Sunday, September 19, 2010

Neil Kinnock and the paranoid school of Labour politics

Neil Kinnock had his say on the Labour leadership election the other day. He accused David Miliband's supporters of spreading "bloody bile" about Ed Miliband.

It was a reminder, in two words, of just how awful Kinnock is.

First, there is his love of alliteration for the sake of it - a tendency of his that Spitting Image was making fun of 25 years ago.

Second, it is a ridiculous metaphor: unless the person in question is seriously ill, bile is not bloody.

Third, and most important, it displays the paranoid style of Labour politics at its worst.

One of the reasons that I did not join in with the eulogies for Michael Foot after his death was because of his rhetorical style, which he presumably adopted from Nye Bevan. Everything was "treachery" or a "betrayal". It was overblown, paranoid and rooted in a Marxist view of politics - you were either for your class or a traitor.

Neil Kinnock employed this style too. His misfortune was that he became Labour leader in an age when its philosophical underpinning was collapsing.

This style also look simply ridiculous on television. I remain convinced that one of the reasons that John Major upset the odds to win in 1992 was that the British people could not face the prospect of having to listen to Neil Kinnock for another five years.

1 comment:

Chris Matthews said...

That's a very good point. I suppose you could put the hard left of the NUM and 'Scab' in that category?