Matthew Dancona

Tony, Gordon and Peter saved Labour: now they’ll destroy it

Matthew d’Ancona says that, by sticking with Brown, Labour has opted for a mad collective delusion. The party is still in thrall to the trio who invented New Labour and cannot think beyond the Blair-Brown era — an incapacity for which it will pay a terrible price

Matthew d’Ancona says that, by sticking with Brown, Labour has opted for a mad collective delusion. The party is still in thrall to the trio who invented New Labour and cannot think beyond the Blair-Brown era — an incapacity for which it will pay a terrible price

In Westminster this week, I have felt like the boy in the movie The Sixth Sense. You remember the character and his famous line. ‘I see dead people,’ he tells his therapist, Bruce Willis, ‘walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.’ How often does the boy see these scary, deluded beings? ‘All the time. They’re everywhere.’

And they are, you know. Everywhere. In Parliament Square, Portcullis House, the coffee shops around SW1: Labour MPs who think they are still alive, and that they will live to fight another day after the disasters of the past fortnight. Gordon Brown remains Prime Minister, he has formed a new Cabinet — just — and the Parliamentary Labour Party did not rise up on Monday night to defenestrate their leader. On they limp, these shambling, morally broken MPs, muttering to themselves that it could be worse, that catastrophe has been averted, that the moment of maximum danger is behind them. How deceived can a political tribe be? The expenses scandal shed unforgiving light upon a parliament of spivs. Now we have a parliament of zombies.

That PLP meeting was spun by Brown’s allies as a triumph. The new Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw — a close ally of David Miliband — declared that the Prime Minister ‘gave the speech of a lifetime’. And — as if that were not glorious enough — we learn that nobody clapped when Charles Clarke demanded that Gordon step down.

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