Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nightmare On Downing Street

As the nightmare on Wall Street unfolded, attention switched to the nightmare on Downing Street, in the whodunit, 'Who killed Gordon Brown?', with Blair's bruiser, John Reid's name now in the frame.

Cabinet ministers traipsed out of their meeting trying to pretend they were focussed on the global economy - until insider briefings made it clear a lesson in 'unity' had been delivered and everyone had been told to toe that line. 

But with the two cabinet front-runners now seemingly taking back seats in public and any backlash from a true Labour left looking unlikely, any leadership challenge is, for the moment, being put on the back burner. 

The attacks on Brown continue, the latest claiming he's more unpoplular than Neville 'pieces in our time' Chamberlain.

It seems they could hold fire until after the Labour Party conference and until the Glenrothes by-election is out of the way, giving a straight run to a general election in the spring. 

The Blairite plot has its origins in Blair's Progress group with Miliband and Johnson emerging as cabinet challengers. 

But Brown's Downing Street nightmare got worse yesterday when scottish minister David Cairns became the first government minister to quit in protest over his leadership.

Many of the Brown protestors have links with former home secretary, John Reid. His former parliamentary private secretary, Siobhain McDonagh, was the first MP to go public. She was joined by Joan Ryan, who served under Reid as a home office minister. And Cairns's first job in Westminster was as a researcher for McDonagh. Joan Ryan, another 'rebel' MP, was a junior minister under Reid at the home office.

Reid is no friend of Brown and diappeared off the political radar after Brown was crowned leader last year.

Reid has experience at the top of many government departments and would be quite capable of mounting a leadership challenge. 

He’s been careful to distance himself from the Brown government and could hold his own, for however long Labour can clings on to power. Even if he lost the next election, he can just go back to his beloved Celtic FC.

(Thanks to comics artist, Nick Miller, for his 'Judge John Reid' trying to lay down the law at the home office)

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