Saturday, February 03, 2007

Matthew Parris Spot On Again

Here's an excerpt from Matthew Parris' article in today's Times. I think he is absolutely on the money in terms of what Brown should do to bring the Blair "presidency" to an end. I also entirely agree with his analysis that Brown is not a shoo in for Labour leader.

Mr Brown tells himself that he dare not raise a hand against his leader because then he would inherit a sour and cantankerous party. But he will already. Does he not know that the Blairites detest him, that few of them expect him to do well and some of them actively want him to mess things up? These, then, are the two reasons why Mr Brown’s passivity is rotting his inheritance. But there’s a third argument for action. I still believe — in fact my belief is growing — that 10 Downing Street may never be his inheritance. I am not quitting that small band of commentators who (though we have been forced to admit that a Brown premiership is the likelihood) hold stubbornly to our hunch that it is not in the bag.

Like David Davis’s supposed inheritance of the Tory leadership, it could crumble so fast once it began to slip. An overvalued stock, Mr Brown’s crown is a prophecy that most people buy because most other people are buying it. I know of few who — were the bottom to fall out of the Brown market — would not be saying “I always did have my doubts”. Even now, few are confident he can win the next election. So why make him leader? To my disappointment, Alan Johnson seems to have lowered his sights. John Reid is not having a good year. But if David Miliband were to step forward then (Mary Ann Sieghart is right) he would get a positive response not only from the press but from many of his contemporaries. There would be a sense of relief. All at once, people would be asking: “Why does it have to be Brown, anyway?” The Tories, whose picador-attacks on the Chancellor are working well for them and who are looking forward to the matador stuff later, would be in panic: their weaponry and leadership is not designed for a fight with someone like Mr Miliband.

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