The failure of Dumb and Dumber

Yesterday, I dubbed Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon as "Labour's dumb and dumber." The Mirror this morning used the same headline and it's not hard to see why.

After the news of Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon’s attempted coup broke yesterday, I tweeted that “Hewitt & Hoon are Labour’s dumb and dumber” and attached this picture. The Mirror this morning used the same headline and it’s not hard to see why.

On Newsnight last night, Geoff Hoon bumbled through his interview and outlined that he and Hewitt only had the idea “when we came back from the Christmas recess” and “did not speak to a single Cabinet Minister”. If they’d thought longer and canvassed more widely, they might have come to a different conclusion.

Hoon also conceded that the the poor timing of the attempted coup was a “fair point.” Steve Richards in the Independent summarises how Labour was gaining momentum yesterday before the duo sent an email to MPs after PMQs:

“Peter Mandelson delivered the most effective speech on government policy that any minister has made since the start of the economic crisis. Next, Gordon Brown was in robust form at Prime Minister’s Question Time, performing more effectively at the despatch box than any of his immediate potential successors would be capable of doing.”

Hoon’s appearance on Newsnight made repeated mentions of Labour MPs but failed once to reference the views of Labour activists and supporters. Labour List has a good summary of condemnation from Labour bloggers and tweeters and a “statement calling for Labour to unite and focus on the real challenges ahead” which has now been signed by over 102 people. While today’s You Gov poll in The Sun is also revealing:

“An overwhelming number [of core Labour voters] – 82 per cent – say it would either make no difference or encourage them to vote Labour if he stayed.”

The poll also outlined how “no other senior Labour politician [is] capturing the public’s imagination as Premier instead of Gordon Brown. So who was the winner? No surprises here but Mike Smithson at Political Betting puts it most succinctly:

“So is David Cameron today’s main beneficiary? The answer must be yes. His general election opponent remains someone who is deeply unpopular in large parts of England where the marginals are.”

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14 Responses to “The failure of Dumb and Dumber”

  1. jaqi

    RT @
    leftfootfwd The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  2. Eddy Anderson

    RT @leftfootfwd: The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  3. Lucy Openshaw

    RT @leftfootfwd The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  4. Jonathan Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd: The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  5. Tim Ireland

    RT @leftfootfwd: The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  6. Chris Paul

    RT @leftfootfwd: The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  7. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jaqi: RT @
    leftfootfwd The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  8. Leon Green

    RT @leftfootfwd The failure of dumb and dumber. How Hoon and Hewitt blew it: http://bit.ly/5Fc1Xs

  9. Grumpy Old Man

    “An overwhelming number [of core Labour voters] – 82 per cent – say it would either make no difference or encourage them to vote Labour if he stayed.”
    Allowing 30% of the electorate as Labour’s core vote, and not taking into account any defections to the BNP in racially sensitive areas, thats a core vote of 24% who support Gordon Brown against 76% of the electorate who don’t. Thats a lot of ground to make up over 5 months, even though CCHQ are straining every sinew to help.

  10. Mark

    The problem is that this issue shows the country going one way and Labour the other. Brown’s not popular and his support is at a record low for any PM. Watching Labour having to support him through gritted teeth only risks a backlash from the electorate, they’ll see through the pretence of cabinet ministers.

    H&H look dumb but we’ll forget them. The risk is that Brown and Labour look even more pathetic.

  11. Alan W

    With their inept coup attempt, Hoon and Hewitt have proven what should already have been obvious – that the only thing worse for Labour than fighting the next general election under Gordon Brown, would be an acrimonious leadership battle just months before polling day.

    Brown is undoubtedly electoral poison, and while he is certainly not the only reason for Labour’s unpopularity, anyone who imagines he is not a major factor is deluding themselves. Nonetheless, the time to get rid of him was back at the start of the summer when James Purnell offered the Cabinet the perfect opportunity to act.

    Almost a year away from the election the party could have got away with a bit of blood on the carpet at that point. But they didn’t take the chance and now it’s too late. For the election Labour will just have to campaign dragging the Brown ball and chain along with them as best they can. A depressing prospect for those of us who’d rather take any Labour PM over a Tory, but there you go.

  12. The Parallax Brief

    Hoon and Hewitt may have made a treacherous, ill timed move, but once they had made it, the Labour party should have supported it. In not doing so, they are left with the worst of both worlds: appearing divided AND going into an election with Gordon Brown in the saddle. What is indisputable is that Brown is incredibly unpopular (last poll was 28% approval rating, and only 54% among LABOUR voters (!)), and further that he is less popular than virtually anyone else.

  13. Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward | Left Foot Forward

    […] The “Dumb and Dumber” of British politics, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, got their 15 minutes of fame this week […]

  14. Notes on a coup | The Young Fabians Blog

    […] Foot Forward’s Will Straw, meanwhile, dubs the pair of plotters “Labour’s Dumb and Dumber”, pointing out […]

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