Monday, August 14, 2006

Greasy pole: is Reid up or down?

As previously billed my newspaper columns and Podcast this weekend focused on whether Home Secretary John Reid's leadership chances have increased as a result of last week's terror raids.

Interestingly, Iain Dale is taking a rather contrarian view on this, arguing that his sidelining of Prescott and apparent eagerness to assume command will be unpopular with Labour loyalists.

My own view is that the chances of a Reid candidature have increased, but not necessarily the chances of a Reid premiership.

I agree with Iain to the extent that there is a fair amount of hostility to Reid and his right-wing, populist agenda within Labour circles, and that if he was to be chosen to succeed Blair, it could only be as a choice made out of electoral desperation:

"A Reid premiership remains unlikely. But what if the Labour Party’s poll ratings started to go into freefall and the public appeared increasingly bored by the prospect of Mr Brown? In that scenario, the press could start to get behind him as a tough leader capable of restoring the Government’s flagging fortunes and re-enthusing a jaded electorate.

"The momentum could then build to a point where not only would Dr Reid look silly if he did not stand, but the Labour Party would look silly if it did not elect him."

On a similar theme, I was suitably honoured to be asked to fill the Guest Slot on PoliticalBetting.Com today, in which I look at the role that Alan Johnson could play in the leadership shake-down.

My current thinking is that Johnson may well stand for both the leadership and the deputy leadership, but with the latter as his main goal.

Leaving my own punditry aside, however, the most interesting article I saw on the Labour leadership this weekend was from Oona King in the Observer.

Although the main thrust of the piece was to call for a woman deputy leader - no great surprise there - the degree of venom directed at Tony Blair was astonishing coming from someone who was previously regarded as a such a loyalist.

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media scum said...

When i read the article in question i wondered whether it should have had a header announcing that it was sponsored by Harriet Harman......

Anonymous said...

Re Oona - I think her article had more to do with the next General Election as Galloway won't be standing.
She could have held the seat last time but she is notoriously illdisciplined, and could not exert authority on her staff.