Peter Hoskin

Where are Labour’s manners?

Where are Labour's manners?
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For all the feverish political activity in Westiminster today – and beyond the occasional voting reform protest – there's a strange, impermeable calm to the situation.  Everything is going on behind closed doors, and everyone is remaining relatively tight-lipped.  Signs are, we may have to wait a couple of days before any light breaks through the fog of discussion and counter-discussion.  

One thing, though, is already becoming increasingly clear: 13 years of tribalism haven't done Labour much good when it comes to cross-party negotiations.  There are, of course, the rumours that Gordon Brown had an – ahem – "unconstructive" meeting with Clegg last night.  But I more have in mind their reaction to Alex Salmond's overtures earlier today.  The SNP leader made noises to Sky about a "progressive consensus," rather than a Lib-Con coalition.  And how did Labour respond?  By saying that this was a "desperate attempt by Alex Salmond to make himself look relevant".

Well, that may or may not be true.  But given how the Labour leadership has all the cards stacked against it, it wouldn't hurt them to be a little more circumspect over the next few days.