Saturday, 20 September 2008

So, farewell then, Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson has ruled himself out of any Labour leadership contest, thus reducing the number of 'safe pair of hands' candidates and by implication increasing the chances of Harriet Harman as a compromise candidate.

I thought that Dave Miliband's endorsement of Gordon was less than ringing (Dave seemed to be involved at an unexplained event at a semi-detatched house, although it looked no more riduculous than Gordon's staged arrival in Manchester in front of an enthusiastic claque of about twenty Labour activists). Anyway, Dave said something to the effect of 'going forward under the leadership of Gordon Brown'. Going where or for how long was not clear.

The clear message from the Labour hierarchy is that Gordon should not be dropped in the middle of a financial crisis where his interventions have been timely and well considered. The danger time will be after the May European and local government elections when time is running out for Labour. BTW, one Labour MEP told me yesterday she is worried about BNP gains in the context of a low turnout in the European elections.

Gordon isn't looking good. Can't something be done about the shadows under his eyes, even if they are the result late nights saving the nation?

Still, he does look like a serious act compared to Nick Clegg. As the FT remarked, the Lib Dems tried jolly (too jolly), then they tried mature (too mature) and now they have gone for Cameron lite.

They went on to argue the Lib Dems are a bit like the tethered balloon they had at their conference. You ascend, get a vague view of hopeful distant shores, wobble about a bit and then descend to earth.

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