Monday, May 04, 2009

Neil Kinnock talks up BNP chances in attempt to save Brown

What is the last resort of the Labour party?

Trying to scare the voters by talking up the chances of a British National Party victory.

Neil Kinnock offers a novel twist on this tactic in today's Guardian by using the BNP threat against Labour MPs:

The former leader of the Labour party Neil Kinnock has warned Labour MPs that further undermining of Gordon Brown's leadership would boost the British National party (BNP) in the European elections.

After a weekend in which senior Labour figures struggled to end speculation about whether Brown should continue to lead the party, Kinnock called on MPs to "get behind Gordon" and denounced talk of a leadership challenge as "ludicrous and damaging". He said tearoom plotting would "hand victories" to the BNP in the elections on 4 June.

Labour used this tactic to try to scare the voters in a Tower Hamlets council by-election on the Isle of Dogs in September 1993. (I know because I did some delivering in that campaign.) The result was that the first BNP won their first seat anywhere in Britain.

Incidentally, Labour would do well not to encourage Neil Kinnock to play too prominent a role in British politics. I am convinced it was the British public's settled conviction that they could not face the prospect of five years of Kinnock as prime minister that brought John Major victory in 1992.

As Major once said: Kinnock didn't know what he was saying, so he never knew when he had finished saying it.

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