Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The BBC catches up...
After the news had been heavily trailed on the internet yesterday, it was good to see the BBC finally catch up with the story that John Reid may well have thrown in the towel when it comes to challenging an apparently unbeatable Gordon Brown. Even Nick Assinder's conclusion (his story on BBC News is here) follows one of the Westminster blogs by suggesting it is now John Hutton's turn to raise the Blairite flag against Brown. In fact, it looks less and less likely that such a thing will happen. And especially once parliament resumes, and Brown starts to exert his undoubted dominance over a cowed parlaimentary party, it does look as if we may be headed for a coronation. There is little in policy terms to divide potential Blairite candidates from Brown, so it boils down to personality, and one of the givens about Brown's personality is that he (a) bears grudges and (b) is ferocious in hounding opponents. Want to stay in government, with a nice salary and ministerial car? Then don't challenge Gordon. And sadly, that's what many seem to be believing.
There is the interesting question of who, in fact, would have the political weight to challenge the Chancellor. Too often, the cabinets of powerful premiers contain ministers who are pygmies - aside from Alan Johnson (possibly over-rated), John Hutton (little known outside Westminster) and John Reid (given up already), who actually is there? An entertaining parlour game for political anoraks.