James Forsyth

It is disinterest not defections that should really worry Labour

It is disinterest not defections that should really worry Labour
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I suspect that Lord Ashdown and the Lib Dems are involved in a bit of mischief-making with their suggestion that Blairite MPs might come and join them (see Pete's take on the story here). The Lib Dems have no realistic prospect of power and I suspect that the Blairites are thoroughly tired of constantly going against a party base that is considerably to the left of them. What I do think, though, is a danger is a lack of a Gaitskellian desire to ‘fight and fight again to save the party’.

A friend of mine was recently in a discussion with a Cabinet minister and asked him what he would do if the party lurched to the left or was taken over by the Balls-Unite axis. He replied, ‘Oh I’d be off then.’ He went on to talk about alternative careers he could pursue. What the younger ranks of the Labour party lack is a Mandelson figure, someone tribally committed to Labour but who understands where the party needs to be and what it needs to do to win elections.

PS One thing to watch over the coming months is the growing closeness between Ed Miliband and the Blairites in Cabinet. I hear he is strongly backing their demands for input into the manifesto drafting process.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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