Friday, January 25, 2008


Hain's Vaulting Ambition Ultimately Damages Gordon

Michael White in The Guardian today reviews Gordon's position and how he must be ruing his lack of action on Peter Hain a month ago when the perma-tanned one's alleged crimes seemed so much of a lower order. Having Darling sort out the capital gains furore seemed to have adjusted Labour's course to something approximating the right direction. Brown had already made strides to re-order his own office: the precocious Jeremy Heywood(see picture) had been appointed to the new post of permanent secretary to Number 10(Sir Burke Trend used to say it was the Cabinet Secretary who effectively filled this role for the PM but times have changed); and the role of chief of staff had been given to newcomer Stephen Carter(ditto right). But ill fortune seems to be dogging Brown.

Not that he does a great deal to help himself, as his hapless display at PMQs again illustrated, but the Hain affair is a below the watermark hit. Hain, a good minister by all accounts but never popular in the Labour Party because of his somewhat 'loner' persona, paid for his lack of personal warmth in the tea-room by with an absence of backbench support when the chips were down-often the decider with resignations of this kind. White suggests that whilst his radical bona fides are impeccable, his initial choice of Liberal when joining British politics has always been held against him. He has always been openly ambitious but how he must regret the vaulting that led him to think being deputy party leader was a genuine step up.

If he had avoided that trap he would still be Secretary for Work and Pensions and, (not forgetting the after-thought of Wales). As for Gordon, he will have to start again from scratch at relaunching his standing with the public and the political class. He's still got plenty of time but how often do you have to fail before being labelled a 'no-hoper'?

A virtue is often made of Brown's distaste for the media and any superficial interest in how to handle them - it's cast as evidence of his substance.

In fairness that's probably true but it doesn't mean his failings in that respect can't do him any harm - they might end up inflicting immense damage. He'd bristle at the suggestion but he needs a Campbell-type figure and fast...
i agree. Carter is supposed to be a kind of Campbell person as I understand it, keeping a grip on what happens and avoiding cock-ups. Not in charge of media relations though as far as I know- though i might be mistaken.
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