

That view is further supported because it now transpires that the police searched for links with the Head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. I often disagree with what Liberty say, but there is no way they could ever be considered a security threat, in fact they have proved important in holding Governments to account (of all colours). Not only does this issue cast the Labour Party in a poor light (and especially Jacqui Smith) it also provides yet more evidence that we need locally elected Sheriffs to oversee our police and to loosen the ties between the police and Central Government. The controversial but serious question that needs to be asked is how big a step is it between a politically encouraged arrest and planting evidence?

Yesterday we saw the resignation of Alice Mahon a former MP and a member of the Labour Party for 50 years, all this because of the state of Brown’s leadership and the party Nationally. Coupled with this is unrest about the discovery that a ballot box located at Labour HQ and containing postal votes for the election of the Labour Candidate for Erith and Thamesmead had been interfered with. In fact there are stories that the ballots within it were actually torn up.

These events on their own are significant enough, but if you pull them together they paint a horrific picture about the state of the Labour Party. They expose huge divides and control freakery that has been at the heart of everything they have done for the last 7 or 8 years. One of the things that has been exposed as a result of the McBride affair is that this sort of briefing has been happening at the expense of out of favour MPs and Cabinet Members for years. Damien Green’s arrest was all about the Labour Party losing control of the media agenda on Home affairs (which they haven't had for years). The problems with the elections of party candidates is all about the spat between the Brownites and the Blairites (The leading candidates are the daughter of a once leading Blairite, and someone sponsored by Unite, who are now, of course, fronted by arch-Brown Supporter, Charlie Whelan).

More importantly, absolutely none of this has anything to do with delivering for the people of Britain, absolutely none of it has anything to do with getting our economy out of a mess that Gordon Brown created by being wasteful during his time as Chancellor. In fact all of it shows that delivering is the last thing that is on their minds. Control is at the heart of everything New Labour do, it has been that way since 1997.



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