Week 2: Prat – The Labour Leadership

by Ray_North on January 12, 2016

Labour_PratOur award for the biggest Prat’s of last week goes to the Labour Party Leadership, with a honourable mention to the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

I’ve really wanted Jeremy Corbyn to succeed, I really have. In the countless debates we’ve had amongst ourselves at Allthatsleft I’ve tried my best to defend him – but, even Jezza’s Gran would find it difficult to defend him against a charge of being utterly clueless about media management.

Last week was a case in point. Indeed, more than being a case in point, it was a week in which the Labour Leadership demonstrated a total lack of nous when it came to media management.

Last weekend, news and media outlets were being briefed that Jeremy was about to reshuffle his cabinet. Ok, we can all understand that, nothing wrong with a leader wanting to surround himself with people who he sees as being loyal – reshuffles are, or at least should be, a good chance for a political leader to successfully manage news and create a good positive story about himself: ‘Corbyn shows strong leadership’ ‘Jezza sets out the way ahead,’ that kind of thing. And, to be honest, they shouldn’t be beyond the wit of most would-be Prime Ministers either – ‘Hi, XXXX (insert name of Labour Shadow Cabinet Member if you can remember one, it’s Jeremy here, sorry, you’ve been excellent, but I’m going to have to let you go….’ Followed by, ‘Hi, XXXXX insert name of outstanding Labour Backbencher if you can think of one here, it’s Jeremy here, I’d like you to become part of the team, how does Shadow Secretary of State of Defence sound…’

If the answer is ‘no thanks’, then that should be the end of it, if it is an affirmative, then, eventually, they should form part of a glowing press-release extolling their virtues. It should be quick, decisive, well organised and positive.

Sadly, when Jeremy decided to re-shuffle last week, it was tortuously slow, negative, confused and smacked of a leadership that is really struggling. It took three days, before, eventually, three junior shadow members were shown the door, which precipitated the resignation of a couple of others, whilst no one knew what was going to happen to Hilary Benn or Maria Eagle, and the whole thing seemed to be orchestrated by Ken Livingstone, who was briefing against Hillary Benn, then looked a bit daft when Benn eventually stayed put in the Foreign Office post.

But, Ken wasn’t the only one who looked daft, quite frankly, they all did, and, yes, it may well be right that the BBC became involved in a way that was difficult to justify in terms of partiality, but, that’s not the whole point because, sadly, if you act like prats then you get called a prat.

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