Peter Hoskin

Prescott lashes out

Prescott lashes out
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Another post, another interview with a Labour figure.  This time it's John Prescott's conversation with Michael Savage in the Independent.  Prescott puts in a fiery performance, and lashes out at almost everyone and everything within his party.  I've pulled out some of his attacks below, for the benefit of CoffeeHousers:

On the Labour Party: "There is no direction in campaigning – we are drifting ....  So there's a feeling in the party that, somehow, we're not getting a grip on it. There is something lacking."

On Harriet Harman: "If I was being honest about it, I think too much of [her] emphasis has been on female rights..."

On Labour's campaign organisers: "Those who have responsibility for campaigning – it is not reaching out to the depths of the party ....  I don't believe, neither will I accept, it is simply about money. We've got a whole bank of MPs who should be out there, doing that job."

On the absence of leadership: "I worry somehow that we've been in a 15-round fight. We're just losing the other rounds when we shouldn't and it's almost getting to the stage where we have to win with a knock-out. There's got to be leadership and there's got to be a message. If we don't get that, then we won't get the knock-out punch in the last round. And we are in the last round."

On "defeatist" MPs: "We've got a whole bank of MPs, but everybody seems despondent. There's too much defeatist thinking."

On Labour's current crop of strategists: "We would have a reply within minutes of a story coming out. Alastair [Campbell] had a good smell for that. These people were exceptional. I don't think the same talent is around today."

On the government's overall vision: "We've got individual ministers saying things about their departments, but there's no overall message."

On James Purnell and Jon Crudass: "They're a bloody party of whiners, when what we want is a party of campaigners." Prescott's overall message is that Labour should get on with campaigning, and take the fight to the Tories.  But, reading this interview, it's hard not to see it as indicative of the fin de siècle mood that has overtaken Labour.