We Must Roll The Dice or Give Over to the Mob

Over the last two days, Labour MP's and activists have been scurrying around whispering about David Miliband and his article. In all fairness, some, such as Geraldine Smith and Marshall, have publicly declared their feelings, but most have remained nameless. Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, many on the left are whining about Miliband and asking for a more liberal candidate. I am no fan of Blairism, and I do acknowledge that Miliband can, to some extent, be linked to it, although he is certainly not a Blairite. What many on the left seem to neglect to notice is that the Labour party has reached a low that no party has come back from ever. Frankly, I'd like Oprah Winfrey or Polly Toynbee to run the country, but I am not going to withhold my vote just because they don't.

The Labour party is facing destruction. No 'If's', no 'Buts'. Labour could be completely annihilated at the next election, so it's about time that people started getting in line and supporting a leadership challenge. To see Geraldine Smith accusing Miliband of 'betraying' Gordon Brown is laughable. "Sack him for being disloyal" she says. With people like her in the party it's no wonder that Brown is in such a state of denial. We have now reached the point where it is simply not possible to continue deluding ourselves into believing that we can win the next election with Brown. It is not possible. At this point, there are two options: go on with Brown as leader and hope that David Cameron is revealed to be Hitler's son (or something equally as impossible); or change leader, change policy and change tactics.

Gordon Brown currently has similar poll rating to those of John Major nearing the 1997 election. Brown's supporters say that an improvement in economical conditions will restore Brown's popularity and win Labour the next election. Even if that were to happen, it is highly unlikely that it would improve his ratings as they suggest; the economy improved rapidly towards the 1997 election and Major's popularity didn't follow suit. Instead, by retaining Major as leader, the Tories lost the 1997 election and, a decade later, are still in opposition. It is worth noting that Labour is lower in the polls than the Conservatives were at the time. Keeping Brown will at best result in the loss of the next election and 12, 13, 14 or even 15 years in opposition. At worst, it will literally destroy the Labour party. It has happened before, parties have gone from government to destruction in surprisingly little time.

Despite what Brownites say, retaining Brown will result in defeat. Now I am not saying that a change of leader will win the next election. Even if Labour elects Miliband who initiates the radical policies that he is famed for, the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against us. However, even if we don't win, a new leader will bring back much needed cash to the party and hopefully limit the time spent in opposition to one term rather than at least three. Put simply, we know what Labour gets by keeping Brown as its leader: 12-15 years in opposition at best, the end of the Labour party at worst. While we do not know what a change of leader will result in, it is hard to see how it could be any worse.

I don't know about anyone else, but if we have any chance at all of preventing the Tories overturning the good work that Labour has done over the last 11 years, I think we have to take it whatever the costs and risks. Labour has made monumental screw-ups, but it has also done things that have changed people's lives in a way that can statistics can not do justice to. The equality and human rights bills that are some of Labour's best work are often discreetly criticised by Tories; tax credits would be abolished to the pain of millions of vulnerable families, single parents would be victimised, those living in poverty would be told to find their own way out of it by Cameron's 'caring' Tories. A Conservative government would be tragic for millions of people, importantly, it would be the harshest on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

If we have to gamble, if we have to remove a good man from office for being the victim of circumstances that were (largely but not completely) outside his control, then so be it. That is the cost that we must pay to protect our country (not to mention Europe) from those who would wish to ruin it. That is the cost we must pay to prevent the poor from becoming poorer, the rich from becoming richer, and the victims from becoming ever more victimised; for that would be the legacy of a Conservative government and make no mistake about it.

We have one chance to stop this country falling into the hands of the right, lets take it!

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