Thursday, June 04, 2009


Gordon Secure Short-term but his Long-term Still in Doubt

Following a tense day yesterday in the Commons, I'd guess Gordon is going to hang on, proving once again the considerable power of incumbency: getting rid is much harder than leaving him there. He knows all about this, of course, from his battles with Blair He reacted cleverly to the Blears threat by praising her so generously. She was forced in the end to tread a lonely course back to Salford rather than be mobbed by fellow anti-Gordon rebels. Number Ten's briefings that she still has more guilty expenses secrets further isolated her. Then Alan Johnson once again denied any interest in the top job; Jackie Ashley says he's definitely up for it and will come round once Gordon is clearly going. Maybe.

Patrick Wintour's fascinating article today suggests a laberynthine backbench conspiracy. Hugely entertaining stuff, but can it lead to anything? In the past such movements have fizzled out but this could gather more momentum depending on how bad the election results prove to be.

Finally economic experts today on Radio 4 this morning suggested the recession may well be about to end if genuine glimmerings of recovery are sustained. Gordon has invested so much in solving this crisis for us and the world, he's not going to go if there is even an outside chance of his ministrations proving successful.

But the reshuffle will be extremely significant. Darling doesn't want to go and his supporters point to his unrivalled knowledge after two years in post. If Gordon feels strong enough he'll replace him with his loyal old mate, Ed Balls. Problem is nobody- apart from Yvette Cooper, one supposes- can stand the member for Normanton. Apart from his own expeneses questioons, he appears as superior, patronising and has no gift for explanation or communication. If Balls is appointed it could mean Gordon has won his battle to stay. But the full extent of the electoral debacle- not available until Sunday- might ratchet up the pressure still higher. We may in the lull before the real storm breaks.

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