Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Labour isn't dumping Brown

Simon Heffer writes a piece in which he suggests that the obvious course of action for the Parliamentary Labour party to get of Gordon Brown:
...Labour MPs know what to expect when a party continues to be loyal to an obviously defeated and discredited leader. The party soon loses so heavily that it is out of power for several terms. For many MPs, it is the end of a political career. Many ministers suffer a similar fate, eventually clawing their way back into employment only after two or three years of misery and humiliation. Does Labour want its own 1997?

Self-interest should dictate it does not.
If it was that obvious then why is nothing much happening? Gordon Brown is an electoral disaster who possesses none of the policy and character strengths of a John Major. That he has to go is indeed obvious, but it might not happen, and there is a reason for this. According to a parliamentary friend of mine, you have to think about who Labour MPs actually are. For most of them being an MP is the best job that they have ever had, more responsibility and better pay then they could command in the private sector. Most Conservatives on the other hand take pay cuts to enter parliament. So, let's say you are a Labour MP. You are on a majority of a few thousand and mathematically virtually certain to lose your seat at the next election. You have been told that a change of leader means an early election, which will make you unemployed. So, you back Gordon because at least that means nearly two more years in work. If there is going to be a coup it will come from those with majorities in the 6-8000 range who have everything to play for, but given Labour's arcane rules there aren't enough of them against the small majorities and the huge majorities who have no particular reason to dump Gordon. That is why he clings one.

Just where did you think the 'a new leader means an early election' stuff actually comes from?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wat Tyler project well underway

Basildon's Conservative Council regeneration portfolio is not short of major projects. This reflects our activist approach to improving our community. Basildon Tories don't just sit about, we get things done despite jibes from our local Labour party. I remember a comment from a Labour Councillor a while ago while we were discussing our plans in a Council meeting along that lines that 'you haven't built anything yet'. Well the George Hurd Centre opened recently, a £2m centre for the elderly housing a day centre and offices for voluntary organisations working with the elderly. We have now been asked by the Audit Commission if they can use that project as an example of best practice by Local Authorities, because of the way we managed to get it built at no cost to the Council as part of a land swap deal that also saw the provision of affordable and social housing for our people. Our next opening is likely to be the Heritage Centre at Wat Tyler park, which has been paid for largely by Lottery funding and which will boost the attractiveness of what is already an excellent public asset. Building work is progressing well and the project is on time to complete for an opening next year. This compliments the other regeneration efforts in Pitsea, which are also proceeding apace.

The only cloud on the horizon is the general economic malaise, which has hit the property industry especially hard. This has had the effect of winnowing out poor projects around the country, and all of ours are still in progess, but recession and uncertainty are not friends of large-scale regeneration. Better national leadership can make a real difference here. Can we have some please?