While there’s been minute-by-minute on our 24 hour news channels of fallout from the Hewitt/ Hoon email urging a secret ballot on the Labour leadership, if we extract the facts from the froth on the matter, this is not the cabinet coup predicted by the Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh and much linked to yesterday. It’s a couple of ex-ministers (some might say has-beens) venting their dissatisfaction in a way that will only please the Tories. Indeed the hastily unveiled Conservative poster featuring the two overexaggerates the importance of a couple that most of the general public that billboards are aimed at will have never heard of. This illuminating post here from Political Scrapbook demonstrates the resentment by other Labour MPs against this pair. In it Diane Abbott, a one-time John McDonnell supporter accuses Hoon of having taken leave of his senses.
Let’s hope that this misguided move has now been halted and it’s the last we hear of it. It has not only allowed its perpetrators to spread their poison in tv studios from lunchtime to Newsnight but its audacity in soliciting the views of the Parliamentary Labour Party alone displays utter contempt for all the other sections of the Labour movement who have a constitutional say in the party leadership: unions, members, socialist societies etc. As for the media’s obsession in demanding that the cabinet queue up instantly to swear oaths of loyalty, to be fair they do have a country to run.