Is John Reid preparing to challenge?

Is John Reid preparing to challenge?

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    What do we make of his warning on the dangers of ditching NuLab?

As the chart shows there’s been a lot of movement in the John Reid Labour leadership price following his speech yesterday which is being seen widely as preparation for a bid. The furious attacks on the Home Secretary that his comments have produced are a good measure of the jumpiness of the Brown camp.

Under the headline “Party anger at Reid for stirring up artificial conflict” the Guardian reports that the Home Secretary is being accused of “hijacking a party event for personal advancement”.

But are the Chancellor’s supporters protesting too much?
For as the blogger with the most insight on Labour matters, Paul Linford, writes if you take Reid’s speech at face value, “he appears to be saying not only that Gordon is New Labour to the core, but that attempts by the Conservatives to portray him otherwise are doomed to failure.”

Linford goes on: “If the Brownites genuinely believe Dr Reid is out to get their man, they should know better than to rise to his bait by putting the worst possible construction on everything. Far better, surely, to simply throw the ball back into Reid’s court by agreeing with everything he says and welcoming his very generous comments about the Chancellor’s record?

So where does this leave the betting? This race would have a completely different look if there was contest. There would be massive coverage, debates and polls and this might just be dangerous for Gordon. Reid or whoever would get a big profile boost and my guess is that the polls would not necessarily go with Gordon.

Although I remain to be convinced that he can be beaten I would not be tempted to bet on the Chancellor even at today’s slightly higher price of 0.22/1. I would not lay him at that level either.

Labour desperately wants a winner as its next leader and poor poll ratings could be the one thing that could still cause an upset.

Mike Smithson

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