26 April 2010

The Labour leadership Part 4: Alan Johnson makes his move

To continue with the life and times of Alan Johnson.

His interview on the Politics Show was an important development, where he had this to say about electoral reform:
I support AV Plus, where you can decide on the local candidate if you want, one to four if there’s four candidates, and the candidate has to get more than 50 per cent, and you cast another vote for the party of your choice.
Not only has he been a long standing advocate of PR, but he must feel he is in the best position to cut the deal with Clegg.

I think it's a nonsense to continue to lecture the public about this spectre of a coalition government. I don't find that as frightening as some of my colleagues do.
Asked if he was referring to Mr Balls, he said:
Not just Ed. There's lots of my colleagues who are in a different place to me on things like electoral reform.
Clearly, he is only entering the debate in this way because of the rumours now circulating about Brown's leadership after 6 May.  These, of course, are being cleverly put about to counter 'the five more years of Gordon Brown' line.  However, as discussed, they do not go far enough.

Now, let's move to Martin Kettle, who argues that "Labour is incapable of removing Gordon Brown".  However, he forgets one important point; the role of Peter Mandelson.  Brown has only been allowed to continue because of his support.  Once that is withdrawn, as may well happen if Labour finish up as the largest party, then it will be impossible for Brown to continue as leader.

Without doubt, David Miliband is the favoured candidate to take forward the Blairite agenda, but he may not be best placed to lead an arrangement with the Lib Dems.  Alan Johnson, however, neatly fits the bill for the reasons stated above.

So, will it happen?  That all depends on Labour finally get its message across through the shambles of its campaign and, of course, what happens on polling day.

But two small matters will not change.  Clegg with not deal with Labour with Brown as its leader, and Cameron will not agree to PR.

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