Saturday, 24 May 2008

Blair without the salesmanship

As Labour MPs claim that Gordon Brown is 'Blair without the salesmanship', a review of the odds for Labour leader shows that there is no clear alternative candidate. This is evident when one considers that Jack Straw is in the running at 7/1. He has been home secretary and foreign secretary, but he was moved on because he was not seen as a great success.

Boy wonder David Miliband is favourite at 5/2. But he could well be Blair without the common touch who comes across as a think tank wonk. Alan Johnson at 6/1 would be a safe pair of hands, but says he doesn't want the job. But then others have said that.

The dearth of candidates is shown by the fact that James Purnell is in the running at 10/1. A virtual unknown, he has been promoted as the 'heir to Blair' by the Spectator which does him no favours.

Bring up the rear of the field are Brown clone Ed Balls ('it's all Balls') at 8-1. Jon Cruddas at 10-1 who has soft left backing and back bench malcontent Charles Clarke at 33-1. As Private Eye would put it, that's enough candidates.

Increasingly, the true heir to Blair looks like Dave Cameron: informal, approachable, modern, compassionate and aspirational.


skipper said...

It occurred to me that there are really two possigble leaderships at stake: the long-term one and a possible short-term one up to the next election. The likes of Miliband, Purnell would be candiates for the former but the latter, if a replacement is deemed necessary, might be the likes of Straw, Clarke or even Milburn.

Wyn Grant said...

Straw is, of course, stating that it would be constitutionally necessary to have a general election following a leadership contest. Quite why that is so is unclear given that there was no contest after Brown was (s)elected.