Monday, 27 April 2009

The Labour Party and Brown's Restraint

It is rather hard on the Labour party to end up as Gordon Brown's cage, but where else is he to be kept? The golden bridges usually built to rid ourselves of our enemies cannot be constructed for him - public knowledge of what he is, is now so widespread there is nowhere to bridge to. No one would offer any encouragement to the Labour party to tempt him out of their world and release him any further onto ours.

When they thought to give the man his head and let him be prime minister they hoped it would be for the fag end of Blair's third Parliament and then he would move on to international pastures, leaving them free of his malign presence at last. The more honourable, or perhaps just sensible and realistic among them, thought he should be dealt with by Labour; a solution found within the Party to their home grown monster that had been bred by their own Party system and their failure to cleanse it of its despicable authoritarian underbellied corruption. But self-interest, or selfishness, or simple underestimation of the damage Brown had done stopped them from splitting the Party and giving real meaning to "Anyone but Gordon". Indeed, their policy should have been "Anything but Gordon", including taking the chance on moving forward with building a democratic party they had evidence was widely supported by the electorate as a whole, and going to the country rather than giving way to Gordon and his cabal of bullies.

The need to develop international institutions to assist the provision of international responses, when international responses are occurring anyway, has been demonstrated repeatedly since the end of the Second War. Necessarily, these institutions need to be upgraded as finance and economics become ever more interactive across national borders. As do the powers granted to them by nation states, and as do their institutional structures. These are real developments of real importance, not parking provision for political embarrassments. The World Bank stamped on the idea of Brown in office there years ago. While the IMF knows it must change, embracing today's economic realities, giving more power to China and loosening the control of the United States (developments fraught with difficulty and the need for the subtlest of negotiations and interactions) it is no place for a novice. Certainly there is nothing there for anyone from a country that was told in the last few days that its budget is made up of fantasy figures. Or for a country that cannot even begin to qualify for a Flexible Credit Line arrangement demanding “ . . . (iv) a reserve position that is relatively comfortable . . . ; (v) sound public finances, including a sustainable public debt position; . . . (vii) the absence of bank solvency problems that pose an immediate threat of a systemic banking crisis; (viii) effective financial sector supervision.” It is questionable whether criteria (iv) and (v) are met. Criteria (vii) and (viii) are obviously not met.', as Willem Buiter notes. The European Union? Labour's Shame is known there too. There is no international role.

The Labour party must accept its long term care responsibility, it cannot escape it now, however much it must regret not making the cage smaller and more secure when it could still hope to engage the wider centre left movement. There is nowhere to send him except into the kind of rump party oblivion he and the Party he destroyed deserve. The building of a centre left coalition is all the harder now for failing to deal, when the opportunity was there, with a Labour party that grew a Brown as a Leader.


Odin's Raven said...

Loch Ness has space for another monster. Give Brown a pair of concrete shoes and he'd fill the post admirably.

Ron Nasturtium said...

Hattie dearest,
You have an eternal place in my affections for the truths you tell about the Neo-Labour regime, but there's one thing about Gordon Brown which can never be taken away: However bad he is, he's an enormous improvement on his predecessor.

Bill Quango MP said...

I'm not sure the PLP did think he would disappear forever after a half term stint as PM.
Rather he would lead them to the greatest glory imaginable, without the 'celebrity' and 'Peer' funding and President kissing associated with Blair.
A good old hardcore socialist, with a sprinkling of Labour Lite to appease the middle classes.

He was never widely thought of by the public. When the PLP rump thinks of choosing Ed Balls as successor, they should pause and reflect on the damage they have already done to their party.

hatfield girl said...

Why then, Mr Nasturtium, is Brown canvassing for Blair as EU president - an office that does not even exist and would not if most of us had our way? And 'us' includes the Germans, Czechs, Poles, as well as the Irish, and other odds and sods who are still holding out

One hand washes the other.

hatfield girl said...

Labour will keep Gordon Brown. He is their creation and the Party is remade in his image.

It's one of those 'It is right that' thingies, BQ.