Saturday, December 08, 2007

Could Gordon stand down?

Today's Saturday Column poses the question that would have been unthinkable even a few short weeks ago: Could Gordon Brown stand down as Labour leader before the next General Election?

The digested read goes something like:

  • Labour MPs are now openly speculating as to whether Brown will fight on 2009/10.

  • This is in part down to the government's recent disasters, and in part to a sense that the Prime Minister is not enjoying the job.

  • Unless the political situation improves for Labour, there would be little to be gained by Brown staying on indefinitely.

  • The silver lining is that neither D. Miliband nor Balls come up to the mark as potential successors.

    Having long believed that Brown did indeed have what it takes to renew Labour in office, this is not a scenario I hoped or expected to be outlining at this stage in the lifetime of his premiership, but it is becoming a very real possibility nonetheless.

    I would say he has, at best 6-9 months to turn the situation round. If by that stage the prospect of a David Cameron election victory has hardened into inevitability, Labour really would have little to lose by changing horses once again.

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  • 4 comments:

    Bryan McGrath said...

    Paul, you seem to be ignoring the fact that Brown is a Stalinist (aspiring to be Mr. Bean, I actually know a lib dem supporter who thinks it was a disgraceful joke to make).
    Gordon "Uncle Joe" Brown was so terrified of the challenge of John McDonald for the leadership of the People's Party that his henchmen had 320+ of parliamentary sycophants endorse his ascension to the leadership.

    There is no way he will give his divine right to the leadership. Perhaps Ed Balls, Mrs Ed Balls and Doug Henderson will be spending more time with the family so. What odds on Blunkett rising from the dead, again?

    skipper said...

    Paul
    Like you, I'm aghast at how poor GB has proved to be. But I think your commenter above has got at least one thing right: GB is not the sort of guy to give up power. Balls would be hopeless as a successor and, I would tip Straw as any interim leader to take the party through a Brown standing down. But next election is likely to be hung so it's down to the Lib Dems as to ho will be in government: if Cameron heads the biggest party, he will- if Labour is the biggest, then I think GB will have to go for losing his majority and an interim leader chosen. Either way, we're seeing the end of Labour's period of dominance.

    susan said...

    Schadenfreude not. But the left was right that we should have had a challenge and right about Brown.IMHO of current Cabinet Jack Straw would be preferable. And, yes, the fact GB so scared of challenge he couldn't face even a challenge from JMcD said it all from Day One.......

    RedEye said...

    I think he might, given the same sort of passive-aggressive tendencies which saw him bottle out of leadership contests in 92 and 94, and even the contest to be Labour candidate in the 78 Hamilton by-election.

    Losing power? Well if he knows he's going to lose it in 09 or 010 anyway, a retirement on grounds of ill health may well be preferable to losing a GE to a man he despises just as much (if not more) than Blair.

    Half the problem with the Brownites is that, while they were very good at destroying potential challengers to Brown in a leadership contest ('Kill Mil' was a particular success), they're not very good at running things now their man is in power.