A fascinating blog piece by former UK Labour deputy leader John Prescott here:
But whilst I knew we were short of money I didn’t realise we also lacked the will to fight these elections. The people responsible for this non-campaign – and make no mistake there was no campaign - were Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint, Douglas Alexander and yes, our former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.
I kept asking the party what was the strategy, what was our message, what was the campaign? I became so concerned I actually wrote to Harriet. Her reply was less than satisfactory. These apparently were the ‘messages.’
For the many v for the few
Grow your way out v cut your way out
On your side v on your own
Substantial leadership v insubstantial salesmanship
And that was it.
It seems the people responsible for our campaign were resigned to defeat and were prepared to use the excuse that we had no money.
Time after time, activists across the country told me there was no message, no campaign and no leadership from the party. This was typified by the resignation of Hazel Blears – our local government minister – going out in a blaze of publicity the day before the local elections.
In her resignation statement, she wrote ‘Get Out and Vote Labour.’
Well you ‘got out’ Hazel but it sure as hell didn’t help our candidates get people out to vote Labour. Neither did brandishing cheques and wearing your heart on your brooch. You weren’t ‘rocking the boat’ you were trying to sink our ship.
And I’ve just discovered tonight that over the last few weeks, James Purnell was not planning for these crucial Local and European elections - he was planning for his own leadership election which he exclusively launched in the Murdoch press.
Not so much a Blarite as a careerite.
The grassroots and the candidates wanted to fight but we, the party, let them down. I’m sure many will quite rightly never forgive us for that.