'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Monday 13 June 2011

Let's keep poking the Tories. Labour will happily poke itself.

David says he stands fully behind Ed. This is of course the best place to stand if you're going to stab him in the back...

And given all the press over the weekend - and there clearly is an orchestrated attack under way within the Labour Party against Ed Miliband - it would be easy for us to start focussing on who they are likely to choose to take over from him, what it might mean for Labour policies vs. our own (not least, that Labour might actually have some...) and then start thinking about how we should defeat the new (small 'n' ) Labour position.

And this would be a mistake. Because Ed Miliband is going to lead Labour into the next general election.

How can I be so sure? Because every Labour leader in my lifetime bar one has been permitted to lead his party into at least one general election. Two have lost general elections - and been permitted to have another go. And the one exception - John Smith - would have led Labour into an election but for his untimely death.

In my 44 years there have been 8 Labour leaders and their party has not conducted a successful putsch against any if them - something neither ourselves or the Tories can claim. I see Fraser Nelson At The Spectator has been blogging along similar lines.

(As an aside it's a quirk that despite this, in the same period there have been more Labour leaders than the serial-leader-killer Tories (7) or Liberal/Lib Dem (6). But I digress...).

This does not mean that Labour are going to simmer down. So long as Labour don't have a clear and unassailable lead in the polls, and so long as both David Miliband and Ed Balls think they would be doing a better job than Ed, then the civil war inside the Labour party will continue. And we should rejoice and be glad because it means we can concentrate on the other issue for us: how can we defeat the Tories in 2015.

For just as Labour is about to become rife with splits and internal battles that will take their focus, we need to ensure the Tories do the same. I blogged last week that I felt the stirrings in the Tories of mutterings and unhappiness from the right at their failure to deliver an unadulterated Tory agenda. Peter Hitchens then launched into a tirade against the Tory leadership on QT on Thursday. Today the Telegraph has kicked off about the NHS.

There's no doubt about it. There's a storm brewing there too...

What a chance for us to set out a full, unadulterated, liberal agenda! Both of the other major parties in turmoil and disarray, fighting amongst themselves

Labour is doing it to itself. The Tories will too provided we keep claiming credit for Lib Dem initiatives, and where we force Tory U turns. And if we refuse to support Conservative policies that are counter to a liberal philosophy.

So can we never utter the phrase 'not a cigarette paper between us' ever again?

Thank you.

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