Should Gordon go for the Deputy job as well?

Should Gordon go for the Deputy job as well?


    If Kinnock did it – why shouldn’t Brown?

This might sound like a completely crazy idea, totally off the wall, but would not there be advantages for Gordon Brown if he followed the example of Neil Kinnock in 1983 and put himself forward for the Deputy’s job as well as the leadership?

The idea of Gordon being deputy to anybody is so alien to how he is perceived that I have no doubt the bucket loads of scorn will be poured on this suggestion.

But Brown is very aware of the history of the Labour movement and he saw what happened in the leadership election after Mrs. Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1983.

The Kinnock announcement 23 years ago that he was going for both jobs jobs took his main challenger, Roy Hattersley, completely by surprise and he felt bound to follow suit. This allowed Kinnock to create the so called “dream ticket” bringing right and left together, and at the same time blunt Hattersley’s USP about the dangers of electing a left winger to succeed Michael Foot.

    Kinnock’s tactic underlined that he was a good party man – someone who would serve in either role. Here was a man apparently prepared to sacrifice his own ambition for the sake of party unity. Brilliant.

Gordon’s biggest weakness, surely, is that his whole demeanour and the actions of his acolytes give the impression that he assumes that the succession is his by right? You can’t imagine him doing the humility bit as he faces the the sections of Labour’s electoral college that will decide his future.

Even though the leadership election is apparently a foregone conclusion those entitled to vote need to be persuaded that their support is not being taken for granted. As David Davis, can vouch, being seen to be a near certainty is not a good thing.

    Our relentless 24/7 media loves surprises and would relish a serious challenge if only because it was a better story. If a Reid/Johnson/Hutton or whoever emerged and suddenly looked serious it would electrify the campaign. The momentum would be against Brown.

If Gordon, alluding to the precedent set by Neil Kinnock, announced that his desire was to serve the party in whatever role he would deal with all these negatives at a stroke. He would also be able to side-step questions about which Deputy he would like.

I cannot see Gordon doing this – but the more I think about it the more it would transform his prospects of getting the job from a near to an almost absolute certainty. If Gordon’s ambition led him to becoming an England football fan, as we saw in June, then why not he surprise everybody by taking this step?

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Mike Smithson

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