To say I was surprised would be an understatement when Reuters rang me up to say that two former Labour ministers are proposing a secret ballot on whether Gordon Brown should continue as party leader. I am pleased that a more experienced commentator also finds it extraordinary: Coup
Leaving aside the dubious constitutionality of the move, taking this action just months before a general election is unprecedented. If it was successful, it would be some while before a new leader was installed. In the interim, chaos would reign. And just who is this charismatic leader in waiting who is going to save Labour's bacon? This is a gift wrapped present for David Cameron just after he had an uncertain start to his policy launch.
The underlying narrative is that there are Labour MPs who think that it is Gordon Brown who is denying them a chance of winning the general elction. Brown is unpopular, but this is not really just about personalities. It is about the exhaustion of the New Labour project with a battle going on between those (e.g., Peter Mandelson) who are still loyal to the project and those who want to see a return to core Labour values.