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Having read Millibore's article, it is hard to see him getting elected by Labour members under this agenda, which can be summed up as Re- Heated Blairism ['more choice in public services'] etc. As ordinary Labour Party members- those that are left- are increasingly cut off from the reality of how much they are hated- I find it increasingly likely that Harman could mount a successful challenge, which is great news for us because she appeals only to those parts of the electorate who wear dungarees and read the Guardian.

hectoring harriet harman is clearly positioning herself for a leadership bid, whats more she is getting her friends in the media to propagate her profile at every opportunity. however harman as leader would be more damaging for labour than keeping brown in place. brown may be slow and bumbling, but he is not someone that people could hate. harriet harman however has a strident and boorish style and once given over to primetime exposure is sure to agitate the public. just what is it about labours women mps that make them so unpleasant, from beckett and hewett, to that queen of 'bend and snap' caroline flint, they all have the ability to grate the nerves and annoy the sensibilities?

It's delightful to see of course!

However, I've never understood this apparently widespread belief that if Brown is dumped a new leader would have to call an election.

There would no doubt be many demands for one, but he/she would not be compelled to, and in the current circumstances clearly would not want to!

I would expect he/she would brush off such demands and continue on until the bitter end, hoping that something will 'come up' (a la Major in 1997).

Labour could indeed be in real trouble at the next election. In Scotland they face the SNP and an improving Conservative Party. We may gain around five seats while the SNP could really clean up. In Wales we will also improve on the three seats we currently have and Plaid Cymru should improve as well. That only leaves England where the Labour Party is already behind us. With no local government base to speak of and with little money and activists on the ground it will be hrad for them to do well. We on the other hand are in a very strong position and should romp to victory in England.

When you put all this together it looks very bleak for Labour indeed!

Check out the comments on the Guardian site. Mine is attributable as a Tory, but the visceral disembowelling by those "of the faith" is fascinating stuff!

If I were an up and coming young Labour ladder climber with a seriously threatened career path chatting with a battered old war horse looking at the prospect of enforced retirement to the long grass I would be discussing concepts way beyond Brown’s inevitable departure.

Re-branding with some all new bright and shiny USPs won’t cut it because brand Labour is back at the suppliers for a total product recall. The entire product range has already been fatally compromised and the electorate has demonstrably switched loyalties to brand Cameron and to a lesser extent brand Conservative.

So what to do? The only real choice is radical change with a populist leap out from the centre ground toward some all the bells and whistles crowd pleasers. Such as.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The Guardian,Wednesday July 30 2008 (See diary links)

‘It is not often that a political leader can demand reforms which are completely equitable, on the elementary democratic principle of the greatest good of the greatest number, as well as very much in his own interests. Does (insert new leader) have the will to win or not?’

England expects. England can deliver. And, actually, in place of ‘insert new leader’ Geoffrey actually inserted ‘Cameron’. How much longer can we wait? How soon will New New Nulabour play the English card once Gordon has scurried off back to his treacherous kith and kin?

In the real world the cost of Labour's equality and diversity agenda is the increasing number of passengers carried by organisations both private and public.

Harman et al owe their position to the Labour Party's foolish obsession with equality targets.

The prospect of one of the most incompetent passengers taking over the control of the state would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. If she doesn't succeed the only alternative appears to be the android Miliband

Somehow Blair managed to divert the public's attention from the clowns sitting beside him for ten years. Poor old Brown doesn't have the style to dominate the political landscape. The reality of nulab is now on show. Two more years of institutional destruction and economic decay will leave the country in a total mess.

Over the last couple of days we have had the re-emergence of the union bosses and the familar cry for windfall taxes on the utilities.

Back to the future is all they have left to offer.

I have been hoping for a while now that Brown will be forced out so that an election can be held. However, somehow I can imagine the smug and sanctimonious faces of Milliband, Harman etc saying no to an early election because "it's not required by law" or "Labour need time to fix the country".

Don't Labour [and Polly Toynbee] understand the irony of bleating for another windfall tax, at the same time that it was announced that the New Deal has cost £3.6bn, and yet youth unemployment has actually risen since 1997.

richardj, unfortunately you may be right. the labour government is so arrogant and unaccountable that it would take no great effort for them to override public opinion.

If there is a real threat of him being replaced, I would have thought he would call an early general election himself to screw his opponents and prevent himself from becoming a PM that never fought an election.

One thing I don't understand - why would anyone want to become leader of a party to be forced to hold a snap election which they would lose all to become the shortest serving PM ever?!

Surely if you're a leadership contender, hold back, let Brown fail and re-build the party over 4 years and possibly (in thier eyes) win an election in 2014?

Michael, I often wondered if he might do that too. Never mind going down with his ship; he'd scuttle it just to stop a mutiny.

I don't know why the media are eating up this speech like it's the best thing ever. It's half a dozen paragraphs attacking Cameron for apparently not standing for anything, while simultaneous showing that Miliband doesn't have an idea in his head apart from really, really wanting to be Prime Minister. He also makes that smug assumption that only left wing methods can bring change; Blears, Harperson and Balls are particular experts at spouting that particular nonsense.

Odious Labour lickspittle and professional disappointed ex minister Denis Macshane MP is at it again today, too.

He could barely last a minute until he made a first reference to our "multi millionaire frontbench".

Venon and envy are filling the void left by no idelogy in Brown's Labour.

Labour is transforming from a mass political party to a cult.

Cults are generally not open to reason. They hang on in the face of facts regard
less of the destruction they see around them .
Germany was once seized by a cult and Hitler hung on long after the facts had turned against him.
The mentality of the cultist is to blame everyone else not the cult.

If Brown is replaced by someone else there is no constitutional reason at all for there to be a general election. The new PM could just stick it out with the same reality defying mentality Labour have used on many other issues eg regional government, Lisbon, tax,crime etc etc.

So don't bank on a GE.

Of course it is the strength of Conservative venom being directed against David that indicates he would be an excellent leader of the Labour Party and in every sense (except Cameron's exceptionally privileged background) a match and more for DC.

Miliband will see Labour break free of the Blair-Brown prism and even the cicumstances of his accession will be to his advantage in the end - leaders who take over in an emergency have emergency powers to remake their parties and governments.

Be afraid Tory boys. Be very afraid.

@ Labour Member

# Cameron's exceptionally privileged background #

As I understand it, David Cameron grew up with two loving and hard working parents who he says were always there for him, [indeed, his mother is a magistrate].

And what sort of people make up Labour's remaining core vote these days ? Answer- The Vicky Pollard Generation.

Vote Labour if you want a tax credit, a free bus pass, a social fund loan, or maybe a place on the New Deal. Anything in fact, apart from standing on your own two feet.

If Labour change leader and DON'T call an election, they will face the hatred and wrath of the British public. In 2010, they will be squeezed everywhere.

If they change leader and DO call an early election, they will most certainly not be able to form a government and will probably end up about the same size as the LD. However, with such a budget deficit in the tough economic times we have, we could lose support as a government - allowing them to start rebuilding in the first election after Dave becomes PM. Unless of course, Dave and GO manage to "fix" or improve the economic situation - then we get a 1983 situation and probably 3 terms.

Third option is NOT to change leader, and DON'T call an election until 2010. Gordo may be able to improve the economy, but really doesn't have much chance of being re-elected. Conservative government, but not as big a majority.

Final option is NOT to change leader and DO call an early election. No chance of being re-elected, reasonable Conservative Majority. Gordon gets kicked out, and new leader starts rebuilding hoping we muck up.

Not really a happy picture for Labour.

"Of course it is the strength of Conservative venom being directed against David that indicates he would be an excellent leader of the Labour Party"

So the respect being shown for Johnson and Purnell indicates they would be rubbish leaders of the Labour Party?

"and in every sense (except Cameron's exceptionally privileged background) a match and more for DC."

Removing the obvious envy from that statement, I still have a problem with it. Name one area that David Milliband beats Cameron in?

"Miliband will see Labour break free of the Blair-Brown prism and even the cicumstances of his accession will be to his advantage in the end - leaders who take over in an emergency have emergency powers to remake their parties and governments."

In an emergency people show their true colours. Milliband would be just another Labour PM who decides not to make decisions. Purnell is your only hope.

P.S. Milliband would be better than Harman and Straw, but, then again, so would Jeremy Clarkson.

Hi Labour Member

'even the cicumstances' [sic]. That was fun. Never done a sic about a cic before.

Should I have put a [sic] after Labour Member?
After all, that must be a typo given the current status of dodo-like obsolescence.

I don't think Labour have a hope, looking at the pygmies in the cabinet being touted as replacements for Brown. No, it's their turn for the political wilderness, they need to work out what they stand for and then get some policies to match. At present, they are a total chaotic shambles and unfit to govern, and the electorate knows it.

It is clear that the Labour strategy is based on the best of Goebells. Speak a lie often enough and it will become the truth.

Hence, "Toris have no Policies", "increasingly empty rhetoric" and other such phrases are liberally scattered about as the mindless mantra of the Labour attack.

They have nicked several of our policies, so presumably they are empty and vacuous too?

Watch out for this and be ready with the response - even if they say "we're doing that, and that, and that", they can never have the last word and you will always have it up your sleeves. Our education voucher policy is one they will never steal and it will be our trump card.

We still have 117 or so seats to get for an overall working majority.
I think that will be achieved plus a bit more, but
the complacency and cockiness of some of our own people is really starting to grate.

On Labour's leadership, I had always assumed Brown would remain, until two days ago. Just the way some Labour commentators spoke suddenly made me realise they won't be able to bear 2 years with the polls like this and the Cabinet could try to lean on him to stand down.

But it's still probable they will draw back, as another change of leader will certainly mean an immediate General Election, and I don't think it could do more than mitigate some of their losses.

I don't believe the figures David Miliband referred to in his article about knife crime falling.

Hospitals dispute the figures which the Police have, possibly the latter are lower because of unreported crimes where gangs are involved.

David Cameron was correct when he said these people will automatically go to prison.

Dodgy figures.

"A third Labour PM cannot duck an election. For Labour to change the PM twice without consulting voters would be contemptible."

Wish it were true. Labour PMs are uniformly contemptible. All one has to do is consider Lisbon to see their true colours!

@ Ulster Tory - I would be very worried if Jeremy Clarkson stood (other than for us - he comes across as a Tory); he really is popular and many politicos would kill for his ratings.

It occurs to me that the Conservatives' secret weapon against Milly Band or whoever is of course, Gordon Brown.

Surely unemployable, he cannot fail to remain as an MP (and will almost certainly stand again).

Blair had an actor's sense of when to cut and run, but Brown will probably hang on like Heath, forgotten but not gone.

That prospect may well be the only impediment to the anticipated coup.

“Labour Member” as I’m not one of the “Tory boys” your childish taunt – “Be very afraid“ – doesn’t apply to me!

It’s extraordinary how the politics of envy are in the DNA of the Labour Party – hence the sneering comment about David Cameron’s “exceptionally privileged background” – coupled with constant ‘parroting’ that Cameron went to Eton as if that was something illegal they’ve unearthed.

And how curious “Labour Member” doesn’t turn his/her ‘green [with envy]’ gaze onto his/her Party and the fact that their last leader - B-Liar - went to the Eton of the North in the Athens of the North [that is Fettes College, Edinburgh].

I would have thought that – on a point of principle – the political arm of the trade union movement [aka the Labour Party] would shun people who’ve been privately educated. And condemn the Cabinet of all the Comrades’ rank hypocrisy as many send their children to private schools. Typical Lefty double-standards.

Listening to Andrew Pierce on LBC (in for Nick Ferrari) who is covering this topic on his programme. Most of the callers strongly feel Labour is in serious trouble and will probably lose whenever they go to the Country! If that's the case then the debate on who becomes leader is almost irrelevant (though always fun to speculate!)

Note yesterday's Irish Times has a detailed (presumably briefed) article saying that their government looks like proposing a Lisbon rerun in October 2009 (presumably subject to the outcome of their June 2009 election?). I think this is very relevant to timing because preserving the project is very important for most of the Labour leadership candidates, with the possible exception of Harman.

Yes, Jill,London 22.02 yesterday, you put it very well, perfectly in fact!

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