31 May 2009

Two views on the Labour leadership

John Rentoul now argues that Brown will survive for the time being.  Moreover, he says, it is the unexpected events that could cause his downfall rather than the more obvious ones that will happen this week, i.e. the awful election results for Labour.

Matthew d'Ancona not only advocates an early election but also strongly supports Alan Johnson and says:

As a member of the Cabinet, Mr Johnson could not be seen to have blood on his own hands; but he is, I am told by one senior colleague, "more than ready" to step in if others take on the nasty work of assassination. So – to recap – if the voters give Gordon a sufficiently brutal kicking on June 4, it is now quite conceivable that Labour will try to force a third prime minister upon us in the course of a single parliament.

And he concludes:

The Labour Party knows that the defenestration of Gordon Brown must be part of the slate-wiping. Why not do it now, they mutter to themselves, rather than after the next election, when all that is left of the Labour Party may be an email address and a whopping overdraft.

Which is why, quietly and efficiently, Mr Johnson is positioning himself as the leader-in-waiting who could make the difference between mere defeat and outright catastrophe; who could, in short, bring fresh meaning to the words "postal vote".

John Rentoul and I have debated for some months about Brown’s shortfalls and when and how Labour could make a change to Alan Johnson.  A month ago John changed his mind on June and more recently I gave my views when the expenses scandal broke.

The debate has now collided with real time events.  The June elections and those expected dreadful results for Labour are about to become reality.  Also a reality is that during the coming days Alan Johnson does have the one time chance to rescue Labour’s fortunes.  If he doesn't take it then d'Ancona will be proved right, the general election will be catastrophic for the Labour party.

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