UK Politics

The ultimate insult

Poor old Neil Kinnock. He had his faults but never deserved to be one of the most insulted politicians of the modern era and yet still it continues.

Writing a lengthy analysis of the state of the Tory Party post-IDS, right-wing blogger Peter Cuthbertson writes: Duncan Smith could be remembered as a true reformist and a force for unity: he could be Kinnock to Howard’s Smith or Blair without even having to lose any of the elections Kinnock lost.

Whatever Kinnock’s faults he did actually reform the Labour Party, knocked it into shape and gradually increased its vote. In terms of his inner-party skills he managed to broadly unite the soft left and the right of his party around a realistic (if not winning) programme for government.

IDS did none of those things – he never even made it to an election.

And as for the suggestion that Michael Howard can be the Tory Party’s John Smith or a Tony Blair, well….

Surely in choosing Howard, among the last survivors from one of the most unpopular leaderships in the history of British conservative politics, it as is if Labour decided in the early 1990’s to go back to one of the authors of the ‘longest suicide note in history’.

The Tories can spin as much as they want about their imagined overnight unity but we learn more about the reality from the fact that one of their few respected and popular politicians effectively retired from politics this morning.

The Tory left has simply given up. Whatever your views about Labour’s modernisers, they could never be accused of throwing in the towel.