25 April 2010

The Labour leadership Part 3: It's time for action

After another wasted day on the campaign trail, Gordon Brown has given an interview to The Independent.  Invoking God will not get him very far:
How can it be a priority to give to people who have already got so much? It's not God helps people who help themselves', it's God helps people whom he has already helped'. That's what their [the Conservatives'] motto is.
He ploughs on:
People know that the fight is on. They know that the election is wide open, they know that the closed book that people expected it to be a few weeks ago is not where we are.
Eventually we get to the leadership question:

Mr Brown would not address one possible outcome doing the rounds in Westminster: that, in the event of a hung Parliament, he would step aside to allow a figure like Alan Johnson or David Miliband to be leader in a "progressive coalition" with the Lib Dems.

Asked if he felt he was bigger than his party, he replied: "No one is bigger than the party – no one, and certainly not me. [But] if you want to write about what happens after the election, you've got plenty of timeto do it after the election is finished.

"As long as the election is happening, we're talking about the policies.  I am not talking about all these institutional arrangements that so fixate people in London."

This is just not good enough.  Brown's leadership is now the central factor in the last stages of the campaign.  These "arrangements"  do more than "fixate people in London", they will determine the outcome of the general election.

Nick Clegg who will, if the polls remain as they are, play a pivotal role in the days after the election has reconfirmed he will not work with Gordon Brown.  Therefore who leads Labour, if they are to have a chance finishing as the largest party, has to addressed before polling day.  Parking the problem, that should have been resolved months ago, will ensure the very opposite that Labour is hoping for.

Having set out three options in Part 2, Labour has now to act if they are to stop support draining away.  With the polls as they are, Brown's wheeze of moving the agenda onto policy is not going to work .  It will disappoint Alastair Campbell but coalition politics will dominate all else.  The sooner that he and others accept this the better.

Labour's strategy, such as it, is has to dumped in double quick time.   Mandelson correctly spoke about Labour being the "underdog" in the period leading up the election.  Now is the time to act the part.  The party has nothing to lose.  Brown has to declare that he will stand down after polling day.  Then, if Labour do hold the largest number of seats, the Cabinet names a interim leader, which is allowed for under the rules of the party.

The party has to save itself from a repeat performance of the 1983 election.  It can only do this if decisive action is taken over Brown's leadership.  It's time for him to face reality and do what needs to be done.  The only alternative is to accept defeat.


  1. "Brown has to declare that he will stand down after polling day."

    Which allows the Tories to say "If you don't want another unelected Prime Minister the only safe vote is Conservative"

  2. That is the point. The electorate know exactly the position which counters Cameron's argument.

  3. My understanding is that the Labour PARTY chooses a leader, not a bunch of failed politicians trying to desperately hold onto their jobs.

    Would the party really put up with another coronation at the top without a say in the matter?

    Would the country put up with a government which could only manage 3rd place and with a leader that they did not vote for.

    What you suggest might help if there was a single candidate for the job. There isnt, and there is no time for the party to pick one.

  4. The Kubler-Ross stages of grief:
    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Bargaining
    4) Depression
    5) Acceptance

    I'm guessing you are on #3.

  5. Good News, Nick Clegg supports your plan...

    Tweet from Paul Waugh

    "Clegg ruled out letting brown "squat" in No10. But then sd he wd "work with anybody" who backed LD policy. I'm confused.#Marr"

    or maybe not.

  6. Scott - Clegg is playing a clever game. He doesn't wish to be boxed in before polling day. He only has a problem if Labour's support falls away and he is then asked if he will work with Cameron.

    It's only if Clegg's support falls away that we get a Tory government. I'm assuming that it won't, that is why Labour have to deal with Brown.

  7. NonnyMouse - the Cabinet only choose an interim leader, not a permanent one. It's all in Labour's rules.

    Labour may not finish 3rd if they do as I suggest.

    Mandelson will push for Miliband, who is the right choice for all sorts of reasons.

    BTW, I am at No 4. I will be at No 5 after Thursday if Labour don't do something.