Monday, June 23, 2008

Should Brown sacrifice his Darling?

Nick Robinson posed an interesting question on the Today Programme this morning - for those who missed it, he has helpfully reproduced the entire script on his blog. But basically the gist of it was: should Gordon Brown sack Alistair Darling as Chancellor as part of a planned "autumn relaunch" of the government?

There will be those who will regard such a question as simply irrelevant, in that the plight of the Brown premiership is no so dire as to be beyond such rearranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Others will argue that Mr Darling is scarcely to blame for the economic difficulties that have buffeted Labour moreorless ever since he took over the job. The Tories' line of attack would doubtless be that he is simply the "fall guy" for Mr Brown.

Both of these are fair points. But for me, the reason Mr Darling should be replaced is the same two reasons that he should never have got the job in the first place - one, because he is Scottish, two, because he is rather dull.

It was always going to be the case that, with Brown as premier, having another Scot in what is effectively the No 2 government role was going to be tricky. When that Scot has a reputation for being almost as dour as Brown himself, it was going to be doubly so.

It would have made a great deal more sense had Brown appointed David Miliband or Alan Johnson to the Treasury role as soon as he has taken over. A year on, they are probably now the two Labour ministers with the most popular appeal. If it is to give itself even a chance at the next election, the party must play to its strengths by promoting one of them - probably Miliband - to the Chancellorship.

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Shuggy said...

I'm sorry but I think this is a horrible post. I've responded here.

Letters From A Tory said...

I agree. Miliband would give more solidity, even though I hate the man and think he's been an awful Foreign Secretary. I'm sure Miliband would jump at the opportunity and Darling would not be missed by anyone.

skipper said...

Agree it's not Darling's fault but also that he lacks political skills like charm and ability to communicate with any impact. Too late to change the deck chairs I also agree. But hasn't Gordon been pulling all the important strings anyway?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Miliband's huffy arrogance (in particular, the way he frowns or scowls at questions he considers intellectually beneath him) would go down well, particularly given the credit crunch. Johnson, Hutton or Denham would be preferable.