Whatever the formal line is in public, Gordon Brown is finished. After Clegg’s rejection the Labour Party is hoping he will now quickly accept it and make way without any requirement for any unpleasantness. John Mann obviously hasn’t got the memo and openly called for him to go yesterday.
Guido is quite surprised that David Miliband is such a hot favourite to be the next leader of the Labour Party. He is somewhat handicapped by being the anointed Blair-Mandelson candidate, perhaps it is just because he is not Ed Balls or Harriet Harman.
Ed Balls is the Brownite kamikaze candidate, if you liked the last three years, you’ll love a Balls-led Labour Party. He is now very weakened personally, his reputation and standing diminished by turning a safe Labour seat into a marginal requiring a recount on election night. Despite Charlie Whelan’s Unite throwing union money and manpower behind him in a big way he was ominously unappealing to the public. His characteristically graceless post-count speech with an aggressive “New Labour lives on” tone was authentic Balls and he did himself no favours with it within the Labour Party. All of which perhaps explains why he is behind Harriet Harman at the bookies.
Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson have some backers, but Guido wonders if they are really up for the fight. Alastair Darling or Jack Straw might be a safe pair of hands until the next election if the Labour Party collectively really thinks we will have another in the autumn. Sources close to Hain say he won’t let his vanity get the better of him this time.
Guido has a few quid on Harriet. She is her own woman, she isn’t tainted by being seen as the creature of Blair and Mandelson like Miliband. She is not an unpleasant Brownite bullying thug like Balls. What she lacks in intellect she makes up for with determination and the fight in her.
She is not to be underestimated.