Coup at Ten

What sense does it make for Labour to try to pluck a new Prime Minister out of this chaos? Whoever he might be, with a launch like this, he would make Gordon Brown at his worst look like Alexander the Great. A second Prime Minister born without an election would make an early election inevitable – at the worst possible time. It’s a choice between a no brainer or suicide. They might just balk at suicide. Declarations of loyalty have been flooding in, co-ordinated no doubt. At 39 James Purnell is an ambitious right winger with an eye to the – (his) – future. He may also be sincere: his resignation letter packs a telling punch. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more, not less likely. Unusually for one of his generation, Purnell sports sideburns. For a reason I can’t quite explain to myself, that grates with me. It’s a naff gesture of self regard or something. He’s one of those bright meritocrats who talks to mid air rather than to you, as if the idea is more important than the person. Purnell began as Tony Blair’s researcher in opposition and rose through the ranks of think tanks to become head of strategy at the BBC, an idea invented by John Birt. Elected to Parliament in 2001 he had a meteoric rise to the cabinet two years ago. He is one of those people, more common the longer a government lasts, who are promoted for their backroom skills than for their political profile. By quitting at the stroke at 10, he aims to make Brown’s reshuffle impossible and drive the PM out of office by the weekend and himself back inside within a few weeks under a new leader. He had primed the papers in advance; the Guardian and the Times were set and ready to go. The Times profile obviously comes from its subject. The shock tactic may not work. ( James who?) He is acting alone. He’s no Hesletine. Meanwhile Brown moved fast through the night to fill the vacancies. If a new cabinet has been formed by the time you read this, he’s won a vital round, staggering but still on his feet. The longer he leaves it, the greater are the chances of a slide. Miliband is not resigning. What news of Alistair Darling v Ed Balls for Chancellor? If most of the cabinet fall into line it will be difficult for them to eat their words in a few days time, however dreadful the election results. But politicians are infinitely flexible.

  • Dave

    Ah well… what goes around comes around. Brown stuck the knife in Blair’s back, so it’s karma to see all the knife throwers in action, however amateurish their aim at Brown – Blears even managed to stab herself in her own back, so clownish was her attempt. Why did Brown promote so many rats to his cabinet? His judgement looks shot at this point.

    He’s a goner, so it’s just a case of when and how he goes.

  • ben

    This vicious attack on thirty-something-year-olds who sport sideburns is typical sectarian bigotry.

    Help, help, I’m being oppressed. Etc.

  • LURIG

    Firstly Purnell is a Tory in Tories clothing, he always has been. His remarks, comments and policy implementation as Department of Work & Pensions Secretary show that. He is VERY VERY right wing and is out of place in a so called LABOUR party. Secondly Gordon Brown’s tenure as Prime Minister is gone, he is finished and for various reasons.
    The downturn in the world economy has hit Brown like a blunderpuss, very few seen it coming and his previous role as Chancellor has not endered him to the public. In fact this has further set him back as he is seen as being totally implicated in the economic crisis. Then his PR image let’s him down, no fault of his. He is viewed as a dour, humourless man who cannot connect with the public and despite his intellect and capabilities that is very true. His image undercuts his obvious ability.
    Then there is the elephant in the room of English racism against Scotland. Brown is SCOTTISH AND many English voters and Labour MP’s resent this and see it as a flaw with no disrespect to Scottish contributors; that is undenial. In most circumstances most of us would sympathise BUT the Scottish Establishment is getting a dose of it’s own medicine in a mirror image of how it treats and views it’s own IRISH minority. The Scottish look down on the Irish Catholic community in Scotland and always have done in a very sectarian manner. One only has to look at how Glasgow Rangers fans mock, abuse and intimidate Irish Catholic footballers in Scotland. So while I fully sympathise with Gordon Brown I would also add that 99% of the abuse he is getting is down to English anti-Scottish bigotry. I condemn it but would say that Scotland should take it’s own moat out of it’s eye first BEFORE condemning others.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brian Walker,

    “Unusually for one of his generation, Purnell sports sideburns. For a reason I can’t quite explain to myself, that grates with me. It’s a naff gesture of self regard or something.”

    I know, right? When I first saw him I was like “hey, this guy is like, totally not cool. Totally bogus.”

    But dude, it was pretty awesome of you to spot that. You must be like, all smart and stuff. I really look forward to all the rad things you’re gonna say about politics and stuff in the future.

    Some of the people here make me think “yeah, whatever Mr/Mrs I-know-stuff” but I can see that you are King of Keepin It Real.

    Rock on man, you keep the gnarley observations comin.

    Word.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Good news for labour, he had to go as he was a liability, whatever about the merits or otherwise of the means fo his disposal. Hopefully who ever comes in will rattle PoshBoyDC who is becoming increasingly annoying as he rattles on about power to the plebs which nobody takes seriously as he is against electoral reform precisely becuase it would damage the chances of power for himself.

  • loki

    I’ve been saying for weeks that a 2nd unelected PM is really bad news but Labour just aren’t listening;-)
    Can anyone enlighten me as to whtether Labour still has that mad rule that a sitting leader can’t be unseated. A la Tony Blair- they couldn’t get rid of him tiol he chose to go- does that still apply?
    Has anyone heard any results form across the Water?

  • Jan the phrenologist

    James Purnell has a right-wing shaped head and facial features

  • RepublicanStones

    Wilde Rover can we take it from your 06:02 AM that you sport the Elvis ear warmers too?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Jan the phrenologist,

    I’m afraid you have strayed off topic this thread is about sideburns.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brian,

    sidesburns aside.

    re. ” A second Prime Minister born without an election would make an early election inevitable – at the worst possible time”.

    This just looks to me like wishful/Tory thinking – the Labour Party were elected and stay in power until the next election.

    Any jibber jabber about the relationship bewteen the people and the parliament/right to govern is just that political jibber-jabber. The man-in-the-street ie the electorate is concerned about why MPs-in-the-moats expenses scandals and not remotely interested in any self-righteous,self serving esoteric guff about the sanctity of parliament etc. If MPs were worried about the reputation of parliament then they would not have behaved the way they did and both Party leaders would have designed in disgrace.

  • Brian,

    One of the columnists from the Times,Daneil Finkelstein would not agree that it is a “choice between a no brainer and suicide”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/daniel_finkelstein/article6418380.ece

    There is also a precedent (not quite the same as we are talking about the opposition rather than the Government) of a leadership change just before an election. In 1983, Malcolm Fraser was set to win a further term. The opposition leadership changed just as an election was beginning. Bob Hawke took over and won the election by a landslide.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Hawke

    Senior Labour members are almost certainly resigned to losing, no matter whether Brown is replaced or not. What they want is a change of leader to avoid a landslide with a view to reducing the length of time they are in opposition. That is reasonable thinking from a Labour point of view. They are now in a position where they have nothing to lose adopting that Gambit.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It would be fitting if El Gordo resigned and said that as leader of a party that had let down the electorate by allowing his party members to dishonour parliament by their behaviour in relation to expense he felt it was best for the country and parliament for him to go.

    We could then wait on a suitable statement from PoshBoyDC.

    But with standards so low nobody expects party leaders to behave honourably – if they were anywhere else but parliament both of them would have to resign or before the courts.

  • daisy

    “Then there is the elephant in the room of English racism against Scotland”

    Brown has been an ineffective PM. I actually feel sorry for him but I think it’s time to give up. To suggest it’s English racism is stretching it. Do you have any examples of this racism with regard to Brown’s tenure to back up the assertion?

    “BUT the Scottish Establishment is getting a dose of it’s own medicine in a mirror image of how it treats and views it’s own IRISH minority”

    3 posts in on a subject about the UK parliament before MOPEry starts – is that some kind of record?

  • Wilde Rover

    Republican Stones,

    “Wilde Rover can we take it from your 06:02 AM that you sport the Elvis ear warmers too?”

    You might well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment. 😉

  • fin

    speaking of sideburns, where do people get this ‘unelected primeminister’ stuff from, you don’t get to vote for primeminister you get to vote for a party, the party decides who is in the cabinet and who is primeminister.

    Although Labour didn’t have much left to lose in the local elections, they seem to be losing it

  • Reader

    LURIG: So while I fully sympathise with Gordon Brown I would also add that 99% of the abuse he is getting is down to English anti-Scottish bigotry.
    It makes you wonder how he ever got to be Chancellor, or PM, doesn’t it? Also, is there any indication that he is any more popular in Scotland (other than in the RBS)?