Labour Home has had an early look at an interview, to be published in Tribune today, with Jon Cruddas. Amusingly, the article says that Blair PPS Keith Hill called out “ah the chosen one” as he wandered past the interview in Parliament’s Portcullis House. Team Cruddas will hardly be happy about that after the Brownites had their backs put up by speculative reports of a Reid/Cruddas alliance, possibly by journos desperate to justify their hotel bar bills with some kind of story from the last night at conference.
Cruddas repeats his case for the deputy leader working full time for the party, without also having a government job. He says, “I don’t think you can do that if you are working 70 hours a week on a portfolio. I know that makes people uncomfortable who simply want to be Deputy Prime Minister”.
He also has a pop at those people in the party who are pushing Cameron-style primaries through virtual “supporter networks” as a replacement for ordinary members: “You might as well hand the party, lock, stock and barrel, to Phillip Gould and the focus groups. It is symptomatic of the way the party is failing to renew itself”.
Also of interest – well, of interest to those currently obsessed with US politics anyway – is his support for Howard Dean’s strategy for rebuilding the Democrats:
“Howard Dean takes over the chair of the Democratic National Committee and he develops a 50-state strategy. It is exactly what the Republicans did after Watergate. We have to rebuild Labour as a living, breathing party across the landscape. If you go to east London, west Yorkshire or parts of the Black Country and you look at anti-fascist campaigns, or Canary Wharf and living wage issues, you see lots of young people involved in popular front-style politics. There is a really vibrant alternative politics out there, which is off the radar of the political elites.”
When he first announced, lots of people – including some at The Daily – thought that Cruddas standing was of interest because the policy debate would get interesting.
However, some thought it was a bit of a kite-flying exercise, and that he wasn’t serious about winning. He uses the end of the interview to answer that directly: “I wouldn’t go into this half-cocked. I have been surprised by the amount of support we have got already.”
That’s enough quotes from an article, and you can read the whole piece by clicking on the link above.