“Two former Cabinet ministers have e-mailed all Labour MPs, calling for an "open debate" on the party's future. Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn wrote that Labour needed to show that, after 10 years in office it had the "vision and policies" for Britain's future. Both have previously urged Gordon Brown - favorite to succeed Tony Blair - to say what he would do as prime minister. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said the e-mail suggested that "waiting for Gordon isn't good enough".
Tony Blair has said he will step down as prime minister by September 2007, and Mr. Brown is widely expected to succeed him.”
Personally, I smell fish, especially if Milburn is involved. You may remember that Alan Milburn is the man who used to be Health Secretary and resigned, possibly because he couldn’t get the resources out of HM Treasury. He made a comeback a couple of years ago as “Party Chairman”, the defacto campaign chairman for the 2005 Election. You know the one where New Labours poll ratings floundered before Gordon (Brown) was invited back on board to help the Blair 3 re-election campaign. Milburn was last seen sulking. A lot.
Now he is back, alongside another of the “could have been contenders” Charles Clarke, asking for an open debate on the future of the party. Yeah right.
The only debate that these guys are interested in is the future of the New Labour brand. If Gordon becomes leader, the brand might be diluted, might be more Old Labour than it has been over the past 10 years.
The UK has lots of problems of its own making, its involvement in an illegal and disastrous war, a UNICEF report which claims that British children are the most miserable in the industrialized world, a private equity sector destroying the British economy, human rights stripped from us in the name of “safety”, and lastly, but by no means least, a report this week will claim that Scotland is poorer now than in the 1960’s.
We need good ideas, big schemes, ideas that will get us out of the hole we are in. New Labour, for it is New Labours future that Milburn and Clarke are trying to locate, does not have the answers. We need an alternative.