Will Brown Survive this Time?

January 6, 2010

Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt are asking for a secret ballot of the Parliamentary Labour Party to decide on Brown’s leadership. Will the PLP move against Brown this time after numerous opportunities have been missed??? The letter is set out below. Guido Fawkes has claimed he was the first to break the news so hat tip to him!

Dear Colleague,
As we move towards a General Election it remains the case that the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply divided over the question of the leadership. Many colleagues have expressed their frustration at the way in which this question is affecting our political performance. We have therefore come to the conclusion that the only way to resolve this issue would be to allow every member to express their view in a secret ballot.

This could be done quickly and with minimum disruption to the work of MPs and the Government. Whatever the outcome the whole of the party could then go forward, knowing that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.

Strong supporters of the Prime Minister should have no difficulty in backing this approach. There is a risk otherwise that the persistent background briefing and grumbling could continue up to and possibly through the election campaign, affecting our ability to concentrate all of our energies on getting our real message across.
Equally those who want change, should they lose such a vote, would be expected by the majority of the PLP to devote all of their efforts to winning the election. The implications of such a vote would be clear – everyone would be bound to support the result.
This is a clear opportunity to finally lay this matter to rest. The continued speculation and uncertainty is allowing our opponents to portray us as dispirited and disunited. It is damaging our ability to set out our strong case to the electorate. It is giving our political opponents an easy target.

In what will inevitably be a difficult and demanding election campaign, we must have a determined and united parliamentary party. It is our job to lead the fight against our political opponents. We can only do that if we resolve these distractions. We hope that you will support this proposal.
Yours fraternally,
Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt


Elections To Police Authorities Scrapped

December 18, 2008

Only a month ago Vernon Coaker, the Policing Minister in support of direct elections to Police Authorities said that ‘only direct election, based on geographic constituencies, will deliver the strong connection to the public which is critical’ and dismissing fears from the Local Government Association and Association of Police Authorities of the BNP flooding authorities with its supporters he added, ‘The BNP has stood against many of the councillors on police authorities. They have stood against me. How have we beaten them? By persuasion; we have pointed out the racist nature of much of what they say.’

Presumably what Vernon Coaker said a month ago no longer applies as the Home Secretary has dropped plans for direct elections blaming the politicisation of the Police as a concern and the potential for BNP members to get elected. How odd that in an old and established democracy, people fear the outcome of a democratic result.

As far as politicisation is concerned, Jacqui Smith is talking utter nonsense. She seems to think that when Police chase targets and do what Ministers want them to do there’s no politicisation but when there’s a chance that the Police might end up doing what the public demands, they’re being politicised!

It is in the Labour Party’s genes to try and maintain state control over everything. Here, it flirted with local autonomy for Police Authorities albeit based on flawed plans but at the eleventh hour bottled it as it has previously in health and education with plans for Foundation Hospitals and School Academies.