14 February 2010

Labour's dividing lines

Just weeks before the election, our two great political parties are not full of happy campers.  First, let us take a peep at what is going on inside the bunker.

Patrick Hennessy is at it, again.  Last Sunday, we had his not-so-wonderful idea of an election on 15 April.  Today, there is an improvement, with a report on the obvious disagreements between Brown and Darling over the budget that may never happen:

The Prime Minister wants to use the Budget as a political springboard for the election campaign by spicing it up with spending increases on voter-friendly areas such as schools and hospitals, and even the hint of tax reductions.

Remember folks, there is no money.

But wait:

The Chancellor is holding out firmly against a "giveaway" package and wants to use his Commons speech instead to be "realistic" and to reassure markets that Labour is serious about reducing Britain's deficit of £178 billion.

Here we go:

It is understood that Mr Darling's stance is backed by Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, while Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is once again on Mr Brown's side.

Mr Brown and Mr Balls want to establish spending increases which go above current plans in order to establish pre-election "dividing lines" with the Conservatives.

This is all becoming rather tedious.  Us voters - the few that are listening - will see through all this.  But, there is something else.  The succession.

Brown will want to win this battle for two reasons.  One, he believes it will help his appeal to the electorate.  Also, he will wish to help with the career development of comrade Balls, who is looking beyond the day when we go the polls.

On the other hand, Mandy will prefer that comrade Miliband succeeds Brown as soon after the election as possible.  He will not want the Balls campaign to gain traction before the the big day.

Who wins this little battle could be significant for our post-election politics, and may also give us an indication of the role Mandy will play in determining who succeeds Gordon Brown.

The DM4LO campaign is much in evidence and it’s vital for the Labour party that it succeeds.

But there is something else that makes the succession important.  Team Cameron’s difficulties with his party.

We will come back to this shortly.

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