Cruddas: Let’s Party

As we noted earlier in the day, Jon Cruddas looks set to throw his hat into the ring and stand in the deputy leadership election when there is a vacancy.  This has been doing the rounds among political journalists for a week or so and Patrick Wintour in the Guardian decided to run with the story properly today, as a result of this opinion piece.

According to Wintour, Cruddas told the paper:

“It is true I have been approached and that is flattering.  Right now, I am not crunching any numbers. That would be presumptuous. There is no vacancy. I am trying to see if I can help start a rolling debate about what this job is, and how the party needs to organise itself. One thing is for certain: the status quo is not an option”.

Elsewhere in the paper, Cruddas – who was a special advisor at No 10 in Labour’s first term – outlines his vision of the deputy leadership.  He argues that the deputy should become more of a voice for the party than a cheerleader for the PM within the party. 

Lots of members have complained that the party has been ignored by the leadership over too many policies – but as Cruddas is the only serious contender not currently in government, he will be able to this promote this idea more effectively than the other candidates.

His proposal would solve the twin problems of finding a role for the deputy prime minister, and the unelected status of the party chair, while ensuring the party is represented at Cabinet level.

Speaking about what he thinks the deputy leader should actually do, he makes a series of points that articulate the disappointment that many in the party have felt with policy formulation in the past:

“We must ensure that our dependence on opinion polls and focus groups is balanced by conversation with real people expressing genuine opinions, not sanitised consultations with pre-determined outcomes … Above all, they should highlight the synergy between Labour ideals and the ideals of the British people, rather than pandering to the wretched methodology of modern politics captured in the term “triangulation”. None of these ideas require titles, mansions or a job in government. They simply require the endorsement of the labour movement and the goodwill of colleagues.” 

Cruddas’ opinion piece today and his track record of promoting a range of progressive policies – as well as hard work and organisation in defeating the BNP – has got the editorial staff at The Daily very excited. 

10 Responses to Cruddas: Let’s Party

  1. Neil Foster says:

    I remember reading this article by Cruddas a while back in Renewal and thought it would interest Daily readers here. He sensitively and sensibly discusses ‘class’ in a way few others have in the last 10 years. Here it is.

    http://www.renewal.org.uk/vol14no12006neoclassicallabour.asp

  2. Matthew says:

    Harman has had a bit of a dig at Cruddas in her announcement that she would stand, saying she wants to be Deputy Prime Minister as well as deputy leader. I wonder whether most Labour members wouldn’t rather have a full time deputy leader for once…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5350360.stm

  3. Nick says:

    She seems to have abandoned her idea of two deputy leaders then? Unless she thinks there should also be two deputy prime ministers?!

    I’m with Cruddas on this one – having the deputy leader and deputy prime minister the same person, with a separate party chair, hasn’t worked too well to date. Enough of using the deputy leadership to climb the Westminster ladder, let’s have someone who wants to represent us…

  4. el tom says:

    I really am happy he is standing.

  5. Max says:

    While an admirer of Jon Cruddas, my one query about his article is the “vice-Presidential” nature of the role: if we get another 1994 situation (and we obviously all hope we won’t), then the Deputy will become the Leader. Unless the Party rules are re-written, then we could get a position where the new Leader (possibly PM) comes in straight from the back-benches!
    I’d like to know Jon’s solution to this – whether amending the rules, or dividing the roles of deputy leader and party liaison figure – either way, it would need to be addressed.

  6. Benjamin says:

    I find it pretty difficult to get enthusiatic about any of these people. To make Labour into a proper social democratic party again is going to take more than just ditching Blair and Prescott, although of course it will be a welcome start.

  7. Al says:

    I’m both suprised and pleased that he’s running. Nice to hear some original ideas for a change.

  8. Max – good constitutional anorak question (I mean that as a compliment, obviously!) to which there are a number of possible answers.

    If there was a separate Deputy PM, they would obviously take over as PM while the Deputy Leader took over as interim Party Leader to oversee the election of a new Leader.

    Or, in the absence of a Deputy PM, the Queen could simply appoint (say) the Chancellor acting PM. This is a procedure that could be agreed by the Cabinet at the start of the new administration.

    Finally, if the Deputy Leader continues to sit in the Cabinet (as the Party Chair does now) then you could argue that it would be perfectly possible for them to take over as interim PM while a new Leader is elected – they will have been part of the strategic thinking of the country for however long, after all, and perhaps that is more relevant than specific Departmental experience.

  9. Further to my last comment – I’ve actually checked the Rulebook on this and when the Party is in government, the deputy leader is not actually a vice-presidential role.

    In the event of a vacancy, the Cabinet, in consultation with the NEC, appoints one of its own members acting leader, which can be the deputy leader, but it’s not automatic.

    So the deputy could only become acting leader if they held Cabinet rank. Hope that answers your point!

  10. wozza says:

    Cruddas said he would have the Deputy re;egated from Government cabinet meetings – but would attend political cabinet meetings.

    whether that counts/workable i don’t know

    but i like the ideas he has

    W

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