Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blair Backs Miliband

The Blairites seem desperate for Miliband to stand against Brown. This morning's Observer's lead story is that Blair "has been discussing the possibility of a Miliband challenge with his closest allies" and thinks (hopes) that Miliband "will win" if he really goes for it. This comes shortly after the former Cabinet Secretary Arnold Turnbull attacked Brown's "Stalinist style" of management. Risibly, Turnbull - clearly an experienced Whitehall operator - claims he believed he was speaking off-the-record (the gullible Nick Robinson swallowed this line). Meanwhile Jack Straw has announced he is to run Brown's leadership campaign. It will be interesting to see if Blair continues to act to undermine Blair via leaks from his "closest allies" or if - closer to a contest - he come out publicly in favour of a challenger. Also: who exactly are these "closest allies"? There is an obvious list of "usual suspects" but it would be interesting to know which of them have trusted by Blair with this particular errand.

P.S. Mandelson on Marr arguing that Brown must demonstrate that he is sufficiently "New Labour" and hinting, in his disingenuous serpentine and oleaginous way, that a younger leader is needed. Later, when Mandelson says he won't be taking sides in a leadership contest, Jack Straw is highly amused.


Blogger Gracchi said...

Blairites I would suspect is code for Mandelson, Byers and Milburne. Its an intriguing situation- I suspect Milliband's desire to run is exactly proportional to his guess of whether Brown wins the next election- if Brown doesn't then he would be in a good position to be the next leader, but if he does then Milliband faces 8 years where his rivals could and can grow.

1:52 pm  
Blogger skipper said...

I agree the Blairites clearly want Miliband to stand-Blair too. But the bottom line of course is that the lad is not keen, on the basis of what he's said so far. All the noises coming from the PLP- viz Week in Westminster last Saturday- suggest Gordon is the only show in town for Labour re the coming election. BTW it's Andrew and not Arnold Turnbull- whom I knew vaguely during my inglorious two year career as a top flight civil servant. He seemed wise to the ways of Whitehall even then, in 1970!

7:48 pm  

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