Friday, June 24, 2011
Failing Labour Leader Ed Miliband goes for a power grab to deny Labour MPs the right to vote on Shadow Cabinet Elections, what price democracy?
Ed Miliband is failing Labour leader, his popularity is falling, he has no vision, no policies and sounds like a whinging five year old at PMQs in the House of Commons.
It is pretty pathetic stuff!
And he hasn’t done the decent thing and resigned so his brother David Miliband can re-apply for the job which should have been his except for the union block vote.
David Miliband won the majority of MP votes but finds himself in the wilderness, hawking about trying to look statesmanlike.
Red Ed has parked himself for the long wait and as such is seeking to change his party's rules so that he can choose who he wants to sit in the shadow cabinet.
But Ed now has a problem with democracy; he has decided his party's MPs should lose the right they currently have to elect the party's top team every two years.
It’s a pretty oily power grab so unworthy that his brother David wouldn’t even go there.
Shadow cabinet elections it is claimed form a distraction for the Labour Party from holding the government to account and preparing the party for power.
What a load of nonsense.
The anti democratic change would have to be approved by Labour's party conference this autumn.
But are they mad enough to do this and rebuff Red Ed who will probably go into the huff if his idea is thrown out?
Labour MPs will have the chance to debate and vote on the rule change before it is considered by the party's ruling national executive committee next month and then put to the party conference in Liverpool.
Are they stupid enough to give this up?
What is in it for them, Ed Miliband’s undying gratitude and who wants that anyway!
Miliband wants a substantial increase in his power of patronage over his party, the last time someone went down that road with Labour was Steven ‘bin laden’ Purcell who ran a Presidential system of Government at Glasgow City Council.
Scotland’s Labour Council of shame.
Now, Purcell is out in the cold, politically dead and a walking zombie seeking a new life back in politics.
Ed Miliband’s planned change to the shadow cabinet rules is a key moment in his Presidency, it will signal that he wants a less democratic system operating within the Labour Party were people are effectively drones to his ‘Queen Bee’.
The supposed aim of the power grab is to bolster Miliband's failing leadership but it carries with it huge risks.
I suspect that everyone will have a moment of pause and send this rubbish on its way.
So what are the risks?
The most obvious danger is that the parliamentary party or the Labour conference simply send him packing, tail between his legs and simply refuse to endorse the changes.
A devastating and humiliating public blow to Mr Miliband and his ‘authority’.
The second risk is that Mr Miliband fails to use the moment to shake up his frontbench team and weed out his critics in a night of the long knives.
And does he really want to antagonise his party without bolstering his leadership because this isn’t the way to do it.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, a former Brown Cheerleader, has done a ‘Jack Straw’ by re-positioning himself as a loyal Miliband camp follower.
Alexander told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the internal election process was a distraction from the "important task of taking the government to account and understanding why we lost the last election".
Already Alexander has had to defend and denied that Miliband was proposing the changes in order to rid himself of critics in his shadow cabinet.
"There will continue to be mechanisms of accountability. Leadership involves taking decisions that you judge are in the best interests of the party. I think it's a sensible change that shows that Ed Miliband is serious about engaging with the public."
But not with his party and MPs it seems!
Labour MP John McDonnell said he was disappointed by Mr Miliband's proposal.
"You don't demonstrate strong leadership by having a battle with your own party. You don't need to browbeat your party into submission. They don't want to go back to the old days of Blair."
Shortly before Ed Miliband became leader, the Parliamentary Labour Party rejected proposals to change the shadow cabinet process which would have enabled the leader to choose half or a third of their team.
So, the fight to grab power starts, he may grab it or he may not but Ed Miliband is a caretaker leader, as long as his brother is an Labour MP, people will be asking when he is taking over as leader.
While David Miliband sits there impotent Labour cannot move forward, his nasal talking brother is strangling the party.
He is a sidekick; his brother is the only show in town.
Perhaps Labour MPs will send Ed Miliband a message, you’ve got to go, request denied!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University