Jim Murphy spoke to conference this morning to “challenge the ill-informed orthodoxy of the past which says that Labour is the party of the NHS and the Tories are the party of the Forces.” He made a firmer anti-cuts speech than most of his shadow colleagues. He unveiled the cut price deal for veterans to join the party (introduced at his insistence in spite of NEC reservations, we’re told). And he launched Labour’s new vehicle for campaigning in the “forces community” — Labour Friends of the Forces.
Imagine what he’d be like as a new high profile Health shadow — slamming the NHS bill, fighting every cut, slashing membership rates for pensioners, nurses and hospital cleaners… launching Labour Friends of Social Services perhaps.
As an indication of our willingness to do anything for Socialism, we went along to listen to Jim’s friends speak at the Progress meeting last night. Their new mantra, moving on from the need to defend Labour’s record in government, is that we have to apologise about Labour’s record. For spending too much, and not always wisely. No apologies from Jim today though. Not for the Iraq war. Not for committing to replace Trident.
He’s above apologies, is Jim. Bigger things on his mind. Not quite time for them yet, but the time will come. That’s why he resists calls to stand as Labour’s Leader in Scotland. Bigger ambitions. And probably not to be Defence Secretary.
By sheer coincidence, Mike Smithson quotes the falling odds on Jim Murphy as the next Labour leader:
- With William Hill he started the day at 25/1 – he’s now priced at 14/1.
- PaddyPower had him opening at 20/1 – that’s now tightened to 12/1.
- Victor Chandler also started at 20/1, then moved to 14/1 and now have Murphy at 10/1.
- Stan James moved from 20/1 to 14/1.
The odds are falling. Get your bets in quick. Or start saving for a one way ticket to somewhere warm. Best avoid the Middle East though.