Back from holiday to political meltdown.
In all the stramash about Tony and Gordon, their arguments, and Charles Clarke’s contribution this morning I noticed that nobody picked up on a Newsnight quote last night. An unnamed senior cabinet minister was quoted as saying, “Gordon would be a f***ing awful Prime Minister” and this unnamed cabinet minister would do everything he could to stop him. Who could this mysterious shy retiring figure be? Answers on a postcode.
The good doctor’s analysis, sorry, the unnamed senior cabinet minister’s analysis is not unreasonable. Gordon could not deliver his home constituency with a personally approved candidate in last year’s by election. The opinion polls in Scotland indicate that Gordon’s power base in the Scottish heartland is not as it might be – with one opinion poll last month (a rogue but indicative of a trend in favour of the SNP) showing the SNP 8% ahead of Labour. If he can’t deliver his home seat, if he can’t deliver 40% of the vote in Scotland (and no matter how he and the sources close to Gordon Brown – including Douglas “Miss Hoolie” Alexander – try to blame Jack McConnell or Blair for the dismal showing in Scotland, the Scottish Labour party has Brown and his influence through it at every level) Brown will never deliver middle England no matter how many times he witters on about his pride in Britishness and how Gazza scored his favourite goal ever. He’s fooling no-one. His antics, and those of his acolytes, in the past week play badly. If Labour want to win the next election they should choose someone else. Is it any coincidence that Blair’s statement yesterday was made in the company of the education secretary, the one former Union boss in the Cabinet? Place your bets for the next PM.
However, if anyone fancies a punt on the next leader of the Labour party people should remember the rules of the Labour constitution. If the leader resigns for any reason the deputy takes over. With odds ranging from 50 to 1 to 100 to 1 and the Brownies doing Brown Owl’s bidding in the interim perhaps a large bet, a snap resignation as party leader (while staying on as PM), may clear one or two outstanding mortgages resulting from some lawyers’ poor property investments.