Friday, 30 July 2010

Five Days

Like most others who fancy themselves as an amateur politico or psephologist, I watched Nick Robinson's documentary "Five Days that Changed Britain" last night (available on iPlayer here).  On the whole, it was pretty decent fare - I mean, you can (as most people do) question Nick Robinson's politics and the choice of questions he asked, but on the whole, I thought he struck the right chord with most of the interviews.

Three things that really stuck out for me though, the first of which was Nick Robinson's conclusion that "coalition government might be here to stay".  This is something I agree with - and wrote about 2 days after the coalition was finalised.  I've gone further too, by saying that I don't think Labour will return to government for at least another 15 years.

Which brings me to the other two things that stuck out - Labour attitudes and personalities.  It was an unedifying spectacle to see Ed Balls, a man who is a potential leader of the Labour party (though probably not on that performance) almost spitting venom when discussing the coalition negotiations.  Labour's attitude towards the Liberal Democrats in particular appears to accuse them of selling out social democracy, despite the fact that wasn't quite what the country had voted for.  "Screw the country - the other lot didn't get a majority, we can still govern unless you do a deal with them".  Except, by last night's account, Balls was one of the main obstacles to an agreement, despite being part of the Labour "negotiating" team.  

It is a worrying situation for Labour when, of all the Labour figures interviewed, the two who came across best were Lords Mandelson and Adonis.  They seemed assured, smart enough to realise that Labour had to take their medicine of opposition for a while, to rebuild trust - they knew it was over.  If Labour has any sense (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Peter Mandelson will be a guy they will listen to when the rebuilding project begins under the new leadership.  Personalities play a big role in this, and his is one which will be fairly influential.  Alistair Campbell too, though he seems somewhat more entrenched and Balls-like than the Lords pair.

On a further note, how disappointing not to have Gordon Brown interviewed.  I don't know if he was invited, but it would be pretty strange if he wasn't.  You can understand his reasons - the way it was described, he was the guy that was dragging all the negotiations, the block to any kind of Lab-Lib Dem pact; he was the loser, the vanquished.  But by not appearing, he allowed that perception to be furthered.  This was an opportunity to go in front of cameras again and say to the public "look, you voted us out, I'm sorry you didn't think we could provide the recovery this country needs but we tried."  But again, his lack of media savvy shone through.

I'm sorry if it appears that I'm having a pop at Labour at the moment, given what I said about Richard Baker a few days ago.  But I think these are worrying times for Labour I think, if Ed Balls is the standard of leadership candidate that they have.  Labour supporters better hope he is not the new leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, because if he is... well, he might not be for long, but his successors will be.


Anonymous,  30 July 2010 at 09:07  

Bit harsh of Mandelson - he's not exactly lacking in insight, wit, or felicity of phrasing, whatever you might think of him. (I'm rather fond of him).

Malc 30 July 2010 at 10:01  


That may not have come across as intended. I know a lot of people don't really like him, but like you, I think he's a smart, smart guy. I'm also reading his book at the moment...

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