Drat and double drat. I’d wanted to attend the launch of Charles and Alan’s website, 2020vision.org. It was Mrs Watson’s birthday yesterday and for the first time in years, we went dancing. It was great fun but made the website launch a less than attractive proposition this morning.
What do I think about it?
1. Great idea if they’re serious about an online debate. You have to take the rough with the smooth with blog-style discussions and I hope they don’t moderate the thing to death.
2. It might have been better to run the debate through an existing think tank. I’m sure that Progress would have done it.
3. They are totally right about the Labour Party having to discuss it’s future. They should encourage the deputy leadership contenders to enter the debate. Now that the national Labour Party has foolishly failed to listen to John Spellar, who wants to abolish the job of deputy leader, there is no point in beating about the bush. The candidates should be prepared to enter into a debate and win some hearts and minds.
Peter Hain, Jon Cruddas and Harriet Harman are prepared to speak out about their policy ideas and aspirations when they address local party meetings. Alan Johnson and Hilary Benn are not doing so at present. It’s too early to tell how Hazel Blears is going to play things.
4. Colleagues tell me that only about a dozen MPs attended the launch. I’m pretty certain that this was becasue most MPs are suspicious that Alan Milburn is mischief making. I think that this is the wrong analysis and an unfair view of Alan’s motives. He’s been talking about this debate for a good 18 months and he’s right to do so. There’s no point in conducting a proxy debate through deniable news stories in Sunday papers. Lets just get on with it and have the discussion.