Monday, January 12, 2009

Is Campbell Set For A Lordship?

Brown's electioneering has already moved up a gear, reportedly offering New Labour's hard man, Alastair Campbell, a seat in the House of Lords, to allow the Downing Street spin-doctor a ministerial job ahead of the general election. Campbell, according to reports, is said to be "resisting the move". But the Orange Party smells a PR rat. Speculation like this is often placed in the media to gauge public reaction and as a softening up exercise. 

The move makes sense for canny Brown and his Downing Street team of spin doctors. Campbell remains a major player behind the scenes as Brown's informal adviser. But unlike the old days, he doesn't have the formal clout to sit in on meetings and steer and influence policy.

A two pronged attack would wrong-foot the Tories and Mandelson and Campbell make a perfect combination. But Brown won't make the same mistake as Blair, who used his royal prerogative to promote Campbell and side step and override the civil service. 

The move now has a precedent after Mandelson took the ermine,  so that he could join the government as business minister. 

Campbell, remains a highly controversial figure on the fringe of government, not least for his part in the 'dodgy dossier' that was used to justify the Iraq invasion. Claims that this had been "sexed up" sent Campbell into a spin, waging a fierce campaign against the BBC, which eventually led to the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly. 

Campbell, one of the original New Labour architects along with Blair, Mandelson and political polster Philip Gould, was one of the key figures in the political rebirth of Brown as he faced down last summer's Blairite coup.

The move would be the latest in a series of measures by team Brown with speculation rife over the come back of other big beasts all in the name of Progress towards a New Labour election victory. 

Arch-Blairite Alan Milburn is to lead a government commission on social mobility. Disgraced former home secretary, David Blunkett, is also tipped for a return. 

No doubt, like Mandelson, when the time is right, Campbell will finally be dragged screaming to the cameras claiming he had no choice but to bow to the pressure. It will be an "honour and privilege to serve" and he's reluctantly making all these sacrifices "in the best interests of the Party" and a cushy and powerful seat  in the House of Lords and government.

1 comment:

Simon said...

At a time when we are facing a 'time for change' election, bringing back all these old (and very tainted) faces is a sign of weakness rather than strength.

The one thing all organisations need to do is succession planning - which means looking forward.

Bringing back failed politicos and hacks with no legitimate claim to a place in government is not going to win them an election.