Jason Cowley, reviews the balance of class forces in the Labour Party and the falling stars, Burnham, Balls, Cooper and the Milibands, noting that only two are still MPs. Fascinatingly he looks at the seeds of their hubris, their early sucess and probably hits the nail on the head when he says,
Parties in the end are machines for capturing power and there is a sort of life cycle, and you’ve got to be absolutely vigilant about renewing it. Blair and Brown thought they could renew the machine with very clever people, but with one or two exceptions they were – what is the word I’m searching for? – they were servants, they weren’t masters, they didn’t really have a vision of where they wanted to go.
Earlier in the article, he remarks on the internecine fighting between the Blairite and Brownite factions, but fails to identify the lack of political difference made this just a spat between careerists. I remember the shock amongst left wing friends when we discovered that Brown was not going to pursue a more social democratic agenda than Blair, in the words of one, “there was no plan”, and the fighting ensured that there were no successors. The quote above does however illustrate that a Party Leader needs a vision, they need to know what they want to do. The use of the word “servants” is probably devastatingly accurate.