Matthew Dancona

Clarke lashes out (again)

Clarke lashes out (again)
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Charles Clarke, as predicted earlier, has been distributing his article in the new Progress magazine. It is strong stuff:

"First, we have to change the conduct of our politics. We should discard the techniques of ‘triangulation’, and ‘dividing lines’ with the Conservatives, which lead to the not entirely unjustified charge that we simply follow proposals from the Conservatives or the right-wing media, to minimise differences and remove lines of attack against us. We should finish with ‘dog whistle’ language, such as ‘British jobs for British workers’, which flatter some of the most chauvinistic and backward-looking parts of British society. We should suspend the black arts of divisive inner-party briefing and bullying which penalise and inhibit debate and discussion about the future."

Ouch. Various proposals follow, varying from the specific (supporting the Hollis plan for women’s pensions) to vague bromides (“strengthen public confidence in the criminal justice system”). But there is real anger here, and a clear ultimatum to Brown.

"We must robustly reject those who say that defeat in 2010 is inevitable. Such people – often relatively comfortable themselves – have no right to condemn whole communities to a decade or more of Conservatism. However their predictions could come true if Labour does not clearly resolve its direction and approach well before this year’s party conferences. Everyone in the Labour party and outside will be constantly alert to progress we are making in this respect."

The Labour conference, since you ask, opens on September 20 in Manchester. The clock is ticking, Gordon.