January 10, 2007

Brown needs a challenger, or else he'll have to call an election

Stephen Byers sees the world through blinkered eyes. He says there are “no fundamental ideological divisions within New Labour”, ignoring the section of his party who consider themselves ‘Old Labour’. And he is as Blairite as they come, which colours his judgement of the Chancellor.

But he is right in saying that Gordon Brown’s coronation would be an unattractive spectacle.

Only Labour’s opponents want to see the leadership contest turn into a bloodbath, but every Labour MP should want an open discussion of the challenges their party faces.

If Mr Brown provides us with an idea of what he wants to do, and not just what he believes in, then the public might retract their demands for a ‘snap election’ to vote on his agenda. Otherwise their calls for greater accountability would be justified.

But he needs to stop answering questions with bland waffle, as he did with Andrew Marr this weekend. Otherwise he leaves himself open to attack from Blairites like Mr Byers, who rightly criticise his failure to indicate where the Labour Party is heading.

Published in the Evening Standard, 10th January 2007.
Written in response to an article by Mr Byers in the paper two days earlier. (No web link available)


- 2 comments by 0 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Tom Freeman

    You’ve got a fair point there. I think there’s also a matter of timing – if Brown’s unopposed, then when nominations close he’ll be in a bizarre limbo (far more so than he is now) until the deputy contest is over. That’d cost him a lot of momentum.

    11 Jan 2007, 09:52

  2. Gareth Herbert

    I think the Labour party will throw up some pathetic stalking horse to rival Brown for the leadership so that his succession will look like something more democratic than the farce that it is. In spite of having over 10 years to prep himself for the moment when he seized power Brown appears to have no clue whatsoever to do now it’s being offered up to him on a silver platter. He will lose the first election that he calls.

    15 Jan 2007, 03:23


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