Globalisation really has made the world a small place. I am currently in Africa, and last night was speaking with an African minister well connected to a group of New Labour’s senior black activists. He told me that David Milliband has been talking with his brother, two other cabinet ministers and Alan Johnson about how to ditch Brown if New Labour come fourth in the European Elections, behind the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP.
There is a view now inside New Labour that coming fourth is a very real possibility, and would trigger mass panic among MPs and possibly a spiral downwards to electoral annihilation next year. They fear the Lib Dems traditionally poor performance in Euro elections will be outweighed by a failure of the New Labour core vote to turn out. There are also tensions over the Hazel Blears strategy of trying to motivate the core vote by talking up the BNP threat, with many in the black community feeling this was counter-productive in giving the BNP extra publicity.
Obviously there is an element of Chinese whispers here, but I have no doubt that his account is broadly true and does reflect what it now feels like to be inside as New Labour implodes – as witness the appalling revelation that 52 New Labour MPs have formally requested to be appointed for life to the disgusting croneyism that is the House of Lords.
I wonder if Uzbek government spokesman Andrew Dismore MP is one? No way he’ll hold Hendon, thank God.
Good article on New Labour’s rush for the Lords by Andrew Kettle. Comments are even better.