Changing leaders?

People keep asking me who I want as the new PM. They often say “Which potential Labour leader do the Conservatives fear?”, or suggest we are out to keep Gordon Brown for party advantage.

Conservatives are united. We want David Cameron as the next PM. Having some interim Labour PM will not make much difference, as the opinion polls show. Can we get what we want? Not this year, as Gordon Brown is unlikely to give in to the popular pressure to call an election. Nor are a significant number of Labour MPs in the midst of their party’s electoral meltdown likely to vote in the Commons for an early general election against the advice of their leadership. I suppose if Labour swapped leaders a caretaker leader might make a few changes to the worst problems and go for an earlier election. That too is not in the Conservatives gift.

Just as with the Speaker, the issue of the leadership of our country rests with the large majority of Labour MPs in the Commons. People today forget they voted in 355 Labour MPs and the Speaker, with only 197 Conservatives in May 2005. There are 640 MPs in total, leaving out the Sinn Fein members. Labour should have no problem gaining a majority to struggle on.

So what will Labour do? One possible scenario is:

1. They will all vote against an early election.
2. Some will sign the round robin email telling the PM he should go
3. Attempts to unite around a single candidate like Alan Johnson will be met with threats from Brownites to put up a candidate against him, making the whole process in prospect much longer and messier.
4. Mr Brown will realise he has to keep his Chancellor, and confirm Mr Darling in his job. Mr Balls will be given some other promotion, maybe to Home Secretary.
5. Mr David Miliband has already confirmed his wish to keep his job as Foreign Secretary, and will be allowed to continue there.
6. The General Election will be in a year’s time.

A second possible scenario is Gordon Brown goes for broke. He continues with the plan to put Ed Balls in as Chancellor and Peter Mandelson in as Foreign Secretary. In the process he could trigger the loss of Mr Darling and even David Miliband. There could then be more rolling resignations or refusals to serve as the reshuffle continues. Trying to be tough could look strong if he called his critics bluff successfully, but could backfire spectacularly if the other Ministers have had enough.

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7 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Mr Balls looks just like Nye Bevan, so he obviously has everything that it takes. After his magnificent success at running everyone under the age of 20’s life for them (SATs? Baby P?), I am sure he will be a real wow as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
    Here is a quotation from Wikipedia to prove the point.
    “In 1994, in a speech written for Gordon Brown to give to an economics conference, he used the phrase “post neoclassical endogenous growth theory”,[2] which was picked up on and gleefully recounted later by Michael Heseltine, who coined the humorous quip: “There you have it! The final proof. Labour’s brand new, shining, modernists’ economic dream. But it’s not Brown’s – it’s Balls”.[3]”

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The public has had enough of Brown and his rotten government. I am sick of hearing sycophantic Labour MPs saying (lying) about how Brown is at the top of his game and puts the needs of the country above those of his party and himself. It seems to me that nothing could be further from the truth. The man has been a disaster and not just as Prime Minister. We want and urgently need a general election.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    As said yesterday, I think Mr Brown will try and soldier on, even if it means putting misfits in his cabinet.

    Reason:
    The way he works it would seem every one is under intense instruction and direction, so it matters little if they are fully competent or not.
    They do as they are told FULL STOP.

    Most seem only to be there to shield Mr Brown and take the flack when it all goes wrong. Then when the going gets too hot for Mr Brown, you blame them, and put in another Patsy.

    Who really believes that Alistair Darling is in charge of the Country’s finances.

    Who are the experts lining up waiting in the wings for the great offices of State, who has actual working experience of the departments in Question.
    Answer.
    Not many left in the Labour Party.

    We will be left with an unelected Prime Minister, probably elevating an unelected Lord Mandleson to the Foreign Office.

    If it happens we will have the two unelected buddies in control of everything. Mr Brown at home, Lord Mandleson abroad.

    Some MP’s think another candidate for PM can be shoe horned in without an Election if Mr Brown is dumped, that is more than one step too far.

    Labour are reaping the rewards of not having a challenger to Mr Brown 2 years ago, as he thinks he is invincable.

    As I blogged before earlier this week, any change of Prime Minister for any reason, should require a General Election.

    How sad that Frank Field has been deliberately sidelined for 12 years, just shows how far Labour has sunk.

    Blair said think the unthinkable, yes they did, and we got Brown.

  4. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    “People today forget they voted in 355 Labour MPs and the Speaker, with only 197 Conservatives in May 2005.”

    As Rousseau famously put it:

    “The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament; as soon as the members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people makes such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it.”

    Interestingly, the Conservative Party’s “Democracy Taskforce” did not address this fundamental problem.

  5. DBC Reed
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    One reason adduced for Cabinet resignations is that those involved are unreconstructed Blairites.But what does Blairism stand for? Is it merely a neo-Jacobite affectation of loyalty to the King over the water?
    Blair did n’t really do anything domestically while PM: shut out by Brown from any real decisions Blair was left
    ,like many a youthful ne’er do well with time on his hands, to go round picking quarrels.He managed to get into five wars- a record .You can’t take that away from him!
    The Blairites sound like the Hubert Laneites which the other more simpatico Brown had to deal with: always sure of their own superiority, indefinably of a different class, but united by nothing beyond simple opposition .

  6. figurewizard
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    As an issue the scandal of MP’s expenses is gradually being superceded by a rising demand of the people at large for an early general election. Those Labour members who have been exposed as having had their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket are already suffering villification from their constituents. If Labour members as a whole persist in denying us that election however then they will all soon be suffering the same sort of villification and it won’t stop until we get one.

    Politics in this country has changed – for the better.

  7. Acorn
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It is times like these where we have to be thankful that we have a few Civil Servants that actually know how to run the country. The twenty seven or so, who run the major departments of state.

    Imagine if we elected the Prime Minister and he appointed Secretaries of State from the talent of the whole nation; one for each First Permanent Secretary. (Not necessarily a Suralan Sugar). Perhaps they could also divvy up between them, all the current non-ministerial departments that seem to drift further and further away from day to day political oversight. Include Agencies and Quangos in that.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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