The Guardian steps up the pressure with today’s main splash
With just four weeks to go to May 9th – one of the the dates being touted for Tony Blair’s historic exit announcement – the Guardian ratchets up the anti-Brown coronation rhetoric with its front page lead this morning.
Under the headline “Blairite plot to lure Miliband into leadership contest” the paper’s Patrick Wintour reports that MPs would be encouraged to declare their support for the environment secretary on the party website.
The idea would be to demonstrate to Miliiband that he had sufficient backing without him have to state that he is going for the job.
The critical element in the coming election is that any candidate has to have the support of at least 44 of his or her parliamentary colleagues.
What’s interesting is that it is the Guardian that is making a big deal of the idea. In the past fortnight or so most of the pro-Miliiband coverage has been in the Daily Telegraph which probably has a negative impact as far as the party is concerned.
The Guardian has to be taken much more seriously and if this is a foretaste of the next month then it is going to be quite hard for Miliband to resist. The only way the 41 year old can stop the move is for him to make an unequivocal statement that under no circumstances would he challenge Brown – something that thus far he has fallen short of doing.
A lot, of course, now rests on what happens in the May 3rd elections and if Labour does badly – who gets the blame?
If Scotland is lost and a beaming Alex Salmond dominates the bulletins during the May bank holiday weekend then it is hard to see Gordon being given the job without a proper contest.
For when it comes to the power of his attacks on Labour and the ferocity of his attacks on Brown the SNP leader has no equal.
Meanwhile in the betting the amount of money matched on the Betfair exchange alone has now topped the Â£1m mark. Gordon now stands at 0.27/1.
One way of having a punt that Miilband will go for it is on the Spreadfair betting exchange. The market gives 25 points to the eventual winner and 10 to the runner up. At the current price of 5.25 a Â£10 level stake bet would cost you a maximum of Â£52.50. If he runs and comes second you would make Â£47.50. If he gets it your profit would be Â£197.50.