Alex Massie

Labour’s Useless Plotters Should Watch The Wire for Guidance

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What a day! I mean, we've two feet of snow here and are running low on vital provisions (tobacco and whisky) and one of the chickens went missing and is feared lost in a snowdrift. A shame, since she's a reliable layer.

Meanwhile at Westminster, a pair of clowns armed with plastic spoons tried to knife the Prime Minister.

Tweedle-Who? and Tweedle-Hoon concocted a plot so comically useless that it seems possible that the only question is whether it will be remembered for its stupidity or its ineptitude. Now of course it ain't over yet (as James reminds us) but as of this writing it looks as though, yet again, Labour's plotters have demonstrated their utter hopelessness.

That is entertaining for those of us unlikely to vote Labour in the coming election but it's not, I hazard, splendid news for the Labour party. Assuming - and it's not certain by any means - that the Tories win a healthy majority, it seems quite possible, perhaps even probable, that the argument over Labour's future will cleave along left-right lines.

To the extent then that the plotters are perceived to be on the right or, to use a crude shorthand, Blairite wing of the party and that they are then seen to be destabilising the party and making life more difficult for the bloody movement then this kind of caper, hapless and un-cordinated as it may be, is likely to help persuade the rank and file that it's the "right" wot plotted and, consequently, lost the plot. In turn that then sets the stage for Labour to move to the left even more sharply than might otherwise be the case once they are in opposition.

If that's the case - and it's only if of course - then Ed Balls is today's winner and David Miliband the loser (again). Granted there will be significant pressure on the next Labour leader to tack left anyway but Hoon and Hewitt seem, at the moment, to have volunteered for the role of the patsies helping to ensure that this might happen more violently than either would like. All political parties are susceptible to the stab-in-the-back theory. The H&H "plot", even if armed with plastic cutlery, will help persuade the diehards that this was the determining factor behind Labour's (presumed) defeat.

It's all pretty bloody simple really. But if Labour MPs need to be put into Remedial Politics (and it seems they do) then they could do worse than just watch The Wire. As Omar told Wee-Bay, If you come at the King, you best not miss.

For a more comprehensive guide to political chess, Labour MPs (the pawns) and cabinet ministers (the castles) and even Peter Mandelson (the Queen) should consult the lesson D gives to Bodie and Wallace:

It's not difficult really.

But don't take my word for it, consult this pair of wise lefters: Hopi Sen and Sunder Katwala. Meanwhile, this Liberal Conspiracy illustration of the #lolplot made me chuckle.

UPDATE: I also recommend my old chum Mr Eugenides and his entertaining summary of the whole sorry farrago.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticslabour party