Saturday, May 19, 2007

Was Brown's coronation a historical inevitability?

Not at all, I argue in my weekly column in today's Newcastle Journal. Here are some extracts.


"The first thing to say about Gordon Brown's unopposed elevation to the leadership of the Labour Party is that it represents a stupendous achievement...political history is full of front-runners who led from the tape only to be overhauled in the final few metres before the line.

I'll be honest, there was a time last month when I briefly thought it might happen to Brown, when all around seemed to be clamouring for a contest and the Chancellor's stock appeared to be falling rapidly.

By the end, Mr Brown's coronation had an air of inevitability about it, all rival contenders having fallen by the wayside, all the passion that has been expended on Labour's tribal feuding seemingly spent.

But actually, there was nothing historically inevitable about this week's events. It could easily all have turned out very differently.

The downfall of David Blunkett, after he lost his head over Kimberley Quinn, will I believe come to be seen as a major turning point in the history of New Labour.

Had he still been in the Cabinet, he would have been the very clear and obvious alternative to Gordon and, with his more compelling personal "back story," may well have been able to beat him.

Darlington MP Alan Milburn's decision to leave the Cabinet in 2003 and again in 2005 also removed a potentially big player from the succession stakes.

Mr Milburn, far more so than South Shields MP David Miliband, was the natural "heir to Blair," and though an intellectual pygmy besides Brown, his looks and charisma could have made him a contender."

Full text is available HERE.

free web site hit counter


James Higham said...

You don't feel, Paul, that Milliband, being perceived as the "real deal" was deliberately held in check with a view to acceding to the leadership after the the Labour loss in 2009/2010? That he was still a little too raw at this point?

susan press said...

This is why there was a coronation, sorry, coup