Every morning, I check the latest UK news to see how things are going in the annual Labour leadership selection.
Every morning, the news is the same as the day before. Much muttering and grumbling from “unnamed Cabinet ministers”, together with angry rebuttals from “allies of the Prime Minister”.
This carried on for a few days, until, as the papers tell me, something “electrifying” happened.
So what was this “electrifying” act? Did somebody step forward, declare himself sick of the current impasse, and challenge Gordon Brown to a leadership election?
Not on your nelly.
The “electrifying” act was a boring article written by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, in which he set out his “vision” for Britain. Boring the article may have appeared to you and me, but among the supine, lily-livered bunch of Labour MPs, that sort of behaviour is the closest thing possible to open warfare.
The press, bless ‘em. They have talked up the article for all it is worth, trying to provoke some sort of reaction from someone, anyone. They are doing their best to fan the flames of aggression, but Labour MPs, while willing, in private, to play the game, are too scared to come out publicly and declare their hand. Surely they cannot expect the press to wield the knife for them?
Among Labour MPs, the hostile intent towards Brown is everywhere present, but fear stays their hand. Had it been the Conservative Party suffering such a calamity, someone would, by now, have stepped forward to challenge the leader. Even the Liberal Democrats have shown themselves to be much more decisive and ruthless.
My comment is not about whether or not Brown should be ousted, but simply that, if that is what Labour wishes, they had better stop dithering, and get on with it.
I wonder for how long this will go on. Miliband took what, by cowardly Labour’s standards, was a very bold move. He then retreated a few steps by telephoning Gordon Brown to “explain” what he meant by that article. Hilarious. Is this the way to conduct a leadership challenge? What sort of people are these? He wants to be at the forefront should a vacancy arise, yet he is too mindful of his current status as a Cabinet minister to step out all the way. A strong-minded man would resign immediately and make plain his desire for the top job.
These Labour MPs are pathetic. They attack Brown for dithering, but by their private plaint and public inaction, they surpass him in this most unattractive trait. They are a bunch of weak-willed, cowardly men, and Gordon Brown knows that full well. With puffed-up self-importance, they squabble amongst themselves, deciding between themselves who should be the next Prime Minister. The views of the electorate are, to them, an irrelevance: in this also, they take after their hapless leader.
So let them squabble, let them fight amongst themselves. At least, while they are thus occupied, they are distracted from inflicting any deliberate damage on the country. They think themselves to be people of significance, but their every action tells a different story. The public are watching, and have given their judgement. These are not men to be respected. Rather, they are regarded with contempt, derision, and much, much pity.