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Latest from the Labour Party conference.... 

yesterday defeat for Blair over railway renationalisation. Hopefully more to come: 

Today  - fox hunters' demonstration
Wednesday - Anti War demonstration
Thursday - Remove Troops debate
Friday - result of Hartlepool by election (Labour should hold a safe seat, but majority will be greatly reduced).

This is quite a long article, based on a speech in 1996 at the time that Brown and Blair were still in opposition, and the UK govt was paranoid about BSE spreading to humans. Remember that? The subsequent enquiry, after Blair became PM, did not attribute blame.

Anyway, it is clear that some could see quite clearly what was happening to the Labour party even back in 1996.

Interesting article including quotes from an honorable labour politician, John Denham, who resigned before the Iraq war. He suggests that the whole cabinet is tainted by Iraq, and they all should go.,3605,1314178,00.html

Iraq taints whole cabinet, says Denham

MP says change at top won't restore trust

Sarah Hall, political correspondent
Tuesday September 28, 2004
The Guardian

A minister who quit over the invasion of Iraq yesterday said swapping Gordon Brown for Tony Blair was not the way to improve the government's popularity because he too backed the war on Iraq.

Speaking at a Guardian fringe, the former Home Office minister John Denham said it was an "illusion" to think the government's problems could be solved "by changing someone at the top" because members of the cabinet were equally responsible.

With the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, sitting alongside him, he said: "You've got to get rid of Jack, too, because he's backed it, and Gordon's got to go because he paid for it, and all the other cabinet members who went along with it - they've got no credibility. I'm afraid it's an illusion to believe that is going to erase it".

Mr Denham was speaking at a debate on whether Labour can lose the next election that came after one poll suggested the Conservatives had now overtaken Labour and a second suggested that they were now in third place.

The former prisons minister said that, even without Iraq, there was a "tangible disappointment" in the government and "we could still be facing ... a combination of abstentions and defections that amongst voters could cost us dear".

Mr Straw also warned that the political pendulum was now swinging more swiftly, with voters acting more like consumers ready to change their political allegiance.

Referring to shoppers deserting Marks & Spencer, he said: "We live in a society where people change their allegiances far faster than ever before ... and the idea of gradual swings of the political pendulum may have had its day. The last thing I am complacent about is the next election."

Spin and political reporting were partly to blame, but he admitted: "There's no question Iraq and things around it has damaged trust in the government".

As to whether the decision to go to war was "right with a capital R or wrong with a capital W, that remains for the judgment of history".

He believed "history would be benign to us who made that judgment". But he suggested he had had doubts about the decision to take action, made in March 2003, when he said: "Of course, it's something I have often reworked in my own head."

Mr Denham called on the party to regain its knack of describing Britain as it is, see people's lives as a whole, and have the courage to take on vested interests. He also criticised the government's effort in persuading the public of wrong information in the run-up to the war, and said: "We could have used that intensity on a great many other issues and we haven't done so."