Will the Birmingham away-day keep Gord in his job?
Well there they are after a summer of apparent discontent and whispering and the cabinet all travel to Birmingham to hold the first meeting outside London for ninety years. Every single one of them joins in by doing outside public events before the meeting itself which receives much more media attention than usual.
And judging by the statements of loyalty and support afterwards it appears that this novel move by Brown has done the trick. How can, for instance, David Miliband now be the centre of a coup given the unwavering support in his TV interviews?
Has Gord once again out-foxed them? The Birmingham
In its report the Telegraph recounts rather sadly that after the public events Brown”…retired inside the International Convention Centre, which was surrounded by superfluous barriers, for no crowds had gathered to try to catch a glimpse of him. The tragedy of this shy and sensitive man is not just that he cannot bear to reveal himself to the outside world, but that the outside world has already lost interest in him.”
The next big outing from Brown will be today at the TUC which isn’t going to be easy given the rumblings on public sector pay. Then at the end of the month there’s the Labour conference in Manchester when, I predict, his standing ovation will be the longest for any Labour leader in living memory. Remember the interminable eight minutes of clapping by Tory delegates after IDS’s conference speech in October 2003 only a few weeks before his MPs knifed him?
Labour, maybe to its great cost, is not like that. I am now even more convinced that Brown is going to survive in the short-term at least. If he does decide to step aside, as I think is quite likely, it will be of his own accord at a time of his choosing.