While cowards flinch and traitors sneer, John Prescott keeps his red flag flying. His blog on the “collaborators” — John Hutton, Frank Field and Kate Hoey — helping the Tories has the ring of vintage Soviet propaganda.
“They’ve now turned a Con-Lib Government to a ConLibLab one and made themselves human shields for the most savage and heartless Tory policies in 20 years….I would ask if they can live with their conscience but I’d question whether they even had one to begin with.”
Remarkably, he claims they are even more treacherous than the Lib Dems joining the Tories in government and backing a VAT rise.
“That pales into insignificance now Labour ministers – Labour ministers – have decided to collaborate with the Tories.”
It is all a rather sad. While there can be legitimate criticisms of Field and Hutton working with the Tories, slamming them supporting measures to cut the deficit should worry all Labour members.
Not so long ago, Prescott himself was advocating painful reforms to public sector pensions. The problem was that his government backtracked and only had the guts to push through quite piecemeal changes.
The road to permanent opposition lies in dismissing every proposal to cut public spending. In coming months, every leadership candidate must — at a minimum — outline the £51bn worth of spending cuts and tax rises pencilled in by Alistair Darling. If they don’t, it will completely undermine the legitimate economic debate over the timing and depth of the cuts.