24 January 2008


Of course, he had to go – but it's sad. Hain, for all his faults, was the last remaining member of the cabinet who was on the left in the 80s and 90s and who still retained some credibility as a leading soft-left (or democratic-left or whatever you want to call it) figure in Labour politics.

His demise is significant. The extraordinary incompetence of his deputy leadership campaign speaks volumes about the state of the democratic left in the Labour Party: leaving aside the allegations of dodgy donations, it's hard for anyone who was around 15 or 20 years ago not to notice that he took on the most useless people to run his bid for the post. No names, no pack-drill, but ... Jesus!

I guess they were the only comrades from the old days who were still around. The whole democratic left scene has hollowed out. Whatever, the Hainites spent a vast amount of money and failed – not least because they stupidly targeted the trade union and individual membership vote in Labour's electoral college rather than the MPs who have much greater weight inside it. (Hain came fifth out of sixth in the overall result but was a respectable third in terms of the actual number of votes cast: his humiliation came from his fellow MPs.)

Oh, well. Another long march through the institutions that ends in nothing much. Time for sex and drugs and rock'n'roll.

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