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Noone can save Labour. The mood is for REAL change.

Alan Johnson comes across as a pleasant man (unlike the incumbent) and that may result in a short term bounce for Labour but what he do that would be markedly different? Not much I think and when the public realise this I suspect Labour will tumble in the polls again. However the truth is that no government in the western world whether left or right has been able to mitigate the effects of the current economic crisis which is why most incumbents are desperately unpopular at the moment.

Johnson's particular brand of spin and kidology (as evidenced by his pronouncements on the glorious NHS) has, I think, had its day. No Labour politician can convince the populace that everything in the garden is rosy. The very idea that a total BS merchant like Johnno could be PM just shows what a hole Labour are in.

Curiously, I find myself agreeing with arch-leftie, Malcolm Dunn. Where I diverge is that the support for Cameron is primarily a reaction against Brown and the current set of circumstances, and appreciably thin outside London and the South East. Could Miliband-Johnson make a difference? Potentially, I think a more likeable face of New Labour could make the political scene more competitive. Whether Labour has the balls (no link there) to make the change is another matter entirely.

As a former Party activist, much as I loathe Dave, I have to concede that he holds most of the trump cards.

Just remind me: wasn't Alan Johnson who was enthusiastic about depriving cancer patients of the entire support of the Glorious NHS if they spent any of their own money on cancer drugs which actually worked? In short, a "nice man" who is quite happy to let people die in great pain in pursuit of outdated dogma.

As for Miliband, didn't Tony Blair put it best of all: "weird, weird, weird"?

The only potential problem is a picture being painted of a clique of Eton chaps (in it for the glory and the power) vs a former Postman and a bright comprehensive kid (Miliband) - both are also good tv performers compared to awkward, grumpy Gordie...

Cameron needs to be more inclusive...the elitism card didn't stick in Crewe and Nant but it might under the microscope of an Election...

Johnson or Miliband would inherit a sinking ship and would be unable to repair the damage of the Brown and Blair years. Neither of them would be able to avert election defeat - it's still the Conservatives to lose.

The Tories have nothing to fear from Miliband who looks like a contact-lens wearing geek. Johnson can morph into Old Labour to shore up Labour's vote in the council estates which the Tories can't win but might spell the end of Lib Dem MPs in Horney & Wood Green, Chesterfield, and Brent East.
Johnson and Miliband is hardly a dream team ticket, although better than the nightmare of Harman.
Gordon Brown is a proud man. He will be deeply hurt by all the headlines and it would not surprise me if he called a snap `back me or sack me' election which he would lose honourably but ensure the political demise of his pygmy backbenchers. If only John Major had adopted such a scenario in 1995, going to the country rather than the party, for a mandate. he would have lost, but not so spectacularly.

Miliband is a geek.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with geeks.

Though there is something quite creepy about Miliband, like Blair there is just something about the guy that makes you think that you can't trust him.

Cannot understand what people see in Milliband. He reminds me of an irritating schoolboy. Furthermore he seems to be far too keen on the "make life more expensive for everyone" Green agenda.

Johnson is a blobfish of pure evil and I'm sure everyone can see that... he wouldn't stand a chance against Cameron.
Millipede might be a more difficult opponent as he looks more the part and can play the same youthful media cards as Cameron.
But then what do I know, I'm probably in the 3% that voted harperson.

Alan Johnson would create a emporary boost, which could offer the chance of a snap election in which complete meltdown would be avoided.

Fear? Wrong word. Why should we fear a 100 seat majority rather than a 200 seat ne.

Labour's best chance of winning 250 seats at the Election would be to make Jon Cruddas MP their leader. He has the same back story to Alan Johnson, but is not tarred with eleven years of failure and Iraq like Postman Pat. Cruddas will also appeal to working class/BNP tempted Labour far more than Miliband, who appears to live his life in some sort of strange bubble.

As for the others;

Purnell- too young, too gauche, too posh
Harman- won't appeal to men
Straw - won't appeal to anybody
Balls - makes Miliband look normal, odious with it.

James Purnell is older than George Osborne, London Tory, so unless you're suggesting the Shadow Chancellor is too young and should step aside then age shouldn't really be a consideration.

In terms of the most effective way of reducing the current Tory lead, Alan Johnson is definitely the one to fear most. He would of course, like Michael Howard, be a short-term fix, with one of either Purnell, Andy Burnham or Ed Miliband becoming leader a year or so after the election.

There is too much complacency on this thread and across this blog.

Conservativehome was better when it was more sceptical and challenging of the Cameron strategy.

Tory support may be a mile wide but it's an inch deep.

We are vulnerable to any new Labour leader who offers radical policy ideas.

Osborne's inheritance tax cut showed that a footloose electorate is willing to shift parties quickly.

Miliband, Johnson and even Harman could have such tricks up their sleeve.

To Malcolm and others - if you look behind the headline poll findings you'll see very little actual enthusiasm for the Tory platform. If you look at which party label people ally themselves to - as opposed to current voting intention - the Tory lead is just three points. A lot of the government's policies are actually quite popular. Review from this time twelve months ago to see how capricious the British people are. Gordon Brown's personality is the problem for Labour, and that can be remedied by a change of leader. So the Conservative lead may be wide, but it is shallow - something of which contributors should remind themselves before imagining 200 seat majorities.

*that should read "review polls from this time twelve months ago..." but I can see Vincent Wall and I have simultaneously written much the same thing.

@ Vincent /Ross

Robin Cook said exactly the same thing of Tony Blair's coalition prior to 1997, and it did not do him much harm.

There is no complacency. England has always been a 'Conservative country'. Even in 2005 we won the popular vote here by 150,000. We only lost England in 97 and 01 when Blair pretended to be a Conservative.

Wales and the North West of England is coming back under Cameron too, leaving just Scotland to be 'managed'. Most of the Scots political establishment is of the Lance Corporal class, so there is not much to be feared there either.

Johnson is a sly fox. He's put out the old 'I'm not interested in the top job' line to put journos off the scent. He is good at swearing black is white; his ambition will be revealed eventually. Any initial Labour enthusiasm will soon die down when the electorate see through his fine words. He is a double-crossing schemer and plotter par excellence and the truth will out, as Brown has discovered.

According to Political Betting the Populus poll giving 27% for Labour is down a point for them, not up a point. Populus were a ray of hope for Labour last month with the lead narrowing to 13 points - but now it's widened to 16 points.

Harman- won't appeal to men
She has appeal, but not really the sort of appeal to get political support - there are different sorts of appealing.

She'd be a disaster to the Labour Party as Leader, she is a disaster as Deputy Leader and she would be a tragedy to the country if she were ever Prime Minister.

The idea that Labour can stay in power forever by simply changing their leader whenever they're down in the opinion polls seems rather absurd to me.
The Conservatives and the LibDems have been through the mill with that sort of thing since 1997 - it seems to be all the rage these days.

Having been ahead (often far ahead) for most of the time between 1992-2008, Labour are hardly in a position to complain about being behind in the polls.
It's our turn!

A Milliband - Johnson dream ticket? more like a nightmare ticket I would have thought.

Brown won't be going and Labour haven't the courage to wield the knife.

Brown will concede concessions to the Unions which he will deliver by 2010 and for this they will keep him there.

They are after all 'the'labour party now that they are keeping them out of 'carey street'

From the last Populus Poll Lab is -1, Lib is -1 and the Conservatives are +2 'Do the math' as they* say.

*I assume 'they' are american.

On balance, and looking at all the evidence objectively, I think it will be Harman taking over before the end of the year.

The electoral consequences are hard to analyse as there will be churn -
She will appeal to female urban middle class Human Resources whiners, but be an utter disaster for the white working class male vote.

I agree with Vincent Wall in that this is not the time for complacency.

The conservatives are currently riding high because they are not labour, not because of their policies.

DC needs to do more to establish what it is he stands for as voters still aren't sure.

None of 'em.

Labour's leadership cadre consists solely of charmless nerds like Miliband, Millie Tants like Harman and inoffensive grey men like Johnson.

The only possible way forward would be for them to elect some (really) wild card like Frank Field.

DC needs to do more to establish what it is he stands for as voters still aren't sure.

Posted by:Crunchy Conservative

I disagree. Although many voters aren't sure what DC stands for, they are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

In the present climate it is enough that he is a decent small 'c' conservative with some good ideas.

Asking what party leaders stand for is too general a question in my view.
Do people actually know what Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg "stand for"?

Miliband is not a 'geek'. At least he is a clever kid from a fairly normal background unlike very priveliged Old Etonian David Cameron who has no understanding at all about ordinary people which shows in his lack of empathy with poor people (its always their fault apparantly) or his 'welfare' policies which are basically about kicking people and not helping them. God forbid if Cameron wins the election. I can see the Scots calling time upon the 301 year old union because of Cameron.

Miliband has no appeaal - he is the Mr Bean/John Redwood/Mr Spock of the labour party - like a lighthouse in the desert, bright but of no real use to anyone.

The conservatives have nothing to fear on that score, and I speak as a once hardline labour voter (circa 1997 and before, when (to my eternal shame) many of us were taken in by teflon Tony and the tories were in dire straights. Never again!

That said, I wouldn't trust Cameron as far as I could throw him - he's a bit lightweight, and for my money, anyone who was (as he was) a member of the infamous Bullingdon Club in Oxford has to be a bit of a d*ck really. That said, you have got William Hague and on that basis I am voting Tory (or, for tactical reasons, liberal) come the next election.

Oh the glee to be had when we see these labour idiots lose their seats - bring it on!!!!

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