Saturday, January 26, 2008

No to Milburn, and no to electoral reform

This week's column in the Newcastle Journal focuses on two stories - Peter Hain's resignation and the subsequent Cabinet reshuffle, and as flagged up in the previous post, the government's decision to rule out PR for Westminster following the review of electoral systems across the UK.

Both of these, in my view, go down as yet more missed opportunities by Gordon Brown. He could, as I have argued in recent week, have used the departure of Mr Hain to strengthen a distinctly middle-weight Cabinet line-up by bringing back a heavyweight from the Blair years, preferably Alan Milburn. Interestingly James Forsyth on Spectator Coffee House takes a similar view. He comments:

"A quick check on the health of a party is whether there is more talent on the back benches than the front bench. Labour are close to that tipping point with Charles Clarke, Jon Cruddas, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers, Denis MacShane, David Blunkett and Frank Field all out of the front line...If Labour is going to win the next election they have to get their A team on the field. This limited reshuffle suggests that Brown hasn’t grasped this."

In my column I also argue that Brown should have used the review of elctoral systems to order a fresh look at PR for Westminster, as a pre-emptive strike against the Tories for Nick Clegg's hand in marriage after the next election. The piece can be read in full HERE.

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1 comment:

jane said...

all boys - well, I suppose...