Monday, 1 November 2010

Harman's 'Ginger Rodent' Jibe Does Labour No Favours

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman has sparked fury by launching a personal attack on the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

In her speech to the Scottish Labour Party Conference she referred to the red-haired Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister as a 'ginger rodent'.

Clearly this was a major blunder on the part of  Ms Harman, not to mention her speech-writers.

I was not impressed at all.

The coalition government are on the back-foot at the moment, following the announcement of huge cuts to public expenditure in the recent Spending Review. They know that once the cuts start to bite, they will be very unpopular.

I wanted to see coverage of  Labour's promised new policy announcements at the Scottish Conference. Instead the media, predictably, seized on Ms Harman's gaffe and it became the story of the weekend.  Not surprisingly, she was forced to telephone Mr Alexander to personally apologise for her remarks.

It is extremely disappointing to see an experienced ex-cabinet minister with not only 13 years experience of government - but also an acute awareness of what many years of being stuck on the Opposition benches is like - behaving in this way. 

This is the last thing that Labour needs at the moment.

I have raised the point on one of my earlier blogposts that I feel that Harriet Harman should have stepped down as Deputy leader at the same time of Gordon Brown's resignation. This just reinforces my view that a totally fresh leadership team was needed.

However, the Party is invigourated following the election of Ed Miliband as leader and his very promising start, especially in PMQs.  They are also ahead in the polls for the first time in three years. 

It is vital that the Party continues to focus on being a strong opposition and convincing the electorate that they are ready to return to power in five years time and are not detracted from this path by ridiculous personal jibes at the opposition from the leadership.


  1. Vikki Cole-Richardson1 November 2010 at 15:12

    Totally agree, Jay. On all counts. x

  2. Harriet Harman was not my choice as Deputy Leader

    However, I have been very impressed up to now with her performance as Acting Leader, and especially at PMQs. She also gave an excellent speech at this year's Labour Conference in Manchester and really sent people home in a positive mood, despite having lost power after 13 years.

    This blunder just underlines my view that someone else should have been elected as Deputy Leader to take the party forward into a new era.