Could he still be a contender if the conditions were right?
An interesting piece on the Telegraph blog this afternoon went into the suggestion that the man behind the current moves within the Labour party is John Reid.
I’ve had his name in the back of my mind since this comment by the Telegraph’s astute Scottish political expert, Alan Cochrane, on the paper’s blog three months ago.
Cochrane observed: “…But with Charles Clarke, David Blunkett or John Reid all absenting themselves from the battlefield who is there to ring the alarm bells? None seems at all keen to re-enter the fray under Gordon Brown’s leadership..However, I should point out that the last-named, whose enmity for the Prime Minister knows no bounds but is lost in the mists of Scottish Labour blood-feuds, has still not announced formally that he’ll not be standing at the next general election..Currently revelling in his chairmanship of Celtic Football Club, could it be that Dr Reid is biding his time over saying farewell to politics just in case something should turn up..Apart from anything else, there’s never been a better Today programme ‘attack dog’ and Labour MPs didn’t complain about his Scottish accent. Perhaps they knew better.”
Well the latest piece, by Iain Martin, continues the theme.
He writes: “…Remember, for two years (May 2005 until June 2007) his PPS was Siobhain McDonagh, the MP whose intervention on Friday triggered this latest attempted coup. Perhaps that is just a co-incidence, but I suspect that Reid is watching, waiting and trying to work out whether his hand is strong enough for a serious power play..In theory he is stepping down from the Commons at the next election, but the way is still open for him to renounce that decision if he fancied a run for Labour leader. I suspect that if he was to intervene it would not be as a stalking horse for anyone else – he’s too ambitious and certain he could do the job for that.”
Who knows what’s going on but I’ve had a couple of little flutters on Reid – at 50/1 and 20/1. The circumstances could now be right for him to move.
I rate Reid highly as a big hitter and I don’t think life would be as easy for Cameron and his party if the other prominent figure in Scottish Labour politics got the job.