Sunday, 7 July 2013

We were not blind-sided. We were not

Since my last piece on the matter, it is clear that the Falkirk selection fiasco has just blown up into what looks to be the biggest crisis of Miliband's leadership to date, with no easy-to-predict solution on the cards.

For the record, this does not make me feel good, it makes me feel angry and frustrated, mainly because this was all so avoidable. The biggest single flaw in Miliband's strategy, with the possible exception of our failure to regain economic credibility, has been the failure to reinvent the party organisation while we had the chance and deal with a decade and a half's neglect.

But the strangest thing is the shock that seems to have come over the leadership that this was a problem. 

The Sun's Kevin Schofield said on Friday: "Ed Miliband's been blind-sided by this." 

Well, we were not blind-sided. We were not. The signs were there and we chose not to act. We chose to suppose they were the paranoid ravings of embittered members of the ancien regime, who merely disagreed with Miliband's political direction, rather than people who cared about their party and saw it in danger.

Aside from a number of articles by my good friend and Labour Uncut colleague Atul Hatwal, Hopi Sen, Anthony Painter, Peter Watt and many others have written about this issue. The Centre Left wrote about the party's basic need for reform here and again here; its desperately dysfunctional selection process here; and the danger from Unite and the far left hereherehereherehere and here.

It may be too late, as John Rentoul suggests today, but the party is clearly in crisis. 

It is not  overstating the case to say that Labour's chances in the next election will probably be decided over the next few weeks and that only radical, decisive action will suffice. By conference, the die will undoubtedly be cast.

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