Will Gordon Brown ruin Labour forever?

The rebels failed to amount to anything at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting; the reshuffle has settled the shifts; Mandy is happy, the Miliband’s are happy; Polly Toynbee is furious; the James Purnell story on Guido Fawkes is probably bollocks; he probably helped keep Brown from drowning; Alan Johnson has not ruined his chances of being leader by looking like he wants it too much, and Brown lives to see another day.

So we rebels who hoped Compass would help direct Brown to the door have to ask ourselves the question; is the question of leadership change big enough to collapse the party (see David Aaronovitch’s intervention) or will the party suffer as a consequence of rebel silence?

In other words, should the rebels bite their lips to save the party, or will this complacency lead to defeat beyond repair.

Nick Cohen offered up some scary details at the weekend, and though rather exaggerated, do outline the very worst case scenrio for the Labour Party if the wrong decision is to be taken. He says;

“The banking crash led to recession, which led to a popular fury at the often minor, but still telling, corruptions of MPs who were fiddling expenses while the financial system boomed and bust. That anger has now concentrated on the shattered Brown administration, whose manifest failings could destroy Labour’s chances of winning another election – maybe forever, if the Liberal Democrats and Greens take over what remains of the centre-left.”

Roy Hattersley reminded us elsewhere that Labour should re-deliver its social democracy promises, just as Europe reminded us that the left’s chance to prosper (during an economic crisis) had failed.

But this is by far not a call for the left to give up, and I back Hattersley’s sentiment. The point remains; is Gordon Brown doing the right thing for the greater good by staying, if the worst that could happen come next election is that Labour slip into fourth place, behind the BNP, forever more?

The consequences of Brown staying on are far greater than an election defeat in 2010, and so the question is on: will the (definitely disavowed gesture of) silence by the rebels be a gesture that returns to haunt them in the future?

The Tories and the Fascists

Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles mentioned on the BBC’s European election night show that though the Conservative’s had opted out of the EPP, they were not preparing for any new direction to suit their new allies, the likes of Poland’s Law and Justice Party and all those other “cranks”.

He mentioned that the European grouping in which Labour are positioned – Party of European Socialists –  has some unpalatable characters, but this does not mean in any way that the Labour Party will do anything to flirt with them (he said this in fewer words).

But, oh look! Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP for South East England, has been flirting with the right wing Spanish party Alternativa Española, a party that has openly Nazi and xenophobic members, and is led by Blas Piñar, a leading apologist for former dictator Francisco Franco.

Hannan, also a blogger for the Telegraph, had been in Spain before the European elections calling for Britons living in the country to vote for Alternativa Española.

(see the article, here)

Quizzed over the party and its links to the “Vienna Declaration” that aimed to bring together extreme rightwing parties from across Europe in 2005, Hannan pleaded ignorance, saying “If that is true, it is deeply alarming and of course we shouldn’t have anything to do with them.”

But in spite of justification and apologies by the Tories over their strategic move to the non-attached in Europe (made by Cameron before the European elections), it seems that direction in the pockets of the “cranks” may well be inevitable (and if not inevitable, in the case of Hannan, openly sought after).