Monday, September 07, 2009
Is Another Coup Attempt Against Gordon Really Possible?
Martin Kettle's piece last Friday offered us some autumn entertainment. Like you I daresay, I had assumed challenges to Gordon Brown's leadership had been finally seen off by the failure of the June plotters to subvert the reshuffle which successfully bribed some of the chief contenders either with retention (Miliband) or promotion(Johnson). Kettle tells us to hang on a minute, because yet another coup is being plotted; and he seems to know the plotters.
He suggests 12th October could be the date when the knives, sharpened since they proved so blunt in June, will be plunged into the Prime Minister. What do the conspirators say?
Their core case is familiar. Brown is a bad and failed leader. Indecisive. Cautious. Doesn't know what he believes in. Always calculating, often badly. Unable to inspire. The polls are worse than they have ever been and nothing Brown does seems able to change them. Labour now faces not just a conventional defeat but a historic wipeout. A new and better leader, elected after a proper contest and an overdue strategic debate, can turn a new page, would allow Labour to be heard, could re-energise the core vote and keep the losses to a minimum, enabling Labour to stay in the game.
So, according to Kettle, what has changed? In a word, timing. In June Mandelson convinced the party that any new leader would arrive with an unavoidable requirement to hold a general election polls said Labour would lose disastrously. Now it is possible to argue the next election is so close anyway, no anticipation is necessary. Moreover, if Ireland accept the re-run referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, the danger would be pre-empted that a newly elected Cameron might subject the treaty to a referendum with predictable attendant convulsions.
Kettle thinks Brown will survive the annual loyalty-fest of the conference but will become vulnerable in its aftermath. Do the 'plotters' exist? Kettle seems sure they do and indeed, I wonder if they do, the popular and interesting John Cruddas might be an emerging challenger, after his recent attack on Brown's 'defeatism'. I would love to see Gordon depart but we have had so many Grand Old Duke of York marches to the top of the hill of a coup that I'm fairly sure this one, if it ever materialises, will prove yet another pathetic anti-climax.
Labour will lose the next election, being in opposition being made leader of the party might give you two election to pull back the voters, but who would that be, all are tainted with New labour including the New labour voting machine Cruddas.
I wouldn't underestimate the effect that impending electoral wipeout could have on the Labour MPs who could survive under a new leader. Imminent death focuses minds and where there's a will there's a way.
I have £10 on with a fellow blogger that Brown will be out before the end of the year.
Something to do with Labour Party rules, the timing involved, and the requirement for a huge vote in favour of getting rid.
The big draw back who wants to be leader of a losing party.
I cannot see anyone wanting to step into the hot seat now in what would be a care taker roll.
Miliband would suit the Blairites, so would Purnell, Johnson might be a better bet but in the end when Labour gets wiped out the search will be on like lightening to find another Thatcher or Blair again
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