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I imagine he will run and lose, but he will probably end up as Chancellor. Balls is too inexperienced, and there isn't really anyone bar Darling who I can see with the gravitas to pull it off (Reid will move to the FO).

He certainly comes across as a nice guy. Even though he failed utterly with his negotiations over civil service pensions I would fear him more than Brown or Reid because he is normal.

It isn't beyond the realms of possibility, but what would become of Mr Brown? Surely he couldn't remain as Chancellor. ;)

Johnson is a class act - he's the one I'm scared of!

Watch DfES questions - he's a killer. If you get shouty with him, he turns the attacks aside. If you're friendly with him, he's twice as friendly back. He has that Charles Kennedy knack of looking like he doesn't quite take it all seriously.

He's every bit as charming as Cameron but with a much better back-story and a range of ministerial experience. Moreover, his views on the unions have always been sensible. He is a moderniser born and bred (albeit with a probable leftier take on foreign policy).

How things change. Brown visited him in Hull and there was a rumour last November that he was Brown's deputy candidate (he'd just appeased the public sector unions, and Brown was coming under attack over Gershon from them...)

p.s. - re: 'Postman Pat' jokes

I should say that making jokes about the fact that he got where he is today from the bottom of the pile doesn't do CH's tone any good. A few gags are fine, but I should think we should try to stop it becoming a meme. It's exactly the kind of snobbishness we need to ditch if people are going to take our commitment to social justice seriously. We can't claim we want equality of opportunity and then mock people who made it!

I'd agree on the threat of Johnson.

If the Postman Pat remarks above are a comment on the Labour Form Guide:
(1) they weren't meant in a snobbish manner - you might have seen that the item was actually meant to be a send-up of the usual newspaper guides to the various candidates and we can expect the fact that Johnson used to be a postie to feature prominently in the next few months

(2) if you can think of anything else funny to say about this shower of a Cabinet: be my guest

If Johnson stood and won, our electoral revival could be short-lived.

He would boost Labour support in their heartlands (being a Union man and a Northern MP)while appearing acceptable to middle england. He would provide a fresh start for Labour and we could see a repeat of 1992 where an unpopular party managed to look different and consequently won the election.

Good comments Chris 12:24 that I agree with. I might be wrong, but I would guess the next GE will be won or lost in England and that with Mr Johnson as their Leader/Prime Minister, Labour might appeal to the swing voters etc and as such, hold on to power.

With regards to Mr Johnson's former job, you are right he has done well for himself and that should be applauded, and churlish jokes about a person's background tend to backfire on those making them. It is also worth noting that a postman is an important job, rather more so, I would suggest, than some jobs within the "professions", the financial services industry, journalism or even PR type jobs.

Alan Johnson’s talks up his postman background because he knows how well it comes across. Chris C is absolutely right that cheap shots about it play entirely into his hands. The subtext of calling him Postman Pat is that a postman couldn’t possibly do the job of leader or PM. That’s not only snobbish, it’s very easy for Alan Johnson to demonstrate that he’s got (post)bags of ability.

William Hill have shortened his Johnson's odds to 4.00, behind Gordon (1.36) but well ahead of Reid (10.0) and Miliband (15.0).

It's a shame not to have got in earlier, but at 4 I'm still quietly confident of turning twenty quid into a ton.

I agree with the comment above about Johnson having a Charles Kennedyesque 'everyman' charm - his ability to appear to be a normal bloke (a hugely underrated political skill) and thus connect with the general public renders him dangerous, far more so than His Gordship in my opinion.

Mike Smithson has written several times about his formidable political prowess - his stealthy (and rapid) rise through the ranks of the union, then the Labour Party is testament to the fact that Johnson is certainly a smooth political operator.

As for postman jibes, I wonder if His Gordship will keep his word and not *ahem* give him the sack if he challenges the Chancellor for the leadership and loses?

P.S. If Johnson does run for the leadership, will he announce his candidature in the Daily Mail?

P.P.S. Perhaps his chances would be better if the Labour leadership election was first past the post?

I'll stop now.

Alan Johnson is one of our MPs in Hull and one I have worked with as a local Councillor in Hull. He is certainly a very personable and competent MP and is well liked locally.
He is quite a contrast to Prescott in that he actually seems to care about the City of Hull. My respect for him grew when he agreed to come to a Full Council Meeting and answer questions about tuition fees when he was Higher Education Ministers. I wonder how many would agree to that.
Alan Johnson certainly is one to be feared.

Cameron would wipe the floor with Johnson. If he is the John Major of Labour then good luck to them - look where Major left us!

Major got in because it was anyone but Heseltine, if Johnson gets in under the anyone but Brown scenario then I suspect Cameron will be holding the keys to number 10 for a long time.

"Union support - As former General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers, he has enough trade union contacts to give Brown a run for his money for their votes in the election"

Some pieces during the week-end suggested that some union bosses aren't so keen on him.

Would he be able to stamp his authority over the party? These awful jokes could go on forever.

Johnson must have some bad points. Still let's hope Gordon gets it. He's the easier target.

Indeed Brown is the easier target. I would however agree with Adam, Cameron would wipe the floor with Johnson. "Who is he" most would say if he won the leadership election - and then there certainly would be a snap general election.

The question of who is next PM, for however many months or years, must go above party politics.

Whether AJ or GB would be the easier opponent for the Tories is neither here nor there. My feelings on GB are unprintable, AJ seems like a nice enough chap. All politicians are scoundrels, it is just that some of them are downright evil and others are ... nice enough chaps.

All in all, I am sure Alan Johnson would be a first class prime minister.

New Prime Minister? I am sure that Alan Johnson would be ideal for the post.

With all that experience, I think Alan Johnson will be best place to ensure proper delivery of public services.

This gives a whole new meaning to "postal votes"

It would be a bold step for Johnson to contest the leadership - he really would be pushing the envelope, to coin a phrase.

If he succeeded, it would be a real red letter day for him.

Still, I expect Gordon Brown's got his card marked.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist... I really will stop this time.)

Hopefully, Alan Johnson would introduce a whole parcel of reforms to ensure that no citizens of this country are treated as second class.

The ideal deputy leader for Alan Johnson would of course be Frank Field.

I am sure that Alan Johnson would look at all aspects of a problem, and not just see things in black and white ... cat

Not only do I think he could (and possibly will) win, I think he's the most serious challenge to Dave, who would surely thrash Brown. I have to hope that Brown wins.

I think that Dave would be toast if Alan Johnson became Labour Leader. They would be re-elected with an increased majority in the House of Commons.

His former General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers, he has enough trade union contacts to give Brown a run for his money for their votes in the election.
Comments of Unions on Alan Johnson have not been favourable, one union leader I heard said that Alan Johnson had called for Labour's links with the Unions to be cut (I thought that was Stephen Byers but maybe Alan Johnson raised it as well), anyway he raised a doubt as to whether Trade Unionists would be favourable on this matter - it is important to remember that each Trade Unionist of a Union affiliated to Labour has a vote whether they are a Labour member or MP or not, there isn't a block vote on this and so they are voting as individuals including no doubt Conservative, Liberal Democrat, UKIP, BNP, Socialist Worker, Reform etc... voters, maybe even MP's from other parties?

If you think Alan Johnson is bad though just think that if Tony Blair dropped dead suddenly then under Labour's constitution John Prescott becomes leader and presumably as leader would be made Prime Minister although I don't think he could get away with staying in position beyond a Labour Deputy Leadership election taking place.

I think that Dave would be toast if Alan Johnson became Labour Leader.
I don't think Labour would do as well under Alan Johnson as under Gordon Brown, or Stephen Byers, or in the improbable event that he actually stood Alan Milburn - he is still too associated with the Trade Unions and not only that but he has apparently rather annoyed many Trade Unionists.

Obviously John McDonnell would lead Labour to defeat, but he won't win the leadership and really is 23 years too late really to have a prospect of actual victory.

"Obviously John McDonnell would lead Labour to defeat"

Are you sure? I'd love to find out, although I doubt it will happen.

I wish it were kinnock retiring now and not blair.

I wish it were kinnock retiring now and not blair.
I think Neil Kinnock winning more than the first election in 1997 would have been unlikely, if anything though I think John Smith if he had lived would probably actually have done better for Labour in 1997, he wouldn't have wasted time with all the spin that Tony Blair, Peter Mandleson and Tony Blair and now it would appear David cameron are going in for, for Labour the spin became the news and if anything actually did more damage to them, the whole point of spinning a story is that people aren't supposed to realise it's being done otherwise they think they're being conned - with John Smith you knew what you were getting, he was pretty straightforward and probably people were mistaken if they thought they were getting better with Tony Blair - Tony Blair just does things in a rather more roundabout and more inefficent way, if John Smith were still alive he would be celebrating his 68th birthday tommorrow, no doubt whenever he had gone Gordon Brown and not Tony Blair would have succeeded him, I rather imagine John Smith would have supported the War in Iraq and would have said quite openly that it was right to take the opportunity to get rid of the regime whether they had WMD's or not simply because of how much they had wasted the time of the UN and internal genocide they had committed and attacks on neighbouring countries.

Though it is quite possible that if say John Smith had served until he was 65 and then Gordon Brown succeeded him and been leader for 10 years, then maybe Tony Blair would have been Chancellor of the Exchequer for 10 years and then finally got the job at the age of 60, who knows. Neil Kinnock decided to bow out in 1992 as did Bryan Gould, if they had chosen they probably could still have been in the running for Labour leader in 1994.

D V-A, Johnson wont be confiming in the Daily Mail. Itll be in the Sunday Post.

The time is long gone when an MP for a Scottish constituency in the British parliament is acceptable in any position of authority over any part of English governance , including that of British PM . Since the setting up of a separate Scottish parliament in 1998 directly contrary to the spirit and letter of the Act of Union such MP's simply no longer have any democratic legitimacy in England . Therefore , Johnson , whoever he is , is easily preferable to any Scottish-constituency MP on the grounds of his being an English MP .

Face it , all contributers here , the United Kingdom is in its death throes . That such a consideration as Scottish / English should even be a part of the debate is extremely recent and would have been considered extraordinary as recently as , say , 1997 . No longer ,it is now a part of every debate and the reason is that with the Scotland Act 1998 everything changed . It was really the end of the union as we knew it . A sort of degraded ersatz union stumbles on . Most people know in their hearts , even those here who wish it were otherwise and try desparately to pretend that nothing has changed , know it . Scotland and England are now countries foreign to one another although still enmeshed in an increasingly , to both sides , unsatisfactory " union ". I rather wish it were not so but it is . Nothing is going to change things back to how they were . It won't be as it was if you just don't talk about it . Do not make the common Tory mistake of wishfully thinking that all will revert to " normal " if only you remain quiet and not mention the assymetries in the British state .

The only way to keep the union alive , and it would be federal union by the way and not the old unitary British state , is that the people of England be treated with the same consideration as the people of Scotland and that there be a referendum , in England only , on an English Parliament . The result would be an almost certain , huge , yes .
The English Parliament that would emerge would have the same powers and competencies as the Scottish Parliament . The British paliament would confine itself to consideration of pan British affairs only .

Quite do-able . Federal states work perfectly well in many other parts of the world and those states do not break up .
The United Kingdom faces certain break up if the political class does not stop looking away from the English question and the vast injustice of continuing direct of England by the British government . If it refuses to adress this question then Scotland will have a referendum , probably quite soon , and the United Kingdom will end anyway and England will then be free .

William Norton - it wasn't really aimed at you. It's one thing for someone to make a one-off joke - I'm more concerned about it spreading and becoming part of the discourse.

Underestimate AJ at your peril!

"Cameron would wipe the floor with Johnson. If he is the John Major of Labour then good luck to them - look where Major left us!"

I dont think that is true. AJ is positioned neatly - an old time Party member and union leader - but a long-term moderniser. There would be irritation between Brownites and Blairites (who might see AJ as their man) but there wouldn't be the ideological tension which dominated 1992-7. There wouldn't be a Maatsricht moment.

p.s. - William; reading it all again, I realise that could look like a stab at you, but that was not at all intended. I don't think you were sneering. In any case, I can forgive a lot if it makes me laugh - I'm nothing if not lighthearted. The trouble would be people habitually referring to him as 'the postman' or 'Postman Pat'... That is what I sought to avoid.

If the Labour members were a little brighter, they would see that Alan Johnson has a much better chance than Brown of winning the election. That is why we must all hope that Brown gets it.

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