7 April 2005


This week's New Statesman comes up with possibly the most idiotic scheme for voting in the general election yet devised: vote against Labour in any vulnerable seat where the sitting Labour MP is not a supporter of Gordon Brown.

Among the sitting MPs it wants beaten "to give Blair a bloody nose" are some of Labour's best, including quite a few who used to contribute to the Statesman in my time on the magazine.

Sorry, but a Parliamentary Labour Party without Charles Clarke, John Reid, Harriet Harman, Kim Howells, Calum MacDonald, Phil Woolas and Wayne David – to take just a handful of the Statesman's chosen victims – would be a lot worse than the one we've got now. Clarke in particular would be a serious loss: he's the only current member of the cabinet who might (in certain circumstances) stand a chance against Brown in a post-Blair leadership contest.

This can't be dismissed as a freak opinion piece: the list was put together by the magazine's editor, Peter Wilby, and one of the contributors he thanks is John Kampfner, his political editor. As a onetime deputy editor of the Statesman, I'm ashamed of them.

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