Fighting from the inside

Jon Cruddas had a fascinating interview with the Compass Youth blog yesterday.  Seeing as we were one of Cruddas first backers in the blogosphere, we can only be slightly disappointed we didn’t get the exclusive, but we won’t let out heads drop.  We are, after all, a little bit tabloidesque for Jon.

Anyhow, the interview is well worth reading for a range of reasons.  For a start, Cruddas gives an insight into his time in Downing Street, describing how he opposed the age rates on the National Minimum Wage.  He coyly says, “It is just wrong to have different rates for people doing the same job – I had thought we settled that debate within the movement decades ago, but apparently not.”  It is rare to get a first person insight in to the debates that happen at the top of government, and that would have been interesting even without the deputy leadership in play.

On Iraq, something The Daily team pretty much thought we disagreed with Cruddas over, we were delighted relieved to see him say, “The government needs to admit openly the mistakes it made, and apologise. Looking forward, there can be no question of supporting Bush in any similar interventions.”

More generally, we are interested in the concept of a different kind of campaign, not based in Westminster and the media, nor organised around a personality with a top-down structure, but attempting to galvanise a wider network from the bottom up.  This is a contrast to the Americanised, consumerist approach that some would have us adopt. 

Overall, it is an interesting interview, which clarifies and expands on issues he has previously raised.  We’re obviously biased (see logo in top right corner) but this chat with Compass Youth makes The Daily more comfortable in its endorsement than ever before.

21 Responses to Fighting from the inside

  1. Labour Ghost says:

    “Wondering Labour Party, so lost, so helpless, yearning for my guidance…”

    http://www.phantomofthelabourparty.blogspot.com

  2. HenryG says:

    Very interesting article. Open, honest and thoughtful.

  3. Adele says:

    The fact they had to ask that question about whether he is prochoice or not made me slightly worried.

  4. Nick says:

    It seemed a pretty clear cut answer to me. Why the worry?

  5. Neil Foster says:

    I didn’t read anything into that question Adele. When I stood at the last election I was amazed by how often I was asked ‘religious/moral’ questions, particularly from party members. It obviously matters to a significant minority of people but personally I think we really do need to draw a distinction between faith and politics – we are a labour movement not a sect. Jon is talking about communities and not communion, so that’ll do for me.

  6. Shamik Das says:

    I don’t think the Prime Minister will ever apologise for removing Saddam, and nor should he. Cruddas himself supported the war, so he’s on pretty shaky ground on this subject.

    In terms of there being “no question of supporting Bush in any similar interventions”, I ask “why not?” – if the UN fails to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, what do you propose Britain and America should do?

  7. Our understanding is that the question was asked because supporters of another candidate have been spreading the rumour that Jon is anti-choice. We’re glad that was asked – he was able to set the story straight – but it is a shame that anyone spread those smears in the first place.

  8. Thomas says:

    Sham – who are supporting for deputy leader? Is there anyone in the mix who is as keen on bombing as you are?

  9. “In terms of there being “no question of supporting Bush in any similar interventions”, I ask “why not?” – if the UN fails to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons, what do you propose Britain and America should do?”

    Obviously we should go in and do a bit of regime changing and create another civil war – in doing so we can make sure that any nuclear weapons Iran does develop are taken firmly out of the hands of a mad but containable government and instead end up in the hands of a group of apocalyptic religious zealots who no longer have the lure of ongoing power to modify their insanity.

    I certainly can’t see a flaw in that plan.

  10. Nick says:

    I don’t think it was the removal of Saddam Hussein as much as the way this was justified, not least to Parliament, that an apology should be forthcoming for; and then there are abysmal failings of the reconstruction effort, though the fault for that must rest largely with the Bush administration.

    I don’t think we can deal with Iran or any similar situation properly while Bush is in the White House. Let’s hope the Dems get their act together…

  11. Adele says:

    Maybe thats me overreacting, either way as a former blairite union fixer turned thoughtful MP in a heavily working class constituency, he would make an excellent deputy leader of the labour party.

  12. Sham says:

    Are you nuts? You seem to be proposing we just sit back and allow Ahamdinejad to get the bomb. Have you not heard what he’s said about Israel? Do you even care???

    Absolutely no flaws in that plan, huh?!?

  13. HenryG says:

    Interesting piece in the Telegraph about David Miliband being lined up to be the latest ‘stop Cruddas’ candidate.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/01/nlab01.xml

    It’s hard not to laugh out loud at some of this guff. I have respect for David, but pitching him as the candidate to attract and engage young people is misplaced to say the least. When are New Labour going to realise that people are looking for something broader and deeper than who gets on with whom. Dear me.

  14. Thomas says:

    Sham – who are you supporting for deputy leader? Do you think there’s anyone standing that agrees with your views on foreign policy?

  15. Ian G says:

    And just how do you propose we stop Iran from getting the bomb Shamik?

    Would you like a full scale ground war when our troops are already critically overstretched?

    Or would you prefer us to use ‘precision’ air strikes which may or may not set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but would quite probably would leave a regime wounded but intact, hell-bent on revenge?

    Or maybe we should use our firepower and bomb Iran back to the stoneage?

    Which is it to be?

  16. “Are you nuts? You seem to be proposing we just sit back and allow Ahamdinejad to get the bomb. Have you not heard what he’s said about Israel? Do you even care???

    Absolutely no flaws in that plan, huh?!?”

    Not suggesting that at all. I’m broadly supportive of the government’s current policy on Iran, which doesn’t involve either regime change or letting Iran get the bomb – and does involve strong condemnation of their stance on Israel.

    I support a policy of containment – possibly involving sanctions, if necessary.

    Invasion/regime change was and is a disaster in Iraq and they didn’t have any nuclear weapons, the consequences of a similar strategy in a country which actually did have WMDs would be even worse.

  17. Shamik Das says:

    I take on board your point about our overstretched forces, making a full-scale ground offensive, presently at least, unviable. How about airstrikes on their nuclear installations, assasination of their leaders, equal rights for women in Iran? Why not???

    Bombing them back to the stone age? By “them” I take it you mean Iranian civilians, in which case I’d say absolutely not.

    My choice for deputy leader? Hilary Benn or Peter Hain. Not sure yet, though I wouldn’t recoil in horror if Cruddas got the nod, in spite of his flip-flopping over Iraq: He seems like a top bloke, and he’s no left-wing nut!

  18. Thomas says:

    Sham – I am backing Cruddas.

    Can I buy you some “I’m backing Hain” t-shirts? It would help elect the right person for the job enormously…

  19. Shamik Das says:

    Ha, ha, ha! Funny man!

    But seriously, there’s more to politics than silly T-shirts. You still haven’t told me how you’d get rid of Ahamdinejd, or don’t you care?

  20. I imagine that everyone on this thread would like a world without Ahmadinejad. I hope he loses the next Iranian Presidential elections. But I suspect that attacking Iran militarily, or threatening to do so, would only serve to strengthen his position.

    Economic pressure is more likely to be effective as declining material conditions for people in Iran would undermine his popularity. But first of all, we should try to negotiate a return to IAEA inspections.

  21. I don’t accept the premise that, as a matter of course, it’s sensible to attempt to solve geo-political problems by getting rid off specific individuals.

    There are exceptions but Ahmedinajad isn’t one. He’s a man with mad ideas but I don’t see any evidence that he’s either the most powerful man in Iran or wildly out of step with the opinion of the ruling class in his country.

    For me, foreign policy decisions have to be taken on the basis of achieving the most positive achievable outcome, rather than attempting to achieve an unachieveable outcome.

    In the short term, it’s not acheivable for outside forces – either diplomatic or military – to create a situation where Iran will become a liberal democracy which respects its neighbours and offers freedom and equal rights to all citizens.

    Attempting to achieve this scenario by force will achieve a similar situation in Iran to the one we’ve currently got in Iraq.

    What is achievable is take sensible steps to encourage Iran not to develop nukes.

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