Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Leadership Race a Go Go

Now, in fairness, I've been watching a lot of Yes Prime Minister recently, so maybe my general suspiciousness of politicians has become excessively heightened, but am I wrong in thinking that Prescott is leading the public face of the campaign for leadership change in the Labour Party. The BBC article quotes the Deputy PM saying "I am convinced, though, from my talks with Tony, of course, that he would like to lead us into that election. But he always considers events, events, events." Now, this, in a press conference where he was "defending" the pm's position, is pretty inflammatory language, especially when taken in the context of Prescott's earlier talk of plates shifting in the party.

So none of this is exactly cutting edge political journalism, it seems pretty clear to most observers that the game's afoot, but why does it have to be played in such an underhanded way? On the ITV news this evening, Prescott was quoted as being something like "horrified" or "appalled" at how his remarks had been interpreted. Which, as far as I can tell, makes him either incredibly naive or a liar. And I say this as one who really doesn't like to make those kind of judgments about people; I'm not into making cheap attacks on politicians -in fact I think those kind of attacks have contributed to the low level of political debate in this country. But in distancing himself from the perceived opinion that he was making a statement which shed a doubting light on the party leadership we're being asked to either believe one of two things. The first option is that he had no idea that giving such a soundbyte worthy quote he would increase speculation about moves afoot for leadership change. And the second option is that he meant it to stir up some speculation. So option a. means that the deputy pm with manymanymanymany years of political experience is so naive that he never considered that in the midst of this climate of speculation his words would be seen as supportive of the pm and is thus, frankly, foolish and option b. means he knew exactly what he was doing and is a liar. Which is it?

p.s. Having said I'm not into cheap and personal political attacks, this is full of them, but it's hilarious and jam packed with serious points too (it has audio if you're at work btw). Bloggerheads, we salute you!