Sunday, 13 May 2007

Blair bows out....

And amid a customary flurry of substanceless self-justification, and amid a cacophony of really rather tedious punditry. I'd challenge even the most earnest political nerd to read any of the "Blair's 10 years" supplements without feeling the sharpest urge to take respite in some juicy pointless gossip about Kate Moss or Lilly Allen or Pete Doherty.

And now Brown awaits, offering the odd hint of better things (parliamentary approval for any decision on war, a beefed-up constitution, though details are still vague), but amid much the same blether about remaining New Labour, not "going back 20 years" (the Blair/Brownite stock response to any criticism from the left is to accuse critics of living in the past; given New Labour's own evident obsession with the past perhaps it is they, not us, who are the ones fighting yesterday's battles).

So we need a contest. That the Labour party should elect its leaders seems such an obvious and basic democratic point it's depressing it needs to be made. It's also entirely predictable that the same point doesn't bother many political pundits, locked as they are in their "choppy waters for the government" sub-Day Today Westminster village court-gossippy world - compared to which, frankly, what the Sugababes and Girls Aloud are up to *is* more interesting.

Anyway, here's the letter in yesterday's Guardian that I and 339 other people signed, asking the Parliamentary Labour Party to be so decent as to permit us this contest. Don't hold your breath.

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