Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Who should lead Labour into the next election?

In my weekend column (see previous post), I wrote that I don’t detect any appetite in the Labour Party for another leadership change, and that I don’t as yet detect any such stirrings in the political undergrowth.

I am sticking by that, in spite of certain Sunday newspapers' attempts to persuade their readers that David Miliband was about to announce his candidacy for the leadership.

That said, two years is a long time in politics and things could easily change between now and the date of the next general election. Indeed, it would be mildly surprising if they didn't.

To my mind, Phil Webster has it about right in today's Times, arguing that ministers are giving Gordon Brown a year to turn things round. There is a clear logic to the assertion that if next year's local election results are as bad as this year's, even he himself would question whether it was worth continuing.

It's all very sad. I continue to believe Brown would have resoundingly won an election in his own right had Tony Blair made good his promise to stand down mid-way through the second term, as he should have done in any case in view of his administration's culpability in the death of Dr David Kelly and its use of dodgy intelligence to support the case for war in Iraq.

His tragedy was to become leader at a time when New Labour's hold on the public was beginning to wane and the Tories were making themselves electable again.

Should he decide to soldier on until 2010, he could do a lot worse than to take the advice of Sunday's Observer editorial, and seek to lay down some solid achievements which will ensure he is treated more kindly by the historians than by his contemporaries.

Either way, blog readers can have their say in my current poll below which asks whether Brown or any one of nine other leading Labour figures (sadly all men) should take the party into battle in 2009/10.

So far, Jack Straw appears to have streaked into an early lead with Alan Johnson second and other votes spread evenly between Brown, Hilary Benn, Jon Cruddas, John Denham, John McDonnell and Alan Milburn, with no votes for Ed Balls as yet.

Oh, and for the benefit of the annoyingmong who keeps asking me about the sample size every time I run a poll, it's not an attempt to be "scientific," it's primarily a bit of fun for me and for readers of this blog. Got that?

Who should lead the Labour Party into the next General Election?
Gordon Brown
Ed Balls
Hilary Benn
Jon Cruddas
John Denham
Alan Johnson
John McDonnell
Alan Milburn
David Miliband
Jack Straw

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10 comments:

Toque said...

I voted for Cruddas (if they want to reconnect with their roots).

But what about Frank Field?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter who leads Labour into the next election as they will certainly lose it.
New Labour has become a party of everything and nothing,no core beliefs,no core culture,no conviction ,just a bunch of opportunists prepared to prostitute themselves for the sake of their own careers.

Clearly the public has now seen through this farce and it's over,dead and buried.

Sid,

Paul Linford said...

Sid

That analysis would ring truer if the public weren't preparing to elect another party which appears to have no core belief or conviction and a leader who will clearly say anything to get elected.

susan said...

John McDonnell gets as many votes as Miliband - yeay!

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem for me is the lack of ideal which made Labour Labour, I know it's world wide problem these days to many people in the welfare state, to many people who are unable to get jobs as directors of companies, to many people who have problems counting fingers and toes to understand how much wages we get, but we were all educated enough to know if you remove a 10p tax band the lowest paid would suffer, seems something a chancellor did not, if you believe that.

Lucky then I disabled and thick.

Shuggy said...

in view of his administration's culpability in the death of Dr David Kelly and its use of dodgy intelligence to support the case for war in Iraq.

His administration? I take it you're referring to the one Gordon Brown has been a member of since 1997? You think the administration is 'culpable' - except Gordon? Come off it.

Paul Linford said...

Shuggy

Gordon Brown may have done many things since 1997, and yes, in terms of economic and social policy, he played the central role in the Blair administration. But his involvement in foreign policy has been much more peripheral.

I do not believe that Brown was personally involved in the misuse of intelligance as highlighted in the Butler Report, and I certainly do not believe he was personally involved in leaking the name of Dr David Kelly to Tom Baldwin of The Times and other national newspaper journalists. You and I know perfectly well who was responsible for that.

The Daily Pundit said...

Paul, you forgot to include Geoff Hoon.

Paul Linford said...

Geoff Hoon was once my local MP and there was a time when I thought he could be leadership material one day, but I don't think many other people have ever shared that view.

I distinctly recall a rather drunken conversation with a couple of Labour MPs' researchers in Bellamy's one evening back in about '95 or '96. After several pints the talk turned to who might one day succeed Blair. The consensus was that he would be leader for at least 15 years and that Brown would be too old to replace him. When I suggested Hoon as a possible successor, I was laughed out of court.

The Daily Pundit said...

It'll take a big hitter to beat Cameron. I doubt Miliband, Balls, Purnell and the rest of the younger crowd could beat him.