Mark Steel: So this is New Labour's legacy...

They sacrificed all to get elected and now can't get elected to anything

Related Topics

What a pathetic "rebellion". The Labour Party is in its worst state for a century and all it took for their leader to save himself was a sentence about finding a vision, and a promise he would "learn to listen". So after 10 years as Chancellor and two asPM he's going to start seeing and hearing. Next time he's challenged he'll promise to learn to crawl and eat solids.

Similarly his speech last Friday, when it seemed he needed to deliver an inspired and courageous flourish to save his job, was a bumbling splutter of incoherence that would have embarrassed a regional manager announcing the quarterly figures for envelope sales. If Gordon Brown had been Braveheart, his speech to his troops as the English started to charge would have gone "Now then – we are in a, er, er, a crisis of being attacked by archers that is in as much as it is global in its nature, which requires a global strategy of yes lances which is to say shields, but the Scottish people expect us to deal with that global and that is what I intend to to to do, er, do to."

But that was enough, because then most of his ministers made statements such as, "Of course the Prime Minister is fully aware he's a useless tosspot, but the others are even worse, so let's stop this in-fighting as there is still much work for this government to bugger up."

Because none of them, in all the billions of hours of interviews and intrigue, either for or against Brown, have said a single thing they believe their party should be doing. Instead they make statements about "needing to reconnect with voters" but to do that they'd have to come on television going, "I'm a bloody disgrace, I am. And you should see the expenses I rake in, alright for some ain't it. I'm never voting for me again, I can tell you."

But there's no clue about what they want to do differently. Their last seven years looks like one long fiasco, from Iraq to reverence for a disastrous banking system, but there's no one prepared even tosuggest how they got in this mess and how it might be put right. So none of them can make a case for being any better, except for having a cheerier smile, so no one comes forward.

They might as well have a frog as their leader, and Ed Balls would be on Newsnight telling us the frog isn't the problem, and the way he responded to some sharp criticism by hopping off the table shows his determination, because they haven't got a clue. This is why they're in a much worse mess than the one in 1983. Back then, although the election was a disaster, the Labour Party had active branches in every area, with thousands of young members bursting with ideas of why they wanted to run local councils or the country. Now the branches barely exist, debate has been eliminated, and all that's left are careerists frightened of losing their careers.

For example, at four o'clock last Friday Caroline Flint was adamant she supported Brown, but two hours later she couldn't stand him. So either this was because she'd been snubbed for promotion, or she's genuine, and she honestly thinks he did a wonderful job for Labour for 15 years but then did one dreadful thing that negated all that, at around half past four.

This is New Labour's legacy. They sacrificed principles, debates, humanity, purpose and personality for the prize of getting elected. But now they can't get elected to anything so there is absolutely nothing left.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Residents of the Gravesham constituency are 10 times closer to what Peter Hain scorns as the “Westminster elite” than are those of Linlithgow and East Falkirk  

Will no one stop the march of localism?

Jonathan Meades
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam