13 September 2008

Leadership Saturday: It's not easy being Brown either

Gordon Brown has received another blow to his Leadership of the Labour Party, with a Government Whip, Siobhain McDonagh, has demanded that nomination papers for the Leadership be sent out. McDonagh has been sacked, and MPs have been on TV to rubbish her, saying she never supported Gordon Brown in the first place.

This begs the question, what was Brown thinking, giving her a ministerial post at all? He was supported by 313 MPs and McDonagh wasn't one of them. She'd been a loyal Blairite for ten years and hadn't got any meaningful post, so at a time when Brown didn't need to be generous. Blair clearly thought that her loyalty outstripped her ability, so passed her over: why did Brown go another way?

And indeed, the block of Brown supporters appears to have been divided into two groups: the first is comprised of genuine supporters; the second is the sycophants' block, who saw which way the wind was blowing and sucked up to Gordon. Doubtless they are regretting that decision now, but it's too late. But the point is this: McDonagh was never part of the first group and didn't have the political nous to join the second when Brown was on the up. Worse still, Brown was dumb enough to give her a job despite her lack of either loyalty or good judgment. Now, you could argue that it's better to have some people in the tent pissing out than out of the tent pissing in, but she's caused far more damge by attacking Brown from a Ministerial posiiton than she ever could have as a random backbencher.

Meanwhile, Brown's position has been made worse by similar calls for nomination papers from Party Vice-Chair Joan Ryan and George Howarth, an ex-Minister who's been in elected politics since 1971 and in Parliament since 1986. In short, people who you don't want to annoy.

But I have no sympathy for them. Why? They signed Brown's nomination form last year. If there really needed to be a challenge, and a discussion on the way forward, why didn't they have the guts to call for one when there was an actual vacancy? Why have they heaped more trouble on their Leader now, when he has enough on his plate? They're jumping ship, quite simply. They had their chance for an election, when an alternative candidate would have required the support of one eighth of the Parliamentary Labour Party, rather than the fifth required now.

They should have thought twice about Gordon Brown's leadership before they joined the Sycophants' Block last year.


Anonymous said...

I am not generally impressed by Lamont - but thought her questioning within the committee on the Trumpton business (I exclude the written questions which largely replicated other queries) was informed, sensible, and perceptive. She may have rather more depth than I'd given her credit for previously.

However, the choice between Butler, and Blakey from On the BUses ("I 'ate you Butler") did not do the Labour party any favours. Nor will the election of the new leader in my view: Kerr was for me the best of the bunch, and the one that could position himself most usefully. To choose the mastermind behind the budget voting strategy suggests that we'll lack a forensically critical and/or constructive opposition for the next few years.

INcidentally around Falkirk there are various estate agency signs up "Ian Gray For Sale" - I'm surprised no one has used them yet.


Scott @ loveandgarbage said...

Having posted that I see that - as I arrived here via the RSS feed - I commented on the wrong piece. APologies WIll.

Best wishes