Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialNews.

How wrong can one be?

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, on Gordon Brown- a leader in trouble

Written by . Published on September 18th 2008.


How wrong can one be?

Last Friday when asked by journalists I predicted that the Labour Party conference would be dull and the run up to it would be quiet. It's the natural instinct of party members to be loyal at least in public when the leader is in trouble. I hadn’t taken into account the sheer incompetence of the dismal and faceless apparatchiks who Gordon employs to do his bidding in Number 10.

A few of us had written to Ray Collins, Labour Party’s general secretary to ask why he hadn’t sent out the invitations to Labour MPs to nominate for leader of the party. An obscure rule in the Labour Party constitution obliges that these forms are sent out immediately before the annual conference. This was meant as a shot across the bows of the leadership to remind them that the issue of Gordon’s leadership had not gone away. This correspondence was private. Gordon’s opos however decided that the press should be told that because only 3 or 4 people had written there was no threat to Gordon. This of course had the opposite effect. Siobhain McDonagh, a government whip, was sacked. A media frenzy started. Gordon Brown’s position looked more tenuous as sackings and resignations followed. This was a crisis made and minted in 10 Downing Street.

This episode has exposed the modus operandi of the clique around Gordon and how counter productive it is. They have operated like this for years. Recently local MP Ivan Lewis had suffered from it when Gordon’s friends placed nasty and exaggerated articles in the News of the World and Mail on Sunday. His real crime was to suggest that people earning more than £250,000 should be taxed and this new policy should be part of a programme of reconnecting with the electorate. Nobody is immune from the treatment- the foreign secretary and chancellor of the exchequer have also been targets. John Prescott is right when he says split parties don’t win elections, but he should be telling Gordon that the actions of his associates are closer to spite filled student union politics parodied in The Life of Brian rather than the ‘big tent politics’ he claims to espouse.

But ‘who are the splitters?’ isn’t the question before the conference in Manchester. It is- can the leadership persuade the electorate that we are the party to deal with current international financial crisis?

The ‘business as usual’ ‘we know what we are doing’ messages have gone down like a lead balloons with the electorate; 28 points behind in the opinion polls and three awful bye election results are the public's response. The government has not been forgiven for the 10p tax fiasco and insulation grants are an almost risible response to the financial situation faced by families.

The cabinet’s reaction has been strange. When not fading from view, they have acknowledged that there is a serious case to be made against Gordon. They also seem to have put him on probation (how a Prime Minister can be put on probation and remain in office, I don’t know.)

They’re caught between their collective responsibility to government and knowing that probably a majority of Labour MPs want a leadership challenge. Incidentally trying to stop this fact being exposed was why Ray Collins didn’t send out nomination forms.

While individually excellent, collectively the cabinet lacks experience. Many members of the cabinet have very recently been civil servants who took instructions from Gordon and other ministers. This is not an ideal preparation for telling the man who was previously their boss, that they support a challenge to him. Now is the time for the cabinet to gird their loins, prove they have not been filleted and declare that there must be a selection of a new leader.

It would be easy for the cabinet to choose the soft option of a dull conference but sooner or later the cabinet will have to act.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

GarySeptember 18th 2008.

I do have sympathy for Gordon Brown. It must be utterly galling to have waited 10 years for your dream job – only to realise you are totally incompetent at it.

johnthebriefSeptember 18th 2008.

It is already too late Matt. Labour is going to be wiped out at the next election, and the reason Brown is still there is his MP's know it. Why precipitate an election now and lose the cars, salaries, expenses and perks of Government office when they could keep them for the best part of another 2 years. Obviously the country will continue to collapse without any real Government but the "brothers" won't worry as they keep their snouts in the trough

Mr TSeptember 18th 2008.

It's easy to point fingers and put all the blame on Brown, and yes he has screwed up, but he's just one man and the top of the labour pyramid and the truth is we've been failed by the entire Labour party, not just one man. Since coming to power they've squandered leadership and led us, all guns blazing, into a nightmare of a time that we may well look back on as the as the start of a huge economic depression. Infighting is pointless, we need a general election, not a leadership race.

MattSeptember 18th 2008.

I accept utterly what Johnthebrief says. which makes me even more depressed. all the more reason to back people like stringer, who although he has a safe seat, know this is far more important than whether some invisible back bencer can sit in Annies Bar until 3 in the morning pontificating like crazy about the state of the nation, counting gheir pension entitlement and doing **** all about delivering the nation up to Cameron and his mates...

Well SpottedSeptember 18th 2008.

Watching Gordon Brown is like watching a leopard. He hasn't changed his spots. He is just as dull and boring as Prime Minister as he was as Chancellor. I cannot believe that a man who plotted and planned so deviously and for so long to attain the country's highest office does not seem to have a "big idea" or even ANY idea of what the job is all about. He has let everyone down, not just the Labour party - rabbits and headlights spring to mind. Graham Stringer is right, the Cabinet have to discover their collective spine and do the right thing. Keep speaking out Graham - for ALL our sakes.

Well SpottedSeptember 18th 2008.

johnthebrief for PM?

MattSeptember 18th 2008.

Agree with every word that Stringer says. I have no idea what Brown believes in, apart from getting through the door of No 10 and staying behind it for as long as possible - doing permanent damage to the Party.Many of us long suffering members of the Labour Party are heartily sick of the shenanigans outlined above and the irredeemably hopeless performance we are witnessing - like a slow motion car crash in front of our very eyes. Good on Stringer and the others (not so many around Manchester however) for declaring 'enough is enough'. Something has got to give or my Labour Party is going to get annihilated in two years time.It may already be too late....

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Repeating,without any evidence the same point that socialism = public services is hardly…

 Read more
Anonymous

You absolutely right,I hate all these bloody nimbys stopping development and progress.Of course if…

 Read more
Anonymous

Manchester's size and climate isn't dissimilar to Rotterdam or Dusseldorf but the city is held back…

 Read more
Anonymous

Straying off the point again David, which is that investing in public services is socialist but as…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord