Thursday, September 14, 2006

Caught short

Wackiest theory of the week goes to today's front page story from the Post, alleging that Clare Short might be jumping ship to the Liberal Democrats. There's a clue to the source
Westminster insiders believe the natural course for Ms Short would be to join the Liberal Democrats.

Really... Perhaps Cllr Hemming should take more water with it. Actually, if a newspaper has a headline which poses a question, the answer is usually NO - refer to the Daily Mail for examples.

Why would she want to jump from a Labour Party that has drifted to the right to a Liberal Democrat party that's running even further that way?

Bob Piper is quite right to point out the problems posed by Clare's aim of producing a hung parliament.
As a Birmingham MP she only has to look at the state of almost total inertia in the City since the pathetic and clueless Tory administration, propped up by Lib Dems who would sell their grannies for a foot under the Cabinet table, took control of the Council three years ago. Think again, Clare. By all means campaign for a more progressive Labour Leadership, but not for a coalition of orange book yellow Tories and Cameroon chameleons.

And then tonight, we learn that she's going to face disciplinary action. No surprise there. Dissent over policy is one thing, actually arguing that your party should lose enough seats to lose power is stepping well over that line. Blair has made mistakes in his leadership of the party, no question, but for a former key member of the government to argue that the whole thing has been a failure is insulting and factually wrong. A very interesting theory suggests that she had hopes of regaining the position of Secretary of State for International Development under a Brown premiership and her decision to stand down has been partly fuelled by discovering that Gordon had someone else in mind. UPDATE: The Daily has picked up on a post from Hull University Labour Club, reporting that Ian Reilly, the Regional Director for Labour in the West Midlands, has started to push for her expulsion from the party. That would not be a surprise - campaigning against the party is grounds for that sort of sanction and members in Blaenau Gwent felt the force of that after they were strongarmed into a all-woman shortlist.

As the Liberal Democrats rear their ugly little heads again, I happened to hear part of Belinda Oaten's interview on Radio Five this morning, when she attributed her husband's behaviour in part to having to prop up a leader with a severe drink problem. Is there nothing for which poor old Chuckles can't take the rap?


Andrea said...

" A very interesting theory suggests that she had hopes of regaining the position of Secretary of State for International Development "

Without offence to her, she had to be deluded to think she had chance to be re-appointed at the government.
She's probably one of the few politicians to have pissed off both the right and the left of Labour.

A soft socialist said...

Also Hilary Benn is a very popular figure with most wings of the party. Clare on the other hand is not!

Simon said...

Short's comments were certainly unacceptable from the point of view of the Labour party, but expelling her - whether technically justified or not - would be utterly, utterly stupid and counterproductive and massively increase the chances of Ladywood going Lib Dem in 2009. Is that what you want? 'Cos that's what'll happen.

Praguetory said...

I'm going to be dispassionate here. Respect have a better chance of challenging Labour than the Dems in Ladywood.