Sunday, May 02, 2010

Brown could strengthen Labour's hand very significantly....

... if he were to mention - now - that - in the event of his not having a good election (he can choose his formula - not getting the highest share of the vote / largest number of seats) that he would regard it as a signal that he can't carry on as PM and that he would step down as Labour's leader.

It would be a bombshell at this stage of the election, and it would very probably increase Labour's vote and give the Lib-Dems a stronger case for hooking up with Labour rather than the Tories in the event of a hung parliament.

I can see no arguments against this and I'm surprised that it's not an option that is being discussed more widely. It's not an endorsement of tactical voting. It shouldn't carry any risks to Labour's current campaign and it isn't a hostage to fortune of any kind.

(I know I've said this before but it needs repeating).


Tom Freeman said...

My awe of Brown's electioneering skills is matched only by my admiration for Harold Shipman's bedside manner, but I don't agree with you here.

I think this would divert almost all Labour's media attenion onto the subject of who'd take over: there'd be Balls vs Harman vs Miliband vs whoever stories, making us look as though we're fighting like rats in a sack rather than facing up to the voters or focusing on the country's problems.

I also can't see Clegg daring to spend the rest of his career being accused of "propping up another unelected PM" and "exploiting his boost from the leaders' debates to destroy the whole point of them".

David Kames said...

Isn't that exactly what was said about Tony Blair 5 years ago?
...and look how that turned out.
Maybe we should take the radical step of only going into elections with leaders that we actually want to become / remain PM...

Having said that: GB resign / should be forced out 1st thing Friday morning (assuming of course we don't get the biggest share of the popular vote).

Bob Piper said...

Tom is dead right. Stating at this stage that he would stand down if Labour didn't win would be a massive diversion and a piece of absolute nonsense. The whole of the media would turn on Labour with a 'Vote Brown get someone else you don't know about' message.

Paulie, I said it last time, and I'll repeat it, you must have taken leave of your senses and abandoned any sort of political instincts. For years people have been telling us we didn't vote for Brown... now you want us to do it again in the middle of an election campaign. Unbelievable mate.

Paulie said...

Tom / Bob,

I don't buy the 'distraction' argument. It would have to be done in the context of 'not expecting to lose' in the first place. A statement of confidence from Brown. I'm not suggesting that the position should be introduced in a clumsy way!

Brown saying that he will stand down in the result of a bad result on Thursday will hardly increase the probability that he will stand down on the early hours of Friday anyway - and if there's any juice in speculation about his successor, it would be being talked about already.

Unless the polls are seriously pessimistic for Labour, Brown will be unable to stall calls for his resignation on Friday.

There is a potential electoral uplift now if he makes the right statement couched in the right way.

One thing that I do agree with Tom on though - and it does kinda dent my argument - is that it's possible to imagine Brown dropping a bollock halfway through playing this particular card. It's not foolproof, afterall....

Ivan said...

I think he just did:
Joined by his wife Sarah on GMTV, he said he would take responsibility for "whatever happens" on 6 May.

The prime minister said that if he "couldn't make a difference anymore, I'd go off and do something else".

stephen said...

Surely this is all mootsville as we already know that Brown is history unless he gets an overall majority, which I'd have thought is pretty unlikely. The best he can hope for is that he gets the largest share of the seats; but I am sure that his going would be the price of a coalition with the LibDems. If he gets anything other than the largest share of the seats, his resignation will be announced within 36 hours.