Thursday, January 07, 2010
Brown's ideological mini-me
That's Ben Brogan's wonderful description of the egregious Balls this morning (src). As Labour continues with the self-flagellation, one has to look to his future, and particularly to the general election. On the one hand, I would dearly love for Ed Balls to lose his seat. He represents all that is wrong with Labour in its obsession with centralised, state control of practically everything. A clean break would be wonderful, and the removal of the Normanton Menace would be a signal, if only a signal, that this is possible.On the other hand, who after Gordon Brown is better placed to make sure that Labour is unelectable for about two decades than Balls? Not even Harman is as awful as Balls. If he were to win the ensuing leadership battle, Labour would be dragged on a long march back towards the statist left. He should also horrify sensible members of his Co-operative Party (a minor party in perpetual alliance with Labour), whose principles he seems set on betraying at every available juncture. At best, we might hope that a Balls leadership would be enough for the Co-operative Party to dissociate itself from Labour's passionate embrace: for we are learning that whatever Labour loves, it loves to death. Perhaps if the current, increased interest in mutuals is sustained, the Co-operative Party would be able to position itself as an independent, non-statist, left-of-centre alternative to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.And yet, on the other, other hand, do I think it would be healthy for the country to experience a Tory ascendancy, faced with an opposition riven with internal strife, splits and leadership woes? Not at all, although it would be better than the current shambles.So, do I hope for a new MP in Normanton, or not? Internal strife is infectious: it's spread from the Labour party to me.