Can Brown stand up to the emboldened Darling?

Can Brown stand up to the emboldened Darling?

Mail Online

We’re back to more Labour leadership speculation

Oh no” I can hear you groan – not more on Gordon Brown and the Labour leadership. Alas it’s been some time since we did a thread on the subject but with the holidays coming to an end that’s all changing.

The Mail on Sunday is carrying the above story about the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, making a scathing attack in a private meeting on his boss over how to attack the Tories.

The paper notes: “According to sources present, the Chancellor declared: ‘I am trying to talk sense into that man. He just doesn’t get it –going on about “Tory cuts” is not going to make an impact on the electorate…We have to frame the debate in terms of our cuts being better than their cuts. The voters aren’t stupid – they know how bad the economic situation is.’ “

The challenge for Brown is that the failed attempt to replace Darling with Balls at the Treasury in June means that his chancellor has become almost un-sackable. He is in the almost unique position within the Labour leadership of being able to say what he thinks – and this relates directly to his sphere of operation.

For the “Labour investment versus Tory cuts” rhetoric is so central to the way Brown has been operating that it’s hard to see the occupant of Number 10 changing his stance. All this looks a bit difficult if he’s being opposed by Darling. As Margaret Thatcher would no doubt tell you – it gets very dangerous when a PM is totally out of line with the Chancellor over core strategy. Something has to give.

And Darling’s continued occupancy of the job of chancellor is an ever-present reminder of Brown’s perilous political position – something that hasn’t been helped by the latest dreadful polls.

So what’s going to happen? Unless Brown decides to go of his own accord it’s hard to envisage anything other than the party uniting round him at the Brighton conference in four weeks time.

In the Labour leadership betting Ladbrokes has Darling at 50/1 with William Hill offering 66/1. At Victor Chandler you get 40/1 while PaddyPower doesn’t even have him listed.

  • Another poll: The Mail on Sunday is also reporting the results of a poll from the unregistered BPIX whose website has now been “under construction” for nearly four years. It quotes shares of CON 36%: LAB 24%: LD 17% which look decidedly odd. Unless they have not factored out the don’t knows and won’t says the survey is showing a massive 23% for others. Alas being unregistered with the British Polling Council means that we never get to see detailed data from BPIX. The details we do have are tucked away in a long report on Afghanistan.
  • Mike Smithson

    ****On PB2 – Bunco on the Bellweather seats

    ****Morris Dancer with today’s F1 race predictions

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