Monday, June 30, 2008

The Men in Sharp Suits

Much as I think Labour would be mad to get rid of Gordon Brown, it is becoming clearer how it might happen. It won't be the men in grey suits who do for him, it will be the men in sharp suits - the money men. Donations have all but dried up. The Labour Party is on its financial uppers. No one liked backing someone perceived as a loser. At some point soon the Labour Party financial people will have to tell the PM the game is up. A host of minor donors queued up over the weekend to stick the knife in. Remember who in the case of IDS his position frantically weakened when Tory Party donors withdrew their favours? Well the same thing is happening to Gordon Brown now. Stuart Wheeler has been reincarnated as Bill Kenwright.

The sound of the trade unions licking their lips is already much in evidence, witness today's Guardian front page. They will ride to the Labour Party's rescue, but at a price.

The other trigger for Brown's ignominious departure could be the Glasgow East by election. If the SNP won it (and they have won by elections in working class Glasgow seats before) it would surely spark the death throes of a Gordon Brown premiership in the same way that the Eastbourne by election lit the torch paper of Margaret Thatcher's departure in 1990.


Anonymous said...

You are wrong Ian. It will be men in white coats who will come to take Gordon away.

Anonymous said...

Glasgow East is already being painted in the Scottish press as "if Gordon loses - he is out". That must be a temptation for the ranks of loyal Labour voters who still want the best for their party - but are utterly desparing of Brown. They only have to sit it out for Brown to be gone. They may get more comfortable with not voting/voting SNP by seeing it as the way to remove the Tories' best election asset - Gordon Brown.

Brown is gone.

Anonymous said...

If the SNP win Glasgow East then they stand a very good chance of taking Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

Aston Read Limited said...

They can't do that yet - we haven't seen his vision yet !

Anonymous said...

Alan Johnson was also putting his "tupenny worth in" on BBC Politics Show yesterday - "Gordon doesn't do show courts - that's not his style"

Trouble is these days a PM has to "do show courts" and leave the minor detail to others and just look at the big themes. The problem with Gordon is he may not "do show courts"(using Johnson's Wimbledon metaphor) but he not only want's to hit the ball, he want's to be umpire,line judge,ball boy at the same time and that's the problem. He's losing the plot because a Prime Minister has to delegate and Gordon is pathologically unable to do so as he simply cannot help getting immersed in the trivia of a problem rather than setting a goal and letting his minions get on with it.

Like so many "good No2's" in commerce and industry he simply hasn't got the necessary "something" to make the leap to No1 and no amount of finance or lack of it will change that

Julian the Wonderhorse said...

If the Labour Party are trying to renegotiate the loans over 10 year, and one of these donors refuses to play ball and insists on their money back now, surely this could possibly force the Labour Party into liquidation as they clearly don't have the money to cover these liabilities.

I know that political parties are not covered by the same rules as companies, but trading whilst insolvent? What would the implications be of this?

Anonymous said...

I still wonder whether they can get rid of Gordon mid-term. Even if they have a democratic election for the next leader, he will still be an unelected Prime Minister foisted on the country. Can they do that twice?
If they followed up the election of a new leader with a general election, which would have to be very soon afterwards to be credible, they risk the near certainty of oblivion.

Twig said...

According to Peter Hitchens, the BBC are moving away from Brown too.

"The commentator, who thought it his duty to dwell at length on Labour’s troubles inside and outside the Commons, helpfully provided the details of David Cameron’s criticisms of Gordon Brown, interspersing them with nearly a minute of Cameron soundbites.

Mr Cameron got four goes before Mr Brown’s voice was even heard, for less than ten seconds. The impression was given that Mr Brown had crashed and burned."
Link to Peter Hitchens Blog

Has Dave sold out to the BBC?

Letters From A Tory said...

The article in the Guardian was the first tangible sign that the unions are going to start setting the agenda and Brown has no option but to go grovelling to them - which will come at a heavy political price.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know to what extent Labour’s unpopularity was caused by Gordon Brown’s failings as a leader, but it is clear that whatever the effect of voter-fatigue and economic hardship these things have been connected by the voters with Brown. He is the symbol of Labour’s failings and of their own difficulties. To remove Brown would neutralise some of those negative associations. An ousted PM is a sign of contrition on the part of a ruling party and implicitly the party could allow him to take a great deal of the blame with him.

Alan Johnson is one of the most plausible politicians of his generation. It is difficult to make concrete the appeal of a politician when it is based on tone and style, but there is something about Johnson that inspires confidence and that disarms mistrust. I don’t want to talk about charm because there is something performative about charm and Johnson’s great talent is to convey the impression that he isn’t performing – that he is being genuine. This comes across best in Johnson’s knack of accepting just enough of the criticism of the government to placate his interlocutors whilst contextualising those failures within a broader narrative of success. It is all too easy to to lose perspective in appraising the redemptive potential of new leaders, but I think that Labour’s critics would find themselves up against a much more robust politician in Johnson.

Read more of my views at my blog, Just who the hell are we? on, at:

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in why you think Labour would be mad to get rid of GB.

Is this a double bluff Iain?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you quite understand Ian. The unions influencing Labour Party policy is not corrupt, it is how the party works. There is nothing unusual about it. You just don't like it because you, as a Tory, are biased against unions.

Anonymous said...

Twig said...

"Has Dave sold out to the BBC?"

I bet 50p that if he hasn't yet he soon will.

It's the usual scam - start supporting us and we'll renew your Charter when we get elected.

Anonymous said...

Gordy can't be all bad if Lord Levy and the assembled NuLabour sleazebags want him to go. The last sort of PM they want is someone with a moral compass.

Tony said...

Anon @ 10:34
I don't think you quite understand Ian. The unions influencing Labour Party policy is not corrupt, it is how the party works. There is nothing unusual about it. You just don't like it because you, as a Tory, are biased against unions.

I am a Tory and I am not biased against Unions because employees should have representation.

But I am biased against millions of pounds of taxpayers' money being donated to the Unions for 'modernisation', just so the Unions can donate millions to the Labour Party and demand influence in return. That is corrupt.

If the Unions stopped giving money to Labour just watch how quickly the modernisation fund would be scrapped. It is a massive abuse yet barely a word is said against it.

Anonymous said...

People who are used to making money tend to be quite frank about an investment. Gerry Robinson said, "Brown is showing all the signs of not being a capable leader". Hardly an endorsement, and that from a heavy weight Labour donor.

Brown will not go of his own accord. He is too indecisive and deluded to make the decision. His "get out of jail free" card is that His replacement would be a fraudulent stooge without calling an immediate general election, and that would certainly result in defeat.

A lot can happen in two years, but it may well be that the only thing that will trigger an early general election will not be the obvious bankruptcy of New Labour, but a period of civil unrest.

A revolution. Nothing less.

We are on the brink of economic collapse. How many angry, frustrated, indebted, jobless people will it take to create the right conditions?

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia direct "copy re: sweet-mouthed Wendy...


On June 28, 2008, Wendy Alexander announced her resignation as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, due to pressure on her following the donation scandal. She said it was with "deep regret" that she was resigning following the decision of the Scottish Parliament's standards committee. She had come under pressure after breaking donation rules and faces a one-day ban from parliament. In her resignation statement, she claimed the breach of the rules was made in "good faith" and the decision of the committee was "partisan" but she respected parliamentary process.[16]

There were widespread celebrations amongst Labour MSPs.

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead."

Newmania said...

Iain if there was a leadership election in the Labour Party , this time the left would have their say openly and what is already a serious situation for them could become annihilation. There is no evidence ?( quite the reverse) , that another leader would be any improvement and surely there would have to be an immediate election...can you imagine the cat calls if Millipede wanted ...." Time to set out his vision"

Johnson has admitted he is not clever enough and likeable though he may be it would be a night watchman leadership which again spells "period of opposition".
With anti white male legislation and hated eco slums coming into the field of view Labour are still energetically building up their funeral pyre .The internal discussion they need to have goes way beyond presentation. They need to accept that theirs is not a popular government de-railed by the economy but a loathed one whose long tenure was supported only by extraordinarily easy conditions. It will be a painful period of re-evaluation .

I do not believe they will invite the end of the Party , they would be “mad “ to do so as you say. I also read the Gurdian today and if the sort of things the Unions are saying they want for public consumption are any guide to the deals that have been done then the insanity required to ditch brown is exceeded greatly by the insanity required not to do so when we eventually get a chance.

PS-Looking sat how close the Conservative NHS plans are to New Labour by the way it is growing problem that policy is merging that was conceived in a period when the politically possible bore no relation to what is now not only possible but urgently necessary. Letvus hope Cameron does not over , do caution. We cannot afford it .

PPS have you forgiven me for that Boris crack yet I have been guilty ever since ?

Wyrdtimes said...

He's got it all coming to him.

Iain, a while back you made a post about how trade union members could opt out of Labour donations... I can't find it.

My brother is in a union and hates funding Labour - could you post a link to the article so I could forward the article.


Anonymous said...

In view of our Party's interest in keeping Brown, would some undercover assistance from Eric Pickles in the Glasgow by-election (purely in the interests of the Union, natch) be in order? With Eric of course it would have to be a big cover...

Anonymous said...

Brown has been at the core of govt. business for over 10 years.

He has many skeletons in the closet at his disposal and they are the very reason he is where he is and why he will stay to the bitter end, whatever that'll be when it finally comes upon him.

Anonymous said...

Wyrdtimes said...
"Iain, a while back you made a post about how trade union members could opt out of Labour donations... I can't find it."

Have you tried the Search facility on this site?

I think you are referring to Iain's most recent post about opting out of donations to Labour was on Feb 15th 2008.

He gives a link to a Plaid Cymru website which in turn gives this link OPT OUT

Anonymous said...

A very bad thing for democracy when the big donors are able, as you point out, to remove & appoint leaders.

I don't know what the solution is.

I agree with Iain that they would be mad to get rid of Gordon. There is nobody in the party who has demonstrated any better ideas. Johnstone would be best because he has charm & has not suggested any dafter policies (or better ones). Miliband would be a disaster because he hasn'r & has (eco-fascist ones).

Jeff said...

I think people are getting a wee bit carried away with the SNP's chances in Glasgow East.

The SNP had a very good election a year ago and Labour barely put up a fight. Even still, Labour won awesome majorities in deepest, darkest Glasgow. Unbeatable majorities perhaps.

People keep referring to the two by-elections the SNP won in "working class Glasgow". Let's remember that both of these victories were in Glasgow Govan, a seat the SNP presently hold in Holyrood thanks to Nicola Sturgeon's high profile.

Even with this SNP victory in Labour's heartlands in 2007, the surrounding constituencies were still Labour landslides. I don't know if people appreciate just how many Glaswegians turn up to vote for Labour without even thinking about it.

So let's not cling to Govan too tightly and believe too quickly that lightning can strike twice.

Lola said...

Two things - why anyone is surprised that Gordon is useless completely escapes me. He was a fiscally useless chancellor with one idea - that he could spend money better than anyone else - so why would he be any good as PM?

And if he goes now Labour will have to have an elction. Just shooing in another 'leader' would leave them without any electoral legitimacy at all, especially as the bloke they've just booted out was seminal to the whole New Labour project which got them to power in the first place. In other words if he was wrong the whole project was wrong.

Wyrdtimes said...

That's the one - thanks very.

Chris Paul said...

On the opt out there will be a form of word in the Union's set of rules that should be sent to the union at a specified address.

But TU members should not opt out. Even if they are voting Tory themselves over something or other they should show some solidarity with the minimum wagers, the pensioners, and so on.

Anonymous said...

"But TU members should not opt out. Even if they are voting Tory themselves over something or other they should show some solidarity with the minimum wagers, the pensioners, and so on."

Why? Who are you to dictate who these people show their solidarity with?

Anonymous said...

Zanu Labour will be bailed out by the unions.
In return for a serious wedge, in due course there will be a number of grants etc given to the unions to assist with training / modernisation/ blah/ blah.

Also, one wonders how much the Co-Op Group will donate to the cause WHEN they get the go ahead to build one of the new eco towns in Leicestershire on a site they own.

Newmania said...

they should show some solidarity with the minimum wagers, the pensioners, and so on.

I do not see why they should have to opt out.That would be an entirely illegal way to sell anything in the real world for good reason.You cannot associate work benefits and employment with contributions to the Labour party in this era. Not in any way.

If union members want to give to the Labour Party they can in their private capacity same as anyone else.

Anonymous said...

And if he loses he presents an even bigger conumdrum for the incoming leader - Gordon Brown was an unelected leader and much comment was passed at the time - but two unelected leaders inside two years. I can't see the great British public standing for that and the clamour for an instant election would be huge. I think therefore he will stay because and excuse me for the cliche Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

there must be a large numbe rof labour MP's who are dammed if tehy do and dammed if they don't in this respect. Take Cardiff North of which I have a voting interest - Julie Morgan is highly unlikely to retain the seat whoever the leader is - what interest does she have in seeing Gordon Brown go. Mind you 11 years ago she told me in the street that Tony Blair was only window dressing and Labour would go back to good old Labour within a few years - it's taken 10 and surprise surprise we all remember the good old labour of Grodon Brown's forebears and we don't much like it now anymore than we did in the 70's.

Oscar Miller said...

Well there's a dour, not very popular Scotsman out on centre court right now making a comeback from two sets down. It can happen.

bunnco said...

All this talk of succession presupposes that HM Queen will permit another transfer of power without the inconvenience of calling a General Election.
My suspicion is that She will require a fresh mandate should the Labour party choose to dispense with G Brown's services.
So there's a dilemma for Labour. Do we soldier-on with Brown and have an electoral disaster in 2010 or have an electoral disaster in 2008
Over to you, Your Majesty.

Anonymous said...

John Fuller said...
"All this talk of succession presupposes that HM Queen will permit another transfer of power without the inconvenience of calling a General Election.
My suspicion is that She will require a fresh mandate should the Labour party choose to dispense with G Brown's services."

That won't happen. She knows that if she interferes in government in that way we will soon see the end of the monarchy as we know it. After all, who elected her?

Anonymous said...

Anybody with political ambitions would be foolish to seek the leadership now. Better to wait till the election is over & then step in to "save" the party while playing thiogs can only get better.