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Interesting article on Gordon's real beliefs in the Sunday Times
Would Brown really go against his instincts if it came down to a face off between Woodley and postBlair reforms?

A thought - if we started now to campaign on Gordon's Kingdom using the state of Scotland (NHS, Education etc.) to show what a Brownite UK would become wouldn't this serve three purposes:
- to make Gordon choose between defending or attacking the Scottish Labour Party; in either case damaging Labour or himself
- exploit the unfairness of the Scots vote in English affairs
- shore up the Scots Conservatives by highlighting our issues with the Lad-Lib Dem coalition at Scots level on a national stage

Gordon is trying to make us respond on issues of his choosing - security, terrorism etc - politics of fear. Lets make him defend his fiefdom or force him to betray it.

It was inevitable that there would be a contest of sorts, it would be hard to justify a succession after both the Conservatives and Lib Dems had held successful elections.

My fear is that it will actually put Brown in rather a good light, contrasting him nicely with those on the hard left. Brown can present himself as a centrist politician in tune with middle England against those "horrid" old left folk.

Michael Meacher will stand.

He will, I imagine, stand on a radcial green platform to promote this important area.

She most definitely will be humiliated. The woman is an awful speaker.

She was one of the Labour MPs speaking against ID cards before the vote last week, and her performance was woeful to say the least. Lots of ums, and errs, stuttering and not knowing what she was talking about.

Ah could Lynne Jones be the Labour equivalent of John Hemming? Should I start a blog to campaign on her behalf?

"A thought - if we started now to campaign on Gordon's Kingdom using the state of Scotland (NHS, Education etc.) to show what a Brownite UK would become..."

Would that not be the sort of misleading dirty trick of blurring Westminster/devolved issues that the Liberal Demoprats are infamous for? I'd much rather we campaign honestly and on the merits of our own platform than falsely portraying Scotland as the People's Socialist Republic of Gordonia.

Indeed Daniel, start the Lynne Jones for leader campaign!

Quite agree about the positive campaigning lets run as a potential government concerned only for the welfare of all the British people. We want to make a difference where other parties might solely be interested in denigrating other politicians.

Who is Lynne Jones...never heard of her before. Ive heard of Meacher though I think this talk of a contest is really fluff and no one in the backbenches can seriously challenge Brown for leader. I can think of a cuple higher up who could have a shot (Milliband for one) but not a backbencher.

The psychology here is not so much about the backbencher winning the contest but using the election as a platform for an agenda other than the one being promoted by the likely winner.

James Maskell.
Lynne Jones is the MP for Birmingham Selly Oak. She entered the Commons in 1992 gaining Selly Oak from the tories (a 4.9% Tory majority became a 3.7% Labour majority).
She's on the Left of the party, a member of Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs and a frequent rebel (more than 100 times in the last Parliament).
She was a former acadamic and a leading campaigner on issues like mental health and civil rights for transexual people.

DVA: "Lynnegering Death"? "Jones the Suicide"? "The Silly Oaf from Selly Oak"?

The problem, as you will have discovered with Hemming's Way is that as soon as you have discovered the perfect vehicle, they rat out and leave the contest.

Probably the better bet would be "Gordon Is A Moron" (inc soundfile of Jilted John's fondly remembered classic), a site to select the 'best qualified' contender to block Brown - a nationwide, year-long political Pop Idol. You can run polls as per CH's Gold List votes to assemble the winner to go into a run off with Brown.

People here who are comparing Jones to Hemming's bid are completely missing the point of Jones's candidature.
She's more like Edward Leigh yalking about standing in the tory contest than John Hemming.
She would stand to represent a different vision of the party (old labour if you want to call in that way). The Left will try to present a candidate (but they would need 45 signatures and it's not that easy). She just said she's available to be that candidate. But then they could for another one (like Alan Simpson for ex.)

Cheers for that Andrea.

Thank you, Andrea. The 45 signatures requirement sounds like a big hurdle.

I seem to recall that the Campaign Group has something like 30 members, so it's entirely possible that a candidate will run on the basis of "there should be a contest"

This candidate will have two constituencies. Firstly those on the left who want to see more Trade Union powers, nationalisation, re-distribution etc and secondly those who want a chance after 15 years of New Labour to reflect and debate. 45 is not improbable, especially with so many Labour MPs hanging on to seats they don't expect to win at the next election.

Frank Young, the Campaign Group has now just 24 members.
They had some old MPs who stood down in the last elections and they've problems to get new leftwing candidates selected.

Thank you, maybe 45 is insurmountable.

I still find it hard to believe that Gordon Brown is CERTAIN to succeed Blair. If a week is a long time in politics, two or more years are almost an eternity, and lots could happen to discredit Brown in that time.

And why would not those with whom he is at odds, such as Charles Clarke, not have a go? Perhaps John Reid might have a stab, or even Clare Short. You just never know, although I accept that he is the runaway favourite, to a greater extent than Heseltine or Portillo were for us.

The trouble is the New Labour establishment have already closed ranks. When the likes of Peter Hain and John Reid are speaking of Gordon Brown as the next PM, you know it must be a done deal. I'm sure I read a few months ago that Charles Clarke had accepted it as well. The truth is that, since the demise of David Blunkett and mothballing of Peter Scandalson, the two most significant obstacles to the Brown succession have been removed.

Frank Young, it'll depend on what the "soft" left will do: back Brown or not.
The likes of Paul Flynn, Clare Short, Glenda Jackson, Mark Fisher, Franck Dobson,...

I had not heard of Lynne Jones for years. She is now tickling my aged memory as having attended a conference on breastfeeding we had up here in Yorkshire. I seem to remember her. going to do something about limiting the power of the milk companies. Not that these pearls of wisdom will be of much help, but she was a member of the have a go brigade, so may add interest to the stop Brown coalition. Incidentally, I was at the Yorks briefing meeting at harrogate yesterday, got up and told them they should ALL sign up to conservativehome. Some young lads said they already read the blog.

Thank you Annabel. You're my hero(ine)!

Lynne Jones is my local MP here at University (a fact I am reminded of by a commemorative plaque every time I walk into my halls of residence), and I can safely say that she's got no chance. I've seen her defeated by students in the debating society, for god's sake - how she thinks she can challenge anyone is completely beyond me!

She doesn't seek to challenge Gordon, she seeks to be humiliated by Gordon. She wants it to appear as if the Labour party is something less than a completely totalitarian political party.

Some people have said above that a Labour contest might be good for Labour/Brown. An alternative viewpoint could be that it would be bad for Labour/Brown. If only dross stand against him, what sort of party image will that portray as a whole to the public?

" I've seen her defeated by students in the debating society, for god's sake "

if she's so bad, I couldn't dare to think how bad the tory candidate in Selly Oak was (considering there was a less than average swing in Selly Oak)

"if she's so bad, I couldn't dare to think how bad the tory candidate in Selly Oak was (considering there was a less than average swing in Selly Oak)" - Andrea

Entrenched Labour voters vote for the name rather than the person.

Poor Lynne Jones! I'd have thought somebody more prominent in the Campaign Group or elsewhere will stand for the many reasons outlined above.

Frank Young. Probably Alan Simpson would be a better candidate among the Campaign Group.
But maybe Dennis Skinner will delight us standing.....naturally quoting the NOTW at every occasions!

Chris Selly Oak is natural Tory territory.It was held throughout the '80's by a chap called Anthony Beaumont-Dark a man who had strong (though not always well considered)opinions on absolutely everything!

The tories held it in the 60's and then from 1979 to 1992 when Lynne Jones defeated Anthony Beaumont-Dark.
It must be said that the seat is probably now less prosperous compared to what it was. A good students presence helped the Libdems to gain grounds (to tory expenses) too.

I think that there has been some rather harsh comments about Lynne Jones in this thread. While she is obviously on the hard left she is extremely inteligent. She could have quite easily made the transition to Blairite stooge had she so wished and would have most likely made the front bench.

As for the seat of Selly Oak. While it is true that it was once strong tory territory it has seen a string of changes over the last 20 years or so. Firstly a massive programme of council house building in the Kings Norton ward have seen a once strong tory ward become far more hostile. It is marginal at local level but on the higher turnout of a GE it is always likely to be favourable for labour. Secondly the increasing student population in the Selly Oak ward have made it far less fertile for us. Finally the middle class ward of Moseley has seen a sharp rise in ethnic minorities, especially muslims, again making this less fertile for us. Bournville is now the only ward in the seat where we can be confident of returning conservative councillors.

Boundary changes will however make Selly Oak more marginal once again. Kings Norton (to Northfield) and Moseley (to Hall Green) are lost while Brandwood and Billesley (both from Hall Green) are gained. Both are fairly marginal and make this a winnable seat for us.

Jones does however have a major advantage over many Birmingham Labour MP's. Her staunch opposition to Blair means that she has no problems with activists.

Richar Allen, the new Selly Oak will be better, but not so better. The tories should have a very good year to win.
It lost Kings North (a split ward: 2 tories and 1 Lab) and Moseley (2 LDs and 1 Lab). Brandwood ( a tory ward at local level) and Billesley (a split ward: 2 tories and 1 Lab).
So Billesley should cancel the effect of losing Kings North.
The loss Moseley is not good for the LD. Brandwood is a tory ward at local level, but probably Labour at national level (Lab did better in GE than in local elections).
So I doubt the majority is Selly Oak is below 15%.

I certainly agree that the new Selly Oak will still be tough for us but it is much better than the current seat. As you acknowledge Brandwood is significantly better than Moseley and while they are both split wards I would suggest that Billesley is probably a bit better for us than Kings Norton. I would say that Selly Oak is clearly our number two target in Birmingham (Edgbaston remains number one).

You're probably right in thinking it could be target number 2. With Northfield just after it. The other seats shouldn't be winnable for the tories even in a good night next time.

Meacher will stand, of that I have absolutely no doubt. But any challenge to Gordon from the left is bound to fail.

The really interesting question about the Labour leadership is whether there will be a challenge to Gordon from the right or centre. The official line on this as set out by Hain on last week's Question Time is that Brown will not be challenged from within the Cabinet. That may be the case today, but if so it is only because there is no-one in the Cabinet who thinks they could beat him. If that situation were to change - ie if Brown came to be seen as beatable - then it is nonsense to suggest he wouldn't be challenged. Politics just does not work like that, and if the opportunity is there, someone will seize it.

More on this here

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