WHAT ELSE can Gordon Brown do to convince us not to look to him as an alternative to Blair? At the TUC conference he was surrounded by bureaucrats who are desperate to have Comrade Brown as their dear leader. Brown gave the progressive elements a stern telling off for suggesting that society could be made any better through the Labour Party.
'I tell you honestly there can be no retreat from a pro-enterprise, pro-industry agenda,' he said. To spout this sort of nonsense to his target audience is rather poorly spun, to be honest. Just as well for him that many on the bureaucratic left are falling for it.
To me, it's reminiscent of that thief from The Fast Show-'Nah, nah, you don't understand, I'll sell you out! You put me in Number 10 and I'll privatise it! Cannot trust me, mate. 'I'm a bit wooarr, a little bit waaaaayyy, bit of a Tory, know what I mean?'
If only the cabinet and George Bush were as easily satisfied as some of the union leaders-'OK Saddam, we want the immediate, unequivocal surrender of all your weaponry. 'We want you to stand down as leader and hand yourself over. We want your oil, your people and your land. But failing all that, a polite letter of apology will suffice.'
So we have a Labour Party leadership that is united in its boast to core supporters that it doesn't like them very much. It is also about to get bitten by the toothless Hutton inquiry which they thought would distract people from the real issues around the war, and its idea of a post-spin era has Peter Mandelson appointed to oversee it!
How can these ingredients give us the party we deserve? I recently wrote a letter to Peter Hain. I told him that we were onto him, and that Blair was a jerk and that Bush was an ape, and the usual stuff you find in letters where every paragraph starts with, 'And another thing!' I didn't do it because I thought it would change him-I just did it to piss him off.
The letter he wrote back to me, however, thanked me for 'raising important points in a humorous way.' He then wished me luck and said that I would think they'd done a good job 'when the dust settles'.
None of Blair's cronies have any idea what ordinary people want because they think ordinary people are those who own the newspapers and arms companies. The way Hain read my terrible bile-spitting tangle of a letter is exactly the same way the cabinet read public opinion before they get stunned into submission by a huge demonstration or a strike.
Calling for Brown to replace Blair is asking for little and ultimately getting even less. Don't get me wrong. There were some healthy threats directed at the Blairites from this TUC conference.
But if the movement really wants a government based on the principles of equality, wealth redistribution and peace, they should be standing up in strikes, occupations and demonstrations on a massive scale. We shouldn't simply be conning people into thinking that the Brown they're seeing has shades of red.