Wednesday, April 18, 2007

And then there was one....

It seems unbelievable that with the news yesterday that David Milliband has moved to end speculation about his potential candidacy for leader the mighty New Labour machine is reduced to a shortlist for the top job of.... one.

There is a famous MP's quote (I cannot remember who said it, might have been Alan Clarke) but when asked in the house of commons if he would ever want to become Prime Minister the reply was 'everyone here - from the cleaner upwards, secretly wants to be Prime Minister'.

This is the job vacancy of all time so far as Labour politicians are concerned, here is the chance to go directly from nought to Prime Minister without passing Go; to become in one bound the leader of the party; to take control of the fourth largest economy in the world etc, etc.

And nobody but Gordon apparently wants the job.

That says something about either Gordon Brown or the state of the Labour Party but I'll leave you to decide for yourself which.

PS. I was at the PoliticalBetting book launch yesterday and the serious political punters are pouring money in to what they say is a one-way bet; Gordon Brown. Some have also worked out that an outside bet is excellent value on the now fairly remote chance that, Cameron -style, an outsider comes from nowhere to steal the crown.

Whisper it, but Hiliary Benn was a name that went round yesterday.


Silver Surfer said...

Hiliary Benn- May the good Lord help us if he is anything like his Dad.

I am old enough to remember the millions he squandered propping up no-hope businesses and keeping the unions happy in the 1960's.

Govan Shipbuilding, British Leyland, British Steel, the Rolls Royce RB211, Concord, it was one taxpayer funded disaster after another.

Barrie Wood said...

He is nothing like Dad ! A competent and articulate minister, albeit one not well known. My favourite tip for the post of Deputy Leader of the Labour party.

He would command cross-party respect in the Commons I'm sure.

And, no, I'm not a Labour supporter !

Anonymous said...

What Hilary Benn would have in his favour is that whilst he has all the advantages of being Tony Benn's son (a lot of affection from the left of the Labour Party and the Trades Unions), he has none of the disadvantages of his father's politics.

He would also be potentially difficult Leader to face because he could credibly claim to be 'new' in a way that Gordon Brown can’t.

Another factor in Mr. Benn’s favour is that whilst he is in Cabinet he hasn’t been in any of the ‘big’ offices of state and is, therefore, to a limited extent, not entirely to blame for some of this government mistakes.

Brown, Reid, Clarke, Hewitt, Beckett, Straw, Hoon etc… have all made a mess of things and are, in that sense, damaged goods. Benn isn’t.

Still, Labour seem determined to elect the wrong Leader seemingly because they are too frightened of the Brown’s ‘clunking fist’ to go against him.

Marcus Wood said...

Benn would indeed be a strong opponent to Cameron, he is likeable and polite, young enough to be 'new' as you say and also his political alliance is still a bit of a mystery - he isn't really a Blairite but he isn't a Brownite either.

At the very last minute could Labour look over the precipice and change their mind?

If it was one member one vote, possibly but the answer is no.

The voting system they have means that Brown is a done deal.

Barrie Wood said...

Torbay Council is to all intents and purposes one member one vote in the form of Nick Bye, but I guess that isn't the OMOV you mean ;-)