Friday, September 19, 2008

Cruddas praises Blair

I did try to like Compass , honest. I went to their conference even though Cruddas had just backed Brown on 42 days detention. I listened to his speech . It was a checklist of all the right things, but as Dave reported at the time, his actions don't quite match:

Compass leaders like Jon Cruddas combine the ability to deliver speeches demanding that Trident be scrapped, council houses be built and the Post Office not be privatised, with the supine cowardice to vote for 42-day detention without trial, a measure he surely must know to be wrong.
On the one hand, Compass wants to present itself as pragmatic radicalism for the twenty-first century; on the other, it wants to keep New Labour sweet. Ultimately, it cannot do both.
It's politics offer too little, too late.

But hey, he has changed from his Blairite past and the left should work with him and Compass , right ? We need to be realistic and he is pushing a soft left agenda isn't he?
Trouble is he seems to change his views to fit what he thinks people want to hear as demonstrated in his interview in The Times. Is he calling for a debate on policy , pushing left wing ideas, even of the softest variety? Nope, he is nostalgic for Blair and offering to support Brown and take a post in his Government:

Voters were watching aghast as Labour tore itself apart, Jon Cruddas said last night in rebuke to the Blairites who are driving efforts to topple Gordon Brown.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Cruddas said that none of those who claim to be Tony Blair’s allies come close to matching the former leader.

The Dagenham MP, who is one of David Miliband’s rivals to succeed Mr Brown, turned down a ministerial job last summer despite being most members’ first choice as deputy leader. He suggested to The Times that he was now willing to take a job under Mr Brown.

Mr Cruddas said that MPs had been reckless, irresponsible and divisive in calling for change without a candidate, timetable or alternative policy programme.

Mr Cruddas, who worked in No 10 under Mr Blair, sought to wrong-foot those who would dismiss him as a leftwinger, praising Mr Blair’s “genius” and making a barely coded attack on those such as Mr Miliband who were “acting under his banner”.

“Blair was a much more charismatic, sophisticated, inclusive and radical politician than any of those who claim adherence to Blairism now,” he said.

Mr Cruddas signalled that he was willing to shore up Mr Brown’s battered administration. “It’s all hands to the pump now,” he said. “A year ago I said my [deputy leadership] campaign wasn’t about a job in government and I felt you had to carry that through. My instinct is not oppositional. Whoever is leader, we’ve got to think how we put the band back together.”

He seems to be hedging his bets . He points out that the Blairites are not talking about policy but does not mention McDonnell who clearly has been. He offers to support Brown whilst hinting he would support whoever was leader.

Even those who see him as a pragmatic soft left MP to do business with should wonder why he did not take the chance to call for a policy shift rather than praise Blair.