Thursday, 31 May 2007

New Labour corrupts absolutely


As if proof were needed, Tuesday’s Newsnight debate between the six candidates for the post of New Labour’s deputy leader demonstrated the maxim that power corrupts. The only candidate able to give a straight answer to a simple question was John Cruddas, the one who has never held office.

The five that have been ministers under Tony Blair, Hazel Blears, Hilary Benn, Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman and the Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain, were slippery and evasive, particularly in regard to their support for the invasion of Iraq – as if we still believed their excuse that weapons of mass destruction had anything to do with it!

I remember a time when Hilary Benn held strong convictions, like his father, and even Peter Hain once had ideals. Not any longer it seems.

Are politicians incapable of grasping the simple fact that voters respond best to honesty? None, apart from Cruddas, were prepared to affirm any policy that risked alienating big business, foreign tax exiles or any other interest group and none, apart from Cruddas, were prepared to express a preference for any of the other candidates.

Newsnight viewers were invited to vote online for the candidate they felt had ‘won’ the debate. More than 40% voted for Cruddas who ‘won’ by a mile. At the other end, less than 5% voted for Hain.

Despite being by far the best candidate for the job, this being to do with New Labour, Cruddas doesn’t have a hope in hell of getting elected.

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