Friday, June 22, 2007

Another Rebuff for Gordon Brown

I should like to make it clear that I too would turn down a position in Gordon Brown's government. Just in case he was about to ask... The way he's going, it's only a matter of time!

If I were a Labour MP I would view this courting of known political opponents with complete horror. The only message it sends out is that he has a very low opinion of most of his colleagues in the House of Commons. Lord Stevens doesn't have a socialist bone in his body so I am not surprised he too has rebuffed Brown. But the news tonight that Lord Goldsmith will be standing down next week (he was unlikely to survive anyway) opens up yet another place round the Cabinet table. Let's look at how many new people are likely to join the Cabinet table next Thursday.

Home Secretary: John Reid - Going
Foreign Secretary: Margaret Beckett - Possibly going
DEFRA: David Miliband - Promotion
Attorney General - Lord Goldsmith - Going
Justice - Lord Falconer - Almost certainly going
Health - Patricia Hewitt - Almost certainly going
Education - Alan Johnson - Staying put
Trade - Alistair Darling - Promotion
Chief Secretary - Stephen Timms - Promotion
Communities - Ruth Kelly - Unclear
DFID - Hilary Benn - Promotion
Leader of the House - Jack Straw - Promotion
Labour Party Chairman - Hazel Blears - Move
Duchy of Lancaster - Hilary Armstrong - Going
Leader of the Lords - Baroness Amost - Probably Going
Work & Pensions - John Hutton - Unclear
Defence - Des Browne - Probably Going
Chief Whip - Jacqui Smith - Promotion
Wales & N Ireland - Peter Hain - Looks to be at risk
DCMS - TessaJowell
Transport - Douglas Alexander - Promotion

The clear message here is that there will be very few people staying put in their current jobs, which may ironically save Ruth Kelly and Des Browne. Altogether there are likely to be at least eight new members of the Cabinet. Tomorrow I will be looking at the likely runners and riders.


Ted Foan said...

Tessa Jowell - HM Ambassador to Italy (so she can be closer to her money?)

Anonymous said...


I is available

Robert Mugabe

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale is a useless twat

Anonymous said...

Fair points - but isn't Johnson now almost a shoo-in for the deputy leadership ? I have no inside knowledge - merely that the betting reflects a strong showing for him.

Tapestry said...

Harriet Harman will be deputy if Gordon rigs the election to get the one he wants. Johnson might pose a threat to his tiny ego.

The Brown regime is hardly begun but already it's high farce. Inviting all and sundry to join up, and all refusing him.
Ashdown. Sugar. Stevens. and those are only the ones we know about.

Why would anyone want to be in a government which has exported all its powers to the EEYEW anyway?

Tony likes posturing and Gordon likes pretending too. But most people don't want to be made into complete prats carrying the can for a failing society when they have no power to do anything about it. It's a game of charades...or musical chairs when there are more chairs than players.

It's eeeyewceless!

SimonW said...

Douglas Alexander is Transport Secretary not Alistair Darling

barry monk said...

Next week Gordon Brown takes over as Prime Minister, and many of us will be fascinated to see who takes over from Patsy Hewitt at health. He has already said that it will be his number one domestic priority, which is hardly surprising given the mess that Patsy, Reid and Milburn have created in the last five years.

Brown is obviously not terribly impressed by the talent he has available in his own party, as judged by the stories of his offering a number of posts to prominent Lib-Dem peers (such as Paddy Ashdown and Lord Carlile); according to press reports he was also keen to offer the health portfolio to the Lib-Dem peeress Rabbi Julia Neuberger. She is already the Lib-Dem health spoke(wo)man in the Lords, has been the Chairman of an NHS Trust and ran the King's Fund, so she clearly knows something about the subject.

I suspect that Gordon also saw another virtue, namely that as a rabbi she clearly understands the power of prayer, and given the present state of the NHS, that may be a commodity we will all be needing.

Anonymous said...

"The Brown regime is hardly begun but already it's high farce."

More so if he PROMOTES Douglas Alexander for losing Labour its first election in Scotland for 50 years and being particularly, if not solely, responsible for the ballot fiasco.

One has to ask what Douglas has to do to get sacked?

Anonymous said...

GB managed to slither out of most of the questions put to him on "Newsnight" tonight.

I notice that the "flagship" current affairs programme had a panel of "distinguished" journalists, which did not include their attack-dog new Political Editor, Michael Crick. Instead the insipid Martha Kearney came in to anchor the event.

I wonder if there was a "No Crick" rider to Gordo's appearance tonight?

Given our host's recent comments, I am beginning to wonder.

Anonymous said...

!! I spoke to the AG's office this afternoon (about 3pm) and they said he dodged questions about his future from the media - they certainly won't have expected this!

Shame. Peter's not done a bad job. Will be a few things in the media on Monday on the latest thing he's done.

Will Patricia Scotland be the next AG then? Some suggestion she might not be up to it. Got to be a better choice than HH though!

Ted Foan said...

Barry Monk said (11.20pm):

"....many of us will be fascinated to see who takes over from Patsy Hewitt at health will be his number one domestic priority, which is hardly surprising given the mess that Patsy, Reid and Milburn have created in the last five years."

Don't mean to be pedantic but Milburn was SoS for Health in 2000 (and a Health Minister before that) when the NHS Plan was conceived (ie more than 5 years ago) and before that we had the lamentable Frank Dobson (who he?).

My point? Have there been only four of the twats that have cocked up the NHS? It feels like a lot more.

What's happened to 2020 vision? Have they lost sight (pun intended) of their aim to foil Brown? Or are they just waiting until next Wednesday to launch their latest campaign? After all they aren't being invited back into the Big (Clunking Fist's) Tent so they can micturate on the rest of us, are they?

David Lindsay said...

I never thought that anyone could hate the Labour Party even more than Tony Blair does. But clearly, Gordon Brown manages to do this remarkable thing. Which is to say that he hates the Labour Party more than anyone else who has ever lived.

A decade or so ago, there was a fashion for saying that if Blair had indicated his intention to do this, that or the other, then he would never have won the Labour Leadership. None of these claims was ever credible. By contrast, imagine if Brown had said that he was going to offer Ministerial office to the Lib Dems. Is it conceivable that he would even have made it onto the ballot at all, never mind that he might atually have won, and that unopposed?

Based on his latest television interview, Brown is still adamant that he is going to have non-Labour Ministers. Since they cannot now be Lib Dems, then they must be Tories. So any Labour Party member appointed to office by Brown should know himself or herself to be, and should be reminded constantly of his or her being, at best the third choice, after both the Lib Dem whom Gordon really wanted and the Tory for whom he would have been willing to settle.

Well might we all wonder what self-respecting person would accept office under those circumstances. None, by definition, I submit: anyone who so accepts manifests an utter lack of self-respect, and richly deserves to have this pointed out at every opportunity. But then, well might we all wonder how a man who thought Paddy Ashdown Cabinet material could ever become Prime Minister in the first place. Of course, his error was to offer the erstwhile Emperor of Bosnia something insufficiently grand.

As to who will now become Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I am thinking of opening a book, and of offering even odds on David Trimble, with an outside bet on Brian Mawhinney, of whom younger readers will never have heard. In the meantime, everyone reading this who is not a member of the Labour Party should submit a Letter of Application and a CV via the "Get In Touch" page at

But remember, no Labour Party member need apply: despite what are now this position's very light duties (the current occupant is actually part-time), your Leader-To-Be regards each and every one of you, without any exception whatever, as utterly unfit.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least Brown appears to be standing up for Britain in another rebuff to Blair's policy of acting as if Britain faced extinc5tion in the sudden event of a stiffening of backbone:
"Go back and stand up to the French, Brown orders Blair" says today's Guardian.

Alan Douglas said...

Deja Vu - After Blair's famous photo with his 100 or so "babes" in 1997, I noted that he trawled his old contacts book to see whom he could turn into a peer AND a minister, rather than use any of the trash on the actual Labour benches.

Even then, look at the trash he was forced to use - he must have a very slim contacts book !

GB on the other hand does not even have old contacts.

Alan Douglas

Chris Paul said...

I will whisper in Gordon's ear on your behalf Iain, tomorrow. Though unlike the refusals so far he has no reason to want to nobble you now does he? Better to keep you in business - pissing on other people's chips - rather than inside his big tent I'd have thought. He may even be wishing for you to be gifted a winnable seat. But I'll whisper in his ear.

Anonymous said...

One thing that has emerged from this business is that GB is certainly not Old Labour which was totally tribal in outlook.But given that he distrusts the Blairites,he has very few left to choose from.It is a wonderful way to announce in public that "my backbenchers are useless".

Anonymous said...

perhaps the limpdums were to be given health,defence and everything else thats falling apart so later they can be sacked for incompetence with a big cheesy grin.

Anonymous said...

He'll need a few more Scots to further consolidate their self serving hegemony in the government and ABE - anyone but the English majority.

Ben Bow said...

Are you able to influence Mr Gordon Browne into considering, in some permanent capacity, Lord Ramsbotham for the Justice Ministry; and Viscount Slim for the Defence Ministry? The country needs such men to take us forward in two fields where ' insecure amateurs ' blunder, talk rubbish, and are clearly disorganised and cannot get a grip!
< If any mourn us in Parliament, say
We died because the MP's were on holiday.>
[ adapted from Rudyard Kipling ]

This epitaph applies equally to soldiers, prisoners, and the public.

hatfield girl said...

The Bogey Man is the embodiment of the Labour party. He is well able to run everything himself, as well. So all he needs is a little reach-out in areas that don't matter.

wonkotsane said...

They're all a shower of shits anyway, who gets what job is irrelevant in terms of competency. The only interest I have in who gets what job is how many of Liebour's Scottish MPs will get cabinet positions and how many will be in English ministries like Transport, DTI, DEFRA, etc. Will it be more than with Bliar?

2br02b said...

I think you have all missed the real point.

Brown offered cabinet jobs to LibDems because whether they accepted or not, the Labour Party would be winner.

If the LibDems leader (or one senior LibDem, say Paddy Ashdown) had agreed, this would almost certainly split them and strengthen the Labour position, as I am sure the idea of a "government of all the talents" would appeal to many voters of all parties or none who are fed up up with what they see a sterile party slanging-match in the Commons. The Tories, by declining any such blandishments, would stand out as the one major party that cannot or will not share power.

Result: Labour + ; Libdem +/- ; Tories -

If the LibDems declined the offers, the outcome would be that Labour was left looking like the only major party prepared to reach out beyond party boundaries to give the country the best people, while not only would the Tories but also the LibDems would look like they cannot or will not share power. Also, he will have shot the Tory fox, that "A vote for the LibDems is a vote for Labour", so there would be no takers far that one any more; our hopes for a swing back to us in former Tory seats now held by the LibDems would be greatly reduced.

Result: Labour ++ ; Libdem +/- ; Tories --

In other words, he thought, "Tails I win, heads they loose."

You don't get to be the dominant force in Scottish student politics while still in your teens by being anything else that extremely politically cunning.

Underestimate your enemy at your peril.

Anonymous said...

I know Ian thinks a lot of Miliband but I must admit I think he is a Green cliche machine.
Brown has strong party reasons to promote him (he is popular & didn't stand against him) but personal reasons not to(he is popular in the party & only didn't satand when he saw he had no chance).

I think Brown is not enthused by "environmentalism" (he sidelined Sir Nicholas Stern & raised airport taxes as little as politically acceptable) & I doubt if Miliband woulld think much of the Barker Report (which said the solution to the housing crisis was building houses( which Brown sponsored.

Whether Miliband stays or moves up, down or sideways will say a lot about both Brown's intentions & power.