Earlier this year I wrote a piece previewing how Gordon Brown might turn out as Prime Minister. One issue I picked up on was just how long-running and deeply rooted in the Labour Party is the internal fighting and bickering around Gordon Brown himself:
This dates much further back than Blair announcing he would not fight another election. As Philip Gould has recounted, it even goes back before the 1992 general election:
“The whole thing was so debilitating because every time Gordon appeared on TV, someone in John [Smith]’s camp would say, ‘Look, it’s another bid for the leadership’, Patricia [Hewitt] remembers.”
Someone I can’t quite see fifteen plus years of squabbling stop overnight at the leadership election.
And lo … it has come to pass with already there being a series of accusations of Blairites trying to undermine Brown. The latest comes in today’s Sunday Times:
Sources close to the prime minister reportedly accused Blair allies of trying to use Seldon’s book as a “crude attempt” to undermine the government.
Some things never change!
Last night in my largest local pub a packed-in crowd of about 200 watched the Rugby final. This is a mixed community, 2 miles from the centre of a city with 2 universities. Its an area of largely late Victorian and Edwardian 2 storey terraced houses, plus some between the wars stuff, some extended with loft conversions, some converted into flats, significant numbers in multiple occupation with singles: students and working people. All age groups were represented in the pub. When Brown’s face in the crowd of spectators was shown, the entire audience booed. There is a message for the LDs: you need a leader who is convincing, and you have 2 years to make an impression. Huhne perhaps? (Lynne, you would have qualified.)