Leadership of the New Labour Project

“I think you guys are going to get a majority of 40,” one veteran Labour adviser told me, and I did not disagree

There are all sorts of reasons for voting Tory this week. It is a chance to strike a blow against over-regulation and over-taxation and political correctness, and a chance to enact beautiful new ideas like National Citizens Service for 16-year-olds.

After the disastrous stewardship of Gordon Brown, the man best placed to rescue the New Labour project from Cleggmania and reassure the middle classes is Lord Mandelson

I’ll tell you what was going through the mind of the average Labour MP when Gordon Brown managed to stage one of the most spectacular political pratfalls since Neil Kinnock invited the world’s media to picture him walking along a beach with his wife and contrived to be knocked over by a wave. It was worse than Walter Mondale crying on television. It was as suicidal as Cicero being rude about Octavian.

When Gordon Brown went to Rochdale, and ended up making a direct personal attack on the character and motives of Labour’s core vote, Labour MPs weren’t thinking how to rescue the situation. They were thinking it was the end.

It cannot go on, and in the name of common humanity it must not go on. Deep in their hearts, Labour knows that there will be a change of government on Thursday. There are plenty of Labour people who believe – as I believe – that the spectre of a hung parliament will vanish in the polling booth as voters are confronted with a choice: between the endless drift and dither of a coalition, or giving this country the new start it so desperately needs.

“I think you guys are going to get a majority of 40,” one veteran Labour adviser told me at the weekend, and I did not disagree.

Gordon will finally be asked to leave the stage in what most of us can now see is the best thing, not just for the country, but perhaps even for him; and then Labour will have to find a new leader.

So in a spirit of strict impartiality, let me canvass the options. Let us avert our eyes from the car-crash of the Labour campaign, whose press launch on Friday was interrupted – in a glorious example of what I think T S Eliot called the objective correlative – by an actual car actually crashing, and let us focus on the forthcoming battle for the Labour leadership.

I have read somewhere that Harriet Harman believes she is the front runner, since she is already deputy leader and would be expected to step pro tem into Gordon’s shoes. All I can say is that if Hattie Harperson becomes leader of the Labour Party, and uses that platform to advance her bossy, bullying, nannying agenda of yet more workplace regulation – at a time when the country is struggling to get people back to work – then it strikes me that Labour could well be out of office not just for a generation but for a century.

With the Guardian and the Observer already coming out for the Lib Dems, the great Clegg switcheroo would be complete. Labour would be pushed out to the Left, a party of Luddite reaction, supported by only the most traditional of trades unionists, and the Liberals would be the new voice of the centre-Left. So they would be mad to go for Hattie.

Who does that leave? There are the Milibands, David and Ed, who both attract support from respectable opinion.

The trouble is that there are two of them, and the older one, David, lost a lot of points when he bottled an assassination attempt on Gordon and made a reedy speech to his party conference about how the “world is a dangerous place”. We know the world is a dangerous place, David, but if you haven’t got the gumption to take on Charlie Whelan and the Brownites, how can we expect you to stand up to Putin or North Korea?

Some people say Labour should therefore draft his younger brother Ed, but I have to say that as the elder brother of my family – beleaguered by taller, cleverer, better-looking younger siblings – I feel this is an offence against the natural order of things.

The only way to avoid some Cain-and-Abel crisis in the Miliband family is to rule they are neither of them quite ready for job.

Which takes us to Ed Balls, and again, it is hard to see how this would work in the long-term interests of Labour. There are all sorts of reasons for voting Tory this week. It is a chance to strike a blow against over-regulation and over-taxation and political correctness, and a chance to enact beautiful new ideas like National Citizens Service for 16-year-olds.

But for some of us, the most powerful and intoxicating reason of all is that we have a chance to vote out the pugnacious Education Secretary and punish him for his attack on Latin. Even if Ed survives Thursday night, it is hard to see how Labour would prosper under a leader who already mobilises such rage.

There is, of course, Alan Johnson, who would normally get my vote because he is a nice chap and probably a distant cousin,
but he has mystifyingly ruled himself out by saying that he is not up to it.

Who else is there to emerge with any credit from the smoking wreckage of the Labour campaign?

There is one man whose reputation – amazingly – has been burnished by the disaster of the past few weeks; one man who is still sought after by society hostesses; one man whose every silken Voldemortian utterance is still taken down, with reverence, by the political journalists.

It is wholly fitting, after the disastrous stewardship of Gordon Brown, that the man best placed to rescue the New Labour project from Cleggmania and reassure the middle classes is the ermine-sporting, eyebrow-arching aristocrat of the party, the grandson of Herbert Morrison, the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council, President of the Board of Trade and Lord High Everything Else, Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool.

That is my advice to my Labour friends, though whether they take it is another matter.

You can continue to read more news and views and the fuller version of this article in The Daily Telegraph here

31 thoughts on “Leadership of the New Labour Project”

  1. Lord Mandelson never struck me as particularly “Labour”, even before he was Lord-ed. He’s not “a man of the people”, which might be a good thing. I think this is related to the age-old tension between a) nobly wanting to represent “the people” and their wishes, and b) the enervating experience of finding out that “the people” are collectively stupid, regardless of how smart they are individually. Be too smart, you get accused of “elitism” and have to dumb down, as Mr. Obama had to do in 2008.

  2. Change. New start. Just for the sake of it. Play another bloody record, Bozza.
    When I saw slimy Dave on the electric television the other evening, it was redolent of a third rate insurance salesman trying to sell me a policy that I didn’t need. He was patronising and entirely lacking in substance. No personality. Fortunately, the election is about policies not personalities. Unfortunately, slimy Dave does not have any of those either.
    Cameron, Brown, Clegg – three right wing halfwits with not a clue how to cope.

    A plague on all of their houses.

  3. Oh come on Boris …… see the light, it’s time for you to say goodbye to the great mayorship and take hold of the Tory party and lead it to an overwhelming victim ……

    Any politician that would stand up, talk straight and show leadership would walk away with it …..

    Its your time ……. 🙂

  4. This is one of Boris’s articles that makes me think “But what does he really mean?” Lord M. as Labour party leader? Who would vote for him, he isn’t that popular, is he? Can’t see him as the face of Old Labour, they woudn’t like him as leader. Mmm, New Labour, links with Tony Blair and all that shameful business, links with Ali C, he is so pro-Europe, voters wouldn’t like that, so all those factions wouldn’t vote for him, …… Oh, OK!

  5. Boris, your comments about Mandelson being potentially in charge are nonsense as in a constitutional monarchy you can only have one queen in charge

    I would worry about her majesty ennobling the Blair, perhaps as the earl of Salisbury, and asking him to form a coalition. plus ca change…

    best wishes


  6. Well, after recent happenings where Ed Balls was ‘Court’ out using his mobile whilst driving (us round the bend)i would have to phone a friend to work out whether he should be allowed to remain in the party. After pulling over and stopping of course!
    What a good example to set, not that he has anything to do with, oh say the more impressionable amongst us like… umm… our children perhaps?
    Then include his recent criticisms from the public in regards to his appointing abilities…. Choosing a member of staff for a job against the opinions of various others..

    Then again, its not as if this choice led to that particular staff member umm… Insulting a woman who lost her son; James Bulger, in a horrific way at the hands of child killers venables and tompson. I mean she didn’t suggest the pair who had committed pre-meditated murder, were not fully aware of what they were doing. Then argue her case to raise the age of criminal responsibility, based upon this single case… did she?
    I wonder where abouts in government mr balls would now stand if he had actually caused an accident or god forbid a fatality due to his use of phone whilst driving?
    OK so at least he was caught before this happened.
    However, no one has realized what has happened here have they?
    We curse mps for expenses claims, money, thats all it is . Whats money in comparison to a human life? You cannot claim a new one back from your insurance, nor can any amount of money buy a replacement or heal the scars of a loved ones death.
    Although nope, oh its no biggie because he didnt hurt anyone. If you think about it , its the same as;
    “oh yes we understand he fired the gun at him, he may of been aiming for the head and intending to kill him yes. But at the end of the day… he missed, so we see no problem here” ?????
    Read on at risk of your sanity……..
    I believe in the british theatre of politics; gordon brown has been his own understudy.

    He was quite happily practicing his lines away from prying eyes in the chancellors dressing room. Then after auditioning for the main role, he saw the lights in his new changing area and was struck with stage fright, leaving him unable to not only play the part as was desired but, unable to mess up as it seems he just completely frooze with fear after realising people were now able to see what he is actually doing/not doing.

    So unsure of the script, audience and stage directions (or regulations hmmm…). His whole time was spent on stage but not actually doing anything. Act2 scene 4 he starts to think that perhaps the audience maybe catching on that he is not moving so…
    He says the first thing that comes to mind and suggests we change the voting format so at least he may make 3rd place at the upcoming oscars if nothing else!

    Then by the time the third act comes along, he has been placed on a silver podium-like device so the stage hands can move him to the correct spot with the least effort.
    The final conflict starts, he is set to fight two other actors, one of whom has probably attended stagecoach and lessons in body launguage and knows exactly how to ‘make love’ to the camera. Hes not only learnt his lines but starts to ad lib at the same time.

    The Other actor,who was the far more experienced. A successful Shakespearean actor… he has studied how to perform and motivation, whilst taking the time to fully research his character and what he stands for. In fact he showed up with a whole portfolio of information ideas and skills.

    Gordon still stiff with fear knows he has to do something or he will never pass another audition. He watches as his fellow actors battle in the final fight scene.
    The shakesperian actor it is clear has a better battle plan and is swinging from chandeliers in comparison to the efforts of the younger ad-lib(eral) but, all the binoculars are pointing in the direction of this new charcter. so everyone including the spotlight concentrate on this interesting new actor giving him the advantage.
    In a desperate bid to make some impression on this audience , gordon carefully judges the situation and screams…
    “i agree with nick”

    —the act of parliament—
    Last showing 6th of may-
    tickets available on the door
    (with proof of reservation)
    +special guest star+
    with all new surprise ending!

    We could always forget about voting ….
    And decide the next party on a single test..
    i propose an egg and spoon race…
    but instead of an egg a pound coin…
    Whoever doesn’t drop the sterling, wins!

  7. This article is not intentionally confusing: it’s just intentionally drawing people’s attention to potential party leaders other than those currently at the reins.

    Gosh, wonder what Boris would have to gain from such a move?

  8. On radio this morning: “Immigration issue is still much on election agendas…”

    One family with 7 kids from Czech, the 29 yrs old husband is unemployed when he arrived in Peterborough, his wife is unemployed. They applied for a council house. 3 months later, they got a 3 bedroom council house plus housing benefits, child benefits and unemployment benefits for him and her. Anyway, they complain the house is not big enough.

    As we know, there are 2 types of immigrants: refugees and economy immigrants.

    Refugees who fled their own countries lost everything. They deserve help to rebuild their lives.

    Economy immigrants chose to move to another country to start afresh. Example: Brits who want to move to USA, Canada, Australia… They have to help themselves financially. If they can’t afford it, they won’t get the visas from their chosen country.

    Surely, immigrants from other EU countries are economy immigrants and not refugees?

    Peter Mandelson argued: ” They come here but you Brits can do the same. You can move to their countries just the same. Why complaining?” .Do you think an old couple or a young couple from Britain can move to Spain and ask for a council house over there?

  9. Mel and raincoaster: You Gov are holding a poll, who would you like to be PM, out of the three party leaders and Boris Johnson? Won’t it be awkward though? When Bojo wins, having to call another election?

  10. On twitter, Labour suporters are absolutely desperate! Can tell because they are being really nasty to Tory supporters, calling us homophobes (Me, a homophobe!!!!!) and other nasty things, desperately trying to make up the ground lost by Gordon in #bigotgate.

    When Labour turn nasty and lie and malign their opponents, they are merely trashing the vestiges of what, many decades ago, was a great party.

    I must apologise for saying on twitter that Nick clegg constantly talks about the new politics,without ever producing any remotely new idea. I found one today.

    He wants to legalise brothels.

    What with the cannabis cafes, the free heroin, and now the legal hookers trick or treating on every street corner, life under the Lib Dems promises to be economically disastrous, totally dangerous (Trident), powerless (all power with Brussels) but one hell of a party. Morally, it will be like Dante’s Inferno or Sodom and Gomorrah.

  11. A poor girl was crying as she spoke at the Labour Press Conference, saying if there were a minimum wage, we would not have to eat lentils every day. Isn’t that Labour’s fault though, they have been in power for 13 years. How are they going to dump that one on the Tories?

  12. Is this a covert attempt to nobble Mandelson or has Boris written it for a wager?

    While I understand that the concept of Mandelson has inspired many while producing revulsion in others, I have never thought of Mandelson as literally existing. He is an earthy spirit – hath not the earth bubbles? – or a strange, mythic creature, half man, half mantis. You can’t imagine him, say, eating fish and chips, watching football or enjoying Schubert. Or perhaps he is a sorcerer and Blair is his golem.

    In any case he’d finish off the Labour Party.

  13. Talking about 13 years of Labour’s health & safety, political correctness gone mad, bureaucracy, red tape, wastefulness etc…

    My friend and her friend parked their car beside a local park at around 8 pm; not really dark given plenty of street lights around the park. Anyway, as they were about to get in their car, a police van with 4 or 5 police officers inside pulled over. 2 of them got out of the van and asked them why they were there, if the car was theirs. They said they had a walk and now they were going home and it was their car as they showed them their car keys.

    The police demanded to see their car documents, driving licences, insurance certificate etc… They just laughed it off, saying it was their car as they were holding the car keys in their hands, so why do they have to show police documents or papers? And they just tried to get in their car.

    NO! the police said: where are you going? We are going to pound your car now! And before you walk home, you have to give us your personal details.

    Of course my friends blew their tops and told them they were going to phone their solicitors.

    In the end, police let them drive off. My friends just swore at them on the way out of the park car park.

    The moral of this true story is: Labour knowingly let the police have an easy life- driving around picking on innocent people, taking down their personal details, filling in forms etc… rather than walking on their beat sorting out real problems or chasing after the criminals… ( you know what the police should do during their work hours, folks ).

    In return, the police will vote for Labour again and again ( in return for an easy life! ). It’s easy to see why, isn’t it? Example: If you keep pigs at home, and you give them 5 meals a day instead of 1 meal a day, the pigs will not bite you when you enter their pen.

  14. Because they are socialists, Ed. Everybody knows that socialism equals communism.

    Nowadays, under Labour’s equality and “anti-racism” laws (!), “our” police are ordered to go around the streets, stopping people, asking questions then writing down their personal details ( names, addresses etc… ). And the police must make sure the numbers of skin colours of the people they stop and ask questions must be equal. Example: 5 whites, 5 browns, 5 blacks…

    Our police are now well known for spending most of their work hours filling in forms; even the police admit that.

    Labour says they make the police do this to improve their public services (?) but in fact Labour knows that they only do this because they want to buy police votes. And the police, in public, pretend to say that they hate the new system, that they rather go back to old fashioned police work ( chasing after criminals ) but behind closed door they just love it; the easy work now Labour give them. And they will vote for Labour again and again.

    Anyone who is still unsure what Cameron stands for PLEASE read his 16 points contract with our broken and messed up country:


    Please read it, thank-you from my heart. Do we really want another 5 years of Labour ruining this already messed up and broken country?

  15. Boris Johnson has done nothing to change the marxist punishing policies that the last Mayor, Ken livingstone implemented on London. Specifically in relation to parking fines and congestion fines for minor infringements.

    At least Ken was ideologically aligned to his misguided schemes, but I thought Tories were all about minimal intervention in the everyday lives of people, and creating wealth through vibrant business growth, not skimming the finances of the poor !

    Parking fines, congestion fines , hikes in tube fares, no housing for working people at a reasonable cost, over crowding … blah blah

    Even the bankers are leaving …

    Yea what is it exactly you have done for London Mr Johnson ?

  16. @angelneptunestar: Hmmm.. do i see a link here?
    How long roughly have we been paying billions to the E.U?
    Perhaps if they were to give one of those billions, just one back to us, we could take that little girl to maccy d’s?
    I wouldn’t worry about clegg throwing our country down the pan, shortly after (god forbid) he did win … he would find himself stripped of power hope that makes ya feel better.So all those things would still happen at the hands of europe instead.
    Just with the odd few more regulations and truck loads of red tape!
    I’m sorry 🙁
    We can only hope we are given some sort of chance to stop it all before it starts….clegg and the loss of all things British

  17. http://cyberboris.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/england-expects/

    Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods ?
    Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds ?
    Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed ?
    Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

    I need a hero, I’m holding out for at hero ’till the end of the night
    He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast
    And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
    I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero ’till the morning light
    He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon
    And …….

    Listen to the video for the rest of the song. Appropriate or what?

  18. “Forty Conservative council leaders join forces to criticise Liberal Democrat plans to introduce a new system of road charging.”

    This sounds like the sort of cheap populist vote-winner that Boris Johnson should throw his weight behind.

    Because it’s cowardly, but it’ll win votes.

  19. Boris when will you rise up in anger? the time is not yet right and you are not quite ready. nigel

  20. haha who has red fisted me for speaking up for liberty !!
    [Ed: inappropriate content]

  21. Janina, they will. Hilarious song and video, isn’t it?

    Maybe it would be an idea to give some of these Tory bashers some basic lessons in economics. Our present plight is a rerun of what Maggie went through after the fiasco of Harold Wilson’s free spending government when they were giving 30% pay rises to the unions that we couldn’t afford. Only someone with the strength of character of Mrs. Thatcher could have got us out of that situation.

    Gordon is too afraid of losing popularity to tackle our deficit straight away, but our indebtedness is so appalling, it will take equally tough measures to get our economy healthy again. This time, maybe some brilliant communicator will appear who can explain how necessary tough measures are in a way that the left wingers who don’t want them can understand.

  22. Hung Parliament?

    I was very surprised to see this as I had never heard of Mr Hung, But how terribly multicultural to have a Chinese prime minister I understand that he is a close friend of Mr Mandelson and is known as “well Hung”

  23. I’m sorry Boris, we love you, but no one but a hard core wants the classic Tories back, ‘one nation’ or not. The trouble is no party represents working class people, so we don’t know who to vote for. All the parties mouth the same trendy middle-class liberal meaningless catchwords. Meanwhile unrestricted immigration has forced down the lowest paid wages, and made crappy conditions in blue collar jobs, because 20 year old Eastern Europeans will stand for anything. They don’t have to be here long term or pay fuel bills or buy a house or look after kids. If you dare say any of this, someone screams ‘bigot’ at you. It’s no use the Guardian showing graphs of net emigration.It’s not a middle-class problem, only a working-class problem.
    We’d like you to get in and get us out of the European Union, which has only meant well-placed people ripping it off for millions, while ordinary people tear their hair out. We need a big revolution in thinking, but not back to Tory inequality and ‘who cares if the poor are not paid fairly’.
    Everyone’s got a fantasy about who you are Boris. Sadly it’s mostly old Etonian, not Superman.

Comments are closed.