Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bloodied Gordon Brown vows: 'I will not waver or walk away'.

I've always thought that rule No. 1 of any coup is that you have to behead the leader that you are seeking to replace.

At the very least you have to remove him from office. According to that test, the recent coup against Gordon Brown has, so far, utterly failed. After an astonishing couple of days in Downing Street, Brown remains exactly where he was. And, Brown is letting it be known that he would never "waver or walk away" from his post.

In an extraordinary 24 hours that left political corpses littered across ­Westminster, Brown restored a degree of his authority when no other cabinet ­minister followed James Purnell by quitting in protest, and two critical cabinet figures – David Miliband and John Hutton – decided to shore up Brown's position rather than join a potential rebellion.

The prime minister, despite being unable to complete the kind of cabinet reshuffle he had wanted, was still defiant, saying: "I will get on with the job. I have faith in doing my duty ... I believe in never walking away in difficult times."

Labour rebels were regrouping tonight to mount a fresh assault on his leadership over the weekend in the wake of what are expected to be even worse ­European parliament election results, due to be announced on Sunday night. They were still maintaining that they could ­collect 70-80 signatures on a letter asking the prime minister to step down.

Leading leftwing MPs were planning to hold talks over the weekend with supporters of Alan Johnson, the man most likely to succeed Brown, to see if they can agree a clearer policy agenda, insisting they would not be frogmarched into an empty coronation of a new leader based around personality. "We are not a cheap date," said one.

So, they plan to start again once the European election results come in. And, they are hysterically claiming that they are not "a cheap date".

They are actually delusional, imagining that the replacement of Brown will somehow, magically, transform Labour's position.

The Blairites are a despicable bunch, interested in power over all else, they are certainly not Labour politicians in the way that I think of Labour politicians. They are blatant careerists, and what they are concerned about at the moment is not the British working class or the advancement of the poor, but their own necks.

And their current actions are destroying the Labour party, not saving it.

No 10 was throughout the day warning Labour backbenchers that if they forced Brown from office, a new prime minister would not withstand the demands to hold a near instant general election that would lead to a Labour wipeout.

No 10 argued Labour's chances of emerging as a functioning party from this crisis depended on limping through the autumn under Brown's leadership in the belief that the economy would recover.

It was also said that some of the ministers with the most controversial expenses claims, details of which are still to emerge, have now left the cabinet, so making it easier to restore Labour's tarnished image. Speaking at Downing Street, Brown said the political crisis, fuelled by the Westminster expenses scandal, was "a test of everyone's nerve – mine, the government's, the country's".

I happen to think that No 10's assessment is the correct one. A new leader will only lead to an election that Labour will lose. There is a full year before the party has to go to the polls. The only real hope is that the economy will recover and that Labour can turn this thing around.

It's a scant hope, but it's better than the suicidal plan of the Blairites.

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