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Saturday, February 17, 2007

First amongst equals

The Guardian speculates on a possible looming challenge by David Miliband for the Labour Party leadership, arguing that many MPs are uneasy at the prospect of a Gordon Brown accession. Although Martin Kettle has largely based his piece on rumour, speculation and gossip he nevertheless paints a fascinating scenario. I was quite taken by this section:

If it is true, as several MPs have already estimated to me this year, that no more than 70 of Labour's 352 MPs are enthusiastic - as opposed to fatalistic - about Brown as the next leader, is that in itself not also extraordinary? Two senior Labour figures, admittedly critics of the chancellor, have separately suggested to me that as many as 180 Labour MPs are undecided about whom to vote for in the event of a credible senior challenge. Given that there has never been any sign of such a challenge, this is an exceptional level of doubt - if true.

There is a case of course for arguing that all of this background rumbling against the Chancellor is largely being stirred up by journalists looking for a story. After all there is nothing much that is newsworthy in Gordon Brown just walking into the job with little or no opposition. However, it is clear that lines are being fed to the press and journalists are being pointed at interesting story angles. Whether it all amounts to anything we will have to see.

Which country thinks of itself as the democratic model that other countries should emulate yet doesn't itself have an election system for its Upper House and has no election system that directly elects the PM?
It seems highly likely there is some truth to this story. The real question is whether any of those Labour MPs have the guts to do anything about it?!
I loved this from the Guardian about David Miliband:

David Miliband's father Ralph was one of the foremost Marxist theorists of the twentieth century. The joke among today's left-wingers goes like this: Ralph Miliband argued that the Labour Party would never do anything for the working class; his son is going to prove it.
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