Political future vs political past

Steve Byers is being a very busy policy bee lately isn’t he? In the media, if not in the House of Commons. Interestingly though, his recent pronouncements on inheritance tax have been soundly condemned by many colleagues, some in public, many more in private. I’m not sure if that’s because of the issue or because people worry that Stephen is more concerned with picking internal fights than mapping out our policy future.

Assuming that Gordon Brown is the choice of the Labour Party to replace Tony Blair, then I think he will have a team of people who are overflowing with ideas for the future. Ed Balls, Jacqui Smith, David Miliband, Pat McFadden, James Purnell, Andy Burnham, Liam Byrne, Yvette Cooper, Douglas Alexander, Caroline Flint and others – these are all ministers under 45. All of them are cooking on gas with policy ideas.

He’s worrying too much. Chill out Steve.

33 comments ↓

#1 Peter Kenyon on 08.28.06 at 10:26 pm

Dear Tom

Whoever wins the Leadership contest will not only have inherit MPs with ideas, but also members – arguably shut out of the policy making process since the bright dawn of Partnership in Power.

Key to winning a fourth term is the timing of that Leadership election. Members have a role in that process. Would you encourage members in your CLP to exercise that right ahead of the 2006 Conference?

#2 Mike Ion on 08.29.06 at 2:12 pm

His (Steve Byers) attendance record etc is lousy. He makes Paul Marsden look as though he were a loyal hardworking constituency MP.

#3 RobT on 08.29.06 at 11:07 pm

Agree with the above really. Labour need to remember that its membership is key. Presidential leadership a la Blair has left many members feeling disillusioned.

#4 Ian Olive on 08.30.06 at 4:36 am

Perhaps it’s you who should cill out. I am no Byers supporter, but Brown’s getting enough tax out of the British public for NuLab to fritter. He shouldn’t be getting more just because house prices go up. And as for the ‘team overflowing with ideas for the future’ and ‘cooking on gas’, there’s not much evidence of any original thinking going on right now. What an unelectable mess you are all creating…

#5 Ian Olive on 08.30.06 at 4:37 am

Tom Watson – Labour MP
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NO FREE SPEECH HERE THEN.

#6 Will Parbury on 08.30.06 at 10:40 am

The thing with Byers and inheiritance tax is that he is either trying to play games about the succession for which a host of Labour MP’s in marginal seats aren’t going to thank him. Alternatively he actually believes that a tax that effects the richest 6% of dead people is regressive, in which case Conservative Central Office can easily send him out a membership form.

As for his attendence record can’t Blair make him Governor General of some small relic of the Empire just before he goes and then he wont be hanging around Westminster creating trouble for the new regime. It would also mean that his attendence record will be pretty poor but that may be no bad thing.

#7 Martin Hoscik (MayorWatch) on 08.30.06 at 4:37 pm

Like his boss, Byers needs to understand that his time has passed and that no-one cares what he has to say. On anything.

As for the idea that either Yvette Cooper or Caroline Flint are the answer to any of Labour’s problems or questions – what a laugh!

Blair has, largely with the aquiesence of Labour MPs, demolished Labour’s standing with the public. A little bit of humility and some indication that the party is the servant of the electorate is now in order and the likes of Flint and Cooper are ill equiped to operate in this climate.

Neither look comfortable or credible in their jobs and both adopt an overly smug persona which makes them look like Blears Mk II.

#8 Peter Kenyon on 09.01.06 at 3:29 pm

Dear Tom

I’m shocked, you didn’t answer my question about your CLP and whether you would encourage them to have a say in the timing of a Leadership election.

#9 Sam Tudor on 09.02.06 at 9:31 am

Ian O. – Of course there is no free speech here. This is a private blog produced by Tom, and all comments are here only by his permission. Similarly, if you demand that your comments get attached to tomorrows Telegraph, you might be given short shrift.

You should be grateful that our host is obviously gracious enough to allow even your slightly hysterical postings to be displayed.

#10 Mike on 09.05.06 at 6:54 pm

Ah, so you’re the spiteful nutjob minister who can’t let Blair go out with dignity. You back stabbers should be ashamed of yourself.

#11 N.Gray on 09.05.06 at 9:52 pm

Tom- I see you have now ‘done a Byers’ yourself. Well done at least for sticking your head above the parapet as you have a job to lose. However, your lot (Labour) are sleepwalking to disaster, Brown has zero public empathy and persona and will play very badly in London and the South East, he will also accentuate the many absurdities of your post 1997 devolution settlement. Ed Balls is Labour’s John Redwood- everytime he appears on the TV its a “Tory Gain”. I’m afraid Labour had their chance to make a real difference in 1997, you tinkered around the edges and blew it

#12 Wibbler on 09.06.06 at 12:15 pm

I see you’ve resigned!

#13 Graham on 09.06.06 at 12:28 pm

Let’s hope the next Labour government does something really ambitious, like give us true democracy by abolishing the monarchy, giving us a fully elected parliament and reversing Blair’s attacks on our liberties and rights.

http://www.republic.org.uk
http://www.charter88.org.uk
http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/

#14 Alex on 09.06.06 at 12:30 pm

Bye Tom

#15 Gert on 09.06.06 at 12:31 pm

And here’s me thinking you were an unprincipled cynical careerist hack ;-)

Well done you.

Welcome to Tom Watson the Wilderness Years…

#16 Bye BYe on 09.06.06 at 12:57 pm

Disgraceful way to treat the PM I’m glad you have resigned you turncoat….you should be kiocked out of the party

#17 Lloyd on 09.06.06 at 1:18 pm

Forget Byers – I just read a piece of first-class delusion. ‘We have revolutionised the lives and expectations of millions of our citizens, combining social justice with prosperity in a way which is unprecedented in the history of our country.’
Wow – shame the millions you have revolutionized missed it. In fact they think Britian is shit because your lame philosophies have let disrespect flourish and mediocrity become a standard worth protecting.

#18 Dan on 09.06.06 at 1:48 pm

This post looks rather ironic given Tom’s decision to throw Blair into further turmoil by calling for his resignation – even though he has gone on the record saying that he will step down in time for his successor to establish themselves. Talk about picking fights!

I dislike Blair as much as the next man, if the next man is Greg Dyke. But I agree with what Michael Portillo said on TV yesterday – it is madness to tear up a party for Gordon Brown’s ambitions when Blair, unlike Thatcher, does not intend to go on forever and ever. In fact, it puts serious doubts in my mind about Brown and frankly I am unimpressed by his antics and the antics of his supporters, who include Tom Watson. People will remember this day and even if they hate Blair, their trust in Brown severely eroded by all the back-stabbing going on. Because, let’s face it, there is only a paper-thin difference between Blair and Brown in terms of policy and all these moves are intended to advance one man’s political career.

On that basis, I will be voting against a Brown leadership.

#19 Simon on 09.06.06 at 1:55 pm

I’m sorry to hear Tom will be leaving the government to spend more time with his blog. He can be assured his readership will remain disloyal, discourteous and wrong.

#20 Yusuf on 09.06.06 at 2:30 pm

Well dom Tom.
finally you have seen sense and you resignesd from this ill goverment.
I must congrutulate you for the brave decision you have taken

#21 Billy Tonner on 09.06.06 at 3:09 pm

Thank you for your courageous stand in resigning from your ministeral post to call on Mr Blair to go. You set the highest example of ethical behaviour for others to follow.

#22 Rex on 09.06.06 at 3:17 pm

You’re all MAD. Labour without Blair is a disaster. Brown is AWFUL. Labour supporters want Blair to stay. There is no obvious successor. WHY cant the MPs just stop causing trouble?

#23 Jordan on 09.06.06 at 3:22 pm

Looks like you have made your decision Tom – for what it’s worth, congratulations from way over here in New Zealand. Change requires sacrifices, and you have put something on the line to make things better.

#24 Ed Lewin on 09.06.06 at 3:32 pm

Tom – Steve Byers is concerned with picking internal fights?

#25 Saddam Hussein on 09.06.06 at 4:13 pm

You are a hero to me.

#26 david on 09.06.06 at 5:05 pm

Well done, Tom. I’m sure Brown, with his Gollum swallow, will go down so well with the public.

After a job? Maybe it won’t happan, now.

#27 David Hartley on 09.06.06 at 5:31 pm

Interesting comments Tom.

I totally agree, it’s better for Labour members to stick around and help map out Labour’s policy future than wilfully pick internal fights, cause party divisions and make the government look like it is “falling apart”, to quote David Cameron!

If only every MP, Minister and activist followed your excellent and wise advice the Labour Party would be so much better off!!

All best

David

#28 Alan Watson-Jervis on 09.06.06 at 7:05 pm

Many members may feel disillusioned at the Presidential-style of leadership of Tony Blair but personally it was/is one of the main things that initially attracted me to New Labour and still does so today. I believe it has helped to sustain the nine years plus of government. We only begin to fail in people’s eyes when we appear to be a shambolic rabble, which is something we are quickly turning into as more and more individuals become hooked on the leadership feeding frenzy. Whilst the initial error of judgment was Tony Blair’s in announcing his intention not to stand for a fourth term, the party itself is at fault for feeding the monster of speculation. We are now in a situation where we look ridiculous and incapable of governance and looking at the picture through the eyes of a third person I would find it difficult at this point to consider voting Labour. As for a fresh batch of up and coming ministers I think that is one of the best jokes I have heard for many a while. They may have a few good ideas between them but I am afraid we are in the position of having elected representatives who dominate the market of blandness. Not only do they bore me utterly rigid whenever I have the misfortune to hear most of them speak but they seem only to be able to speak an inane language of political phraseology that is enough to turn the mildest of individual into a frothing comatose state. How on earth have these people won election? I can hardly see them on the street arguing with the punters and telling it like it is and should be told. For all of you Tony Blair critics out there he is the only person capable of connecting with people and being able to lead that we have. Circumstances have made it necessary for him to depart at some point in the next year. Time waits for no man and we are all the more worse off for this. The future awaits, but it is only Labour’s if it cuts the crap and gets on with the job. In the meantime those that are now having their piece of meat are not only damaging the party but are (hopefully in a number of cases) signing their own suicide notes when it comes to the next election. I for one won’t be sorry to see traitors skewered on their own swords.

#29 Gail Percy on 09.06.06 at 7:57 pm

Your comment that the ministers are all under 45 really struck me as ageist. Wisdom, experience, and talent all count before age, methinks.

#30 bob on 09.06.06 at 8:36 pm

tom you are a traitor *lol*

#31 CPT M. Fernandez on 09.06.06 at 9:58 pm

It’s interesting to note that on a day when 3 more soldiers have died (died after Gordon Brown has starved the Army of funds), you are spending your time trying to undermine the best thing that ever happened to Labour.

The country is disgusted by these games. I don’t hold Blair responsible. I hold a spineless Chancellor and whelps like you responsible. The incessant angling for position has crippled this government for years. If Blair goes, then I welcome Cameron. The sooner Labour is once again consigned to opposition oblivion the better. I don’t care if you post this on your ridiculous blog. It’s enough that you read it.

#32 Cherie Blair on 09.07.06 at 1:35 am

You little piece of shit Tom. How could you?

#33 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill on 09.07.06 at 2:37 pm

Well done Tom, brave move, someone had to do it.

All the best for the future.

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