Polly explains?

Nulabour new leader but same old problem

Nulabour, ready to goNulabour, ready to go
Have you ever had such laugh? The battle for the leadership of Nulabour, can it get any worse? Not so long ago Nulabour had convinced itself, and crucially, the Westminster village, that it was the finest political machine ever made. Now it looks, and performs, like a rusty wreck, if it were a car it would be traded in for a new model. Just as the Peter Mandelson scheme for trading old cars for new was supposed to help UK industry, but did not, the point of the leadership battle , it's hardly a beauty contest, was to stimulate the party, to make it better and renew it, but it won't. And we have none other than Polly Toynbee to tell us it's all gone wrong. But should we take her word for it? As in her case not so long ago she sang the praises of Nulabour, in its entirety, for all to hear. But now it's different, Toynbee calls the likes of Blair and Mandelson "yesteryear headline addicts". This is hard to take seriously from Toynbee, or her newspaper.

What she is complaining about is that the old guard, not just the names she mentions, are getting a second go. Or at least trying to by attempting to influence the outcome of the leadership election. In Nulabour speak, this is "unfair", Nulabour and its followers are besotted with the word. Fair is all well and good but it's not just a word it's a concept, and one that they simply do not understand. The very fact the leadership election is so open to push and shove from the big names of is both amusing and revealing, some people will have more than one vote! This is democracy Nulabour style, Toynbee and her ilk are happy when the result is going their way but get all fluffed up when it's not.

Is the publication (this week) of the Blair book 'A Journey', timed to cut right across the start of the most important part of the leadership elections, the issuing of the ballot papers? Toynbee is not alone wondering about the timing of this book. We did the same here with the publication of the book by Mandelson. In his case Toynbee makes a laughable mistake -

Mandelson had one last chance to do his party a service when he could have ousted Gordon Brown before inevitable electoral calamity. But self-interest kept him taking notes for his memoir instead: pollsters show that a new leader would have won Labour the extra 20 to 30 seats to prevent the present coalition. That hardly makes his leadership advice valuable.

Just how much does Toynbee understand about UK politics? Mandelson replacing Brown would not have solved the problem for Nulabour. Yes it was true that Brown was not elected to be leader of his party but he was an MP, Mandelson was not. Well past his sell-by-date, on the one hand Brown was a fool to bring him back, and on the other so is Toynbee to think he could have got Nulabour those extra seats. Such an error hardly makes her leadership advice valuable!

A car does not suddenly rust away it degrades over a long period of time, the signs are clear to those who wish to see, it's the same with political parties. Blaming Gordon Brown, and no other grandee from Nulabour is wrong, a point taken up, but not fully addressed, by Toynbee, her opinion on the value of the leadership race is -

This contest is Labour's chance to make a clean break with the past, above all with the old Blair-Brown schism. That's not easy, since all but Diane Abbott were implicated – Ed Balls most conspiratorially, the Milibands a bit less.

Suggesting that the Milibands are only slighty corroded by their association with the Nulabour old guard is ridiculous, as is pretending Diane Abbott is above it all and not connected to Nulabour's past years. Abbott has been an MP since 1987 how can it be otherwise? What is true is that Abbott has been a self-promoting schism-maker all those years, unfit to be an MP let alone party leader.

In making David Miliband the only route out of trouble Nulabour have got themselves another Granita deal. Granita was the name of the restaurant in Islington where the Blair Brown deal was stitched up. Perhaps in his book Blair will tell us otherwise, but we don't have to believe what he says do we? The current leadership process is about as unsavoury as it gets, and just as futile and fragile as the Blair/Brown deal. They do say the Granita closed in 2003 after 13 years of trading, the same number of years Nulabour were in power - how spooky is that, and how long before David Miliband is forced to earn his living writing 'the big book'?