12 September 2009

Not the time for novices

Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you have heard all the evidence.  For months you have listened to the arguments put forward by various esteemed commentators.  You have heard why Brown should stay and why Alan Johnson should take over.  In recent weeks, silly stories have surfaced about Brown’s health, and we have had to put up with the bore of the year on whether there should be a leaders' TV debate during the next election.  Meanwhile, we have had success in ensuring that David Dimbleby goes out with bang, as election night has been preserved.

Now as real politics kicks in for the first time since late July, and before you retire to consider your verdict, you should be reminded of this example as to why conference seasons and the immediate aftermath are so important

Cast your minds back to 1978 and the fateful decision that Callaghan made not to call the election.  If he had gone to the country that autumn there would certainly have been no Winter of Discontent and possibly no Thatcher premiership.

So, as most critical conference season since the last most critical conference season gets underway, what will it be?  What will you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, decide.  Will you stick with Brown or have the courage and the resolve to make the decision you know you must take to save the party you love.

Obsessive types amongst you will realise that we are about to enter the most absorbing few weeks in British politics for many a year.  Other may become bored.  But be in no doubt, barring any unknown unknowns, this deadly period will settle the political path the country follows for many years.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury is now time for you to retire to consider your verdict.  A majority will be sufficient and we will reconvene in the middle of October to hear what you have to say.

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