Would his failing eyesight be the reason?
In the early of this morning the poster Diogenes linked to the above story and asked the questions “Is this significant? Is it a potential route to a graceful early retirement?”
I’ve been thinking about it hard for the past few hours and believe that he might be onto something. Certainly it would be a valid reason for him to go and certainly it would explain the very clear change in his whole demeanour since he got back from his longish (for him) summer holiday.
Just read Melissa Kite’s story and ask yourself why is this coming out now? Just recall Brown’s Manchester party conference speech when he was introduced by his wife Sarah and had the real feel of a valedictory.
Just think about the timing. He could announce it in the next few weeks, stay in post while a successor is chosen and the structures to deal with the global crisis are put in place, and he could also watch the opinion poll reversal back in Labour’s direction.
He would go out a hero with his reputation in the Labour movement’s history books intact. He would also not have to go through the gruelling and possibly humiliating experience of leading Labour to defeat in a general election campaign.
It all fits, the reason would be totally valid and would invoke a massive amount of sympathy and understanding. I could see Labour’s poll ratings get very close to the Tories during the “handover” . Would it affect the general election – it just might?
UPDATE: YouGov poll further detail. This is now available here
From what you have seen, do you think Gordon Brown is handling the financial crisis well or badly? BADLY 37% to 29%
Gordon Brown was a successful Chancellor, and he has the experience needed to steer Britain’s economy through this crisis. DISAGREE 47% – 37% AGREE
Gordon Brown mismanaged Britain’s public finances when he was Chancellor, and he will use the crisis as an excuse for raising taxes. AGREE 49% – DISAGREE 34%
Do you think Gordon Brown is doing well or badly as prime minister? BADLY 65% – WELL 31%
Who would you trust more to raise you and your family’s standard of living? Cameron-Osborn 34% – Brown-Darling 25%