Friday, 5 June 2009

Labour's political calculation - good and bad news for Gordon

My suggestion is that there is both good news and bad news for Mr. Brown in the current state of play (as of lunchtime on June 5th)

I'm not normally terribly interested in British politics but here are my ten quick thoughts on the matter.

1. Brown, as part of his Cabinet re-shuffle, wanted to replace the current Chancellor with Ed Balls for many reasons but one of which may have been to get another stimulus package in ahead of an election. Darling was too frugal and Balls would have obliged

2. Purnell's resignation and the fact that Darling said he did not want to be moved raised the risks for Brown that putting Balls in as a replacement could have seen Darling drift away from the Cabinet and, even if not overtly critical of Brown, Darling's silence would be another awkward issue(amongst many) for Brown.

3. Lord Mandelson didn't get the job he wanted as Foreign Secretary and although he is a positive spin doctor of the first order he will resent that fact.

4. The appointment of Lord Sugar (as he will soon be known) as Enterprise Tsar is a supreme act of the desperate spin and cynicism from a Prime Minister that most Britons now despise. Just like his YouTube appearance Brown continues to show that he has zero media savvy.

5. Grass roots Labour MP's and constituency faithfuls are probably calculating that an election soon would be 100% disastrous whereas they can pray for green shoots and should they really start to bloom, an election next June may only be 90% disastrous.

6. The other calculation is that if the green shoots are performing their magic - kicking Brown out next spring with a new broom (i.e. Alan Johnson) would make more sense than kicking him out now.

7. Only if the backbench Labour MP's can get enough signatures together will Brown have to face a formal showdown soon. But the backbench MP's know that they could not get away with another unelected leader of the party for long so a general election would have to be called soon which puts #5 back into play.

8. The Conservatives would much prefer to fight Brown at an election but they also have to keep an anxious eye that the green shoots aren't too healthy, as Labour under a new leader with economic tailwinds could put Cameron to the test.

9. Brown is very vulnerable but he just may survive in the foreseeable future.

10. The electorate will get angrier and more resentful and it would be almost certain suicide to have Brown at the helm at the time of the next general election - whenever it comes.

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