26 April 2009

It has to be June

In early March I had a blog exchange (my assumptions in that post proved fairly accurate) with John Rentoul about my pet subject, Labour replacing Brown with Alan Johnson.  He has chosen today to raise the matter again, which maybe coincidental after my ‘Dear Gordon’ letter posted yesterday.

There is no need to revisit the arguments.  However, there is one issue that I must take up with John.  It is known as The Bob Hawke Scenario.  John explains:

It was one of the most extraordinary days in Australian politics, which are so much earthier than ours. Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal prime minister, went to the Governor-General to ask for a general election. Hayden was a colourless leader of the opposition and Fraser wanted to capitalise on the Government's unexpected victory in a by-election. At the same time, though, Labor MPs were meeting in Brisbane. Most feared that they would lose under Hayden and thought that they stood a better chance with Hawke, a charismatic and – as Carleton found out – sharp-tongued new MP. By the time Fraser got back from the Governor-General's mansion, he found that he would be fighting the election not against Hayden but Hawke – who went on to win not just that election but the next three as well.

Events have moved on.  Brown’s position is now untenable, as I have argued.  In any case, this scenario will not wash in the UK.  It will come over as too cynical, and moreover, I doubt Johnson will play ball immediately before an election.

In fairness, John details this scenario only if Brown will not go voluntarily:

The mechanics are secondary.  The simplest way would be for Brown to realise that he was leading his party to certain defeat and to stand down voluntarily. Under Labour rules, the Cabinet then chooses one of its number as prime minister until a leadership election can be arranged.

I don't know if ministers have the fight left to put pressure on Brown to make it happen. But I know that they should.

I don't know if ministers have the fight left to put pressure on Brown to make it happen. But I know that they should.

The change has to come in June.  Either Brown goes on his on accord or the Cabinet rebels.  No other option is plausible.

PS:  One other matter.  I assume as the Mail and Indy now share the same building, the front pages were swapped by mistake this morning.

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  1. wonderfulforhisageApril 26, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    That makes sense. Labour MPs frightened of losing their seats plan a putsch with a view to replacing GB with somebody more elector friendly.

    Question: Who has the PR skills, deviousness, sure footedness, lightness of touch, charm etc. to optimise the Labour vote?

    Answer: TB.

    After the election he could resign (Labour will lose anyway) and bugger off and ponce about as King of Europe (King of Kings?)

    And don't forget he, or rather 'friends of' popped up in Saturday's papers reporting that he (TB) is furious about the 50% tax rate. What's this all about I ask myself? Maybe Mandy Pandy is plotting to 'Bring Back Tone'.

    And before anybody thinks of ringing the social services to have me carted off to a 'home' cast your mind back a year. What odds could you have got from the bookies that Mandy Pandy would be Lord Mandy and part of GB's government of all talents - the Macheavellian schemeing part in his case.

    Just a thought.

  2. Interesting thought. Two issues. One, he is not an MP. Two, I not that sure that post Iraq he is that popular.