Thursday, 8 May 2008

Catching a break

If Gordon Brown thought that an announcement on cannabis will blow off the press and MPs wanting to continue its highlighting of Labour screw ups, it seems to be failing. New Labour architect Peter Mandelson has come out saying that scrapping the band was “a very big mistake”. Along with this the Mail has been fanning the flames over reform of abortion laws (I personally disagree that an issue as serious as abortion reform should be tagged onto the current HFE Bill which some are trying to) and Labour’s Scottish leader Wendy Alexander (International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander’s sister) tactical mistake in calling the SNP’s bluff over a referendum on independence. Newsnight also had a story last night about poor security at airports and how foreign workers do not require a CRB check to work airside (the relevant Minister did not like having to answer the questions). Labour’s only saving grace has been making the right call on cannabis, a decision they should never have made.

The SNP bluff was a strange situation because Wendy Alexander has operated completely independently of the rest of the Party and caught everyone off guard making an apparent U-turn on Labour’s previous refusal to support a referendum without even asking Gordon Brown for support. She made it very clear that she would now support a referendum immediately to sort the issue out, arguing that the SNP is delaying its pledge to hold a referendum, even though the delay will be till 2011, so still within the current Scottish Parliamentary term. She has clearly tried to jump the gun to pin the SNP down on anything to gain some initiative, but has been caught and knocked back badly. This is not the first time she’s been in trouble, having been caught taking an illegal Party donation. Brown did not give her his full support on the referendum issue so it seems she has some explaining to do. Furthermore, he seemed to have a different view on what she said to what everyone else seems to have heard

David Miliband desperately tried to avoid talking about his obvious leadership ambitions on Newsnight, even though he’s been doing speeches outside his own brief, a clear signal of intention. He cowered back into his seat and got very defensive. If he isn’t harbouring ambitions to be the next Labour leader then I’m Brad Pitt…

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