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May 11, 2008



Seems to me that the 'grey suits' in the Labour Party have got about three months to persaude Brown to 'do the decent thing for the good of the party' and make way for Milliband or Johnson.

Alternatively, someone has to do an 'Anthony Meyer' this summer (Cruddas perhaps).


Surely one problem with this argument is that when Blair tried to run an election campaign solely on Blair and a Blairite agenda of public service reform, with that man of almost limitless inadequacies, Alan Milburn, it went so badly that he had to do a 180 degree about turn and get Brown in to rescue the situation.


This is a slight unmeritable man,
Meet to be sent on errands: is it fit,
The two-fold world divided, he should stand
One of those to share it?


Slightly naive on the politics of the Labour party: Blair may have beaten Brown in '94, but the contest would have split the party. Likewise, offering 'a deal' in 94 (and on several instances since) was unprincipled and yet necessary to keep Brown on side. I don't see alternatives to Blair's course of action re Brown.

Normal Mouth

The agreement between them in 1994 was unprincipled, and Blair should not have adhered to it.

An absurd argument. If unprincipled, Blair should not have struck the deal. You suggest that the Leader of the Labour Party and future Prime Minister should have reneged on an agreement freely given.

That would have been less satisfactory than the debilitating rivalry that ensued.

Prentia Clove

Had the electorate for selecting Tony Blair's successor been restricted to Labour MPs only, would someone other than Brown have won?

Why should the franchise for electing a new leader be restricted to MPs? At a general election, regardless of the constituency system, people vote for the party they want to form the government. That is a judgement that to a large extent involves an assessment of the qualities of the party leaders. In 1997, I hazard, the vast majority of Labour voters were voting for Tony Blair specifically and not for Labour. In 2005 Labour voters were voting for Blair and Brown, as Blair had already made clear that he was not to contest a further election, and Brown was the heir presumptive (to put it no higher).

Given this, when the party in power changes leader, the selection of that new leader should be put to as wide an electorate as possible, and there should be legislation to the effect that such a new leader must call a general election with the first 12 months of his leadership.


Sorry to post this on a thread where it isn't relevant. But the long comments thread discussing David Lindsay, a few posts down, is now closed. I assume this is automatic, but since David had already claimed, even before it closed, that you had closed the thread yourself as an admission of defeat, I wonder if there is a way of keeping it open, or of opening another?

Also, it's really funny.


It wasn't David, it was Jack. They're two quite different people.


Tony Robinson

There's a lot of hindsight in your comments. Don't forget that Labour in 1994 were 15 years out of power. It's not surprising that Blair was cautious and did a deal (if he did). And have the tories benefited from an easier way to get rid of a leader? They got 3 useless ones. Having said that you're right about Brown; he is useless. Frank Field may be right that he can't last. As Prezza said "the plates are shifting".


"A responsible party of government would have a simple and unexceptionable procedure for electing a leader, with the franchise confined to MPs alone."

A couple of weeks ago you criticised Ken Livingstone's seizure of power in the old GLC, when councillors ditched their existing leader and put Livingstone in charge. This was correct in my view, so why would it be acceptable for MPs to appoint a new Prime Minister without an endorsement from anybody else?

Tim J

Surely Gordon Brown would have refused a demotion in 2001 and would have plotted a leadership bid from the backbenches.

Even without Iraq, the 2001-2005 term was rocky, with student loans, anti-terror legislation and public sector reform. It's difficult to see how Tony Blair, the public sector reform, or the British presence in Iraq could have continued until 2005.

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