Tuesday, 27 May 2008
As reported in the Spectator, "Brown is 6/4 to go before the next election 7 to 2 to leave this year 15/8 to be replaced in 2009, 11/10 to go in 2010." This is tough-minded betting. In the Independent the other day Johann Hari was suggesting that Brown accept he's lost the next election and embark on some berserker spree of red-blooded socialism for the 2 years he has left. And John Rentoul, the smartest biographer of Blair, was chastising those disciples of the former PM who fell in meekly behind Brown last year, after a token bit of moody shilly-shallying. David Aaronovitch in the Times raised the issue of all that rancid karma Brown and his best pals stored up for themselves during the presumptive Blair-baiting wait for succession. (And I have to say to my eye the worst of Brown is his rotten taste in political allies and little proteges.) It's hard to see a bracing blast of economic good news sufficient to save Brown within the next 18 months, the time-frame he would need. I can't see him going out in some blaze of redistributive glory. I don't see how Charles Clarke or Alan Milburn could lead the party, though perhaps as stalking horses they could smoke out a more considerable stiletto-wielder. I don't think the public are ready to accept a second consecutive unelected PM, least of all in these grim circumstances. And I'm not sure a smart young man like David Miliband wants to bet the house this year or next, and risk fast-forwarding to the end of his and all political careers, i.e. failure. So what do I think is going to happen? What would I like to happen? I'll decide once there's a bit of clear blue water between us and the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.