Sunday, 7 June 2009

How low can they go?

I have been transfixed on my sofa this morning, half attempting to fathom this English game called cricket (just when I think I understand the rules, they introduce 'free strikes' and such like) and half perusing all the virtual column inches on the plight of Gordon Brown's administration.

I feel definitely sorry for the present British Prime Minister. The Labour Party appears finally and comprehensively to have forgotten the lessons learned from John Major's last days, weeks, months and years 'in office but not in power.'

The Local and European election results appear bad for the ruling national party, especially with at most twelve months to run until the next National election. But the open bout of party political regicide is unedifying, especially the low tactic of leaking an email exchange. (Whoever decided to publish this ought to ask what, besides titillation, they intended to achieve.)

Surely the most honest, effective and tribally loyal strategy to oust a political party's leader must be fought privately, within the party, taking the case to each MP, each consituency association, each party apparatchik. These manouevres must be kept within the party or else the integrity of the whole is perforce undermined by the actions of one or another faction.

The fact that so much of this battle has been fought in the open, public spaces of newspapers and television news networks suggests one or both of the following:

  1. The factions have forgotten that their key audience is private not public, party members and not the electorate
  2. That all-too-public in-fighting and navel-gazing at a time when the nation requires strong, concerted political leadership, can only have deservedly deleterious consequences for that party's esteem in the hearts and minds of voters
Our politics are poorly served by this spectacle of self-obsession.