Labour old guard attacks Brown’s late coalition bid

 The ultimate act of statesmanship or a con trick?  Gordon Brown’s bold stroke  of self sacrifice shows signs of  backfiring.  Conservative rage is natural but  Labour condemnation  is something else.

Bad for the country, disastrous for the party and disastrous for Gordon actually. I can’t think of anything more likely to further enrage the electorate if they think the minor parties are cocking a snook at them. 76%voted against PR. We would face their animosity if we made  the fulcrum of an issue that was never put to them”

Electoral reform was in the Labour and Lib Dem manifestos, actually. Nevertheless John Reid’s blistering attack on the Brown strategy revives the old Blairite Brown split at the worst possible time. Equally divisive, says the former Scotland and NI Secretary ( now chairman of Celtic) is reliance on Nats and the NI MPs who are fighting cuts in the block grant. Reid is backed by the ultra loyal veteran David Blunkett. Bioth of them clashed with Brown throughout their careers but this attack rises far above the personal.  

Brown’s knew his stroke was bound to stoke Conservative fury. But his wrecking strategy  is  spreading from the Conservatives to his own side.  The only consolation is that all three party leaders are facing mounting criticism, as nerves are stretched .  Anger and division  is threatening to turn what was a disciplined path to a new government into a full-blown political crisis.

 An amazing example of how Brown’s move is splitting opinion came when Adam Boulton, the normally balanced political editor of Sky News almost came to blows with the spinmeister Alistair Campbell

Why not go quietly? Are you saying the voter want four more months of Gordon Brown?

Adam, you’re obviously upset

“I’m fed up you telling me what I think.. You totally unelected plotted this..”

Calm down Adam, calm down

Watch the riveting encounter on YouTube

  • Pete Baker


    “but this attack rises far above the personal.”

    Does it? Are Reid and Blunkett actually against PR? Have any sitting MPs publicly opposed Brown’s move?

    But Brown’s right.

    It’s a parliamentary system, not a presidential one.

    Whoever can secure sufficient support in the Commons can form the next government.

    The Conservatives don’t have that support yet. They might try to form a minority government but, at present, it would be unlikely to pass the first vote of confidence.

    If Labour and the Lib Dems, et al, can secure the required votes…

    Them’s the rules.

    Oh, and Alistair was at his provocative best on Sky News.

  • VI Lurgan

    Bolton clearly loses it. Very funny.

    I believe this is a very clever, if last ditched, move by Labour to put pressure on Clegg into Lib-Lab alliance. Lib Dems activists would clearly prefer Labour to Tories even if Clegg doesn’t. However from a UK interest position, a Lib-Con coalition is clearly the most stable and one benefit would be that it would keep our edjits outsideany decision-making given their track record at Stormont.

  • Mrazik

    Well, if he does pull it off it will be very interesting watching Brown’s successor quickly having to digest the shit sandwich (aka “the economy”) so carefully prepared by his (or hers) predecessor. Perhaps Reid is on to something for a party badly in need of space for a makeover…

  • Pete Baker

    I see Diane Abbott has publicly opposed the move.

    No one doubts that, having lost the election, Brown would have stepped down anyway – certainly in time for the next one. But the Blairites could not wait. They believe that the quicker Brown was forced out, the easier it would be to install David Miliband. And although they have not been able to achieve an actual coronation, by insisting on truncating the process the right believes that it will be that much easier to railroad the party into accepting Miliband.

    It is personal then.

  • Surely the two competing scenarios are;

    Gordon Bown hangs on in lib lab pact, new leadership process heavily influenced by incumbent leadership. Favours Ed Balls and Unite

    Lib -Tory pact, Brown resigns immediately, new leadership process not arm twisted by status quo. Favours David Milliband.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Is there a poorer political commentator doing the rounds than the boul Diane?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    No sooner may one unwieldy political name UCUNF be going out through the swing door of Ulster politics that another even more unwieldy one ULSDLPDUPAPF Ulster-Labour-SocialDemocraticLabourParty-DemocraticUnionistParty-AllianceParty-Front may be entering.

  • VI Lurgan


    Scenario is that what ever decision is reached within next few days, another election within 12 months because it won’t last. Brits have no comprehension of how a coalition works in Westminister. Result – further slippage in public confidence in politics

  • Khalekan

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of Gordon’s actions today, I wouldn’t read too much into Reid’s comments.

    He hates Gordon more than he hates the Tories.

  • DoctorWho

    “Adam Boulton, the normally balanced political editor of Sky News”

    Oh please, come on. Boulton may have seem balanced recently because he and his fellow Tory lickspittles at Sky where sure they where getting a majority a few weeks ago.

    Boulton showed a mental imbalance in that spat with Campbell. It´s about time the regulator had a good go at Sky news coverage, it´s worse than Fox News.

  • Khalekan

    He tried to stitch Clegg up in the second debate, the one on Sky, when he brought up the dirty trick reporting from the Tory press that morning.

  • The Youtube link links me too a Guardian article, not a youtube video.

  • That’s the point. To have a new labour leader bedded in before next election.

    If Tory-Lib pact then labour well placed under new leader to take advantage of the slash and burn coming up.

    If lab-lib then return to electorate with fresh face who has already had baptism of fire.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Tories still slight favourites to bed the Libs but Lab-Lib now 6/5 and having listened to PaddyPantsdown on Radio 4 minority Lab-Lib liaison surely looks the most likley now.

  • bigchiefally

    It cant possibly be as bad as Fox News. Fox makes the Daily Mail look objective.

  • John East Belfast

    I must admit I didnt realise the degree of animosity from Scottish Labour to the SNP until I started seeing these discussions – they really cant abide one another

  • John Reid always got democracy backwards. When people were campaigning to lower the voting age to 16, he brought in all the political parties to try and persuade us to oppose increasing the mandate.

    I went along with the Green Party delegation. On the slightest suggestion that Ministers might serve all the people, he blew up.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Yes, and it may well mean that a Lib-Tory government will be formed because the Labour Party hate the SNP more than the Libdems hate the Tories – I would never have guessed that.

  • Brian Walker

    “Are Reid and Blunkett actually against PR? Have any sitting MPs publicly opposed Brown’s move?”
    Yes and yes Pete– as you’ve probably heard by now.