Coup cock-up plays into Cameron and Clegg’s hands

Storm in a teacup” is how Gordon Brown has chosen to label the third and most recent attempt to question his leadership of the party. This attack was launched by ex-Labour ministers, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, who contacted via text, email and letter all members of the Labour Party in a bid to rally a secret ballot against Gordon Brown and call for a new leader to be chosen if the ballot proved successful.

No sooner than the texts and talk went around about the demand for a ballot had the whole thing crashed and burned at the feet of Hoon and Hewitt as prominent members of the Party stood up in support of the Prime Minister, most instantly promising their full support to the leader and arguing that the whole thing was inappropriate and unsupported. Jack Straw, a close supporter of the Prime Minster, came out in support in the early stages of this attempted “coup” and after has described it as having “sunk” and said hoped this event would help to now unite the Party before the upcoming election.

This could be a major blow for Labour, but in particular Brown and his chance for the next election, and is exactly the opposite of what is needed for the Labour Party at this time. The most damaging effect of this is that the public now see the Labour Party as hugely fractioned, during a period when party unity and support for the leader is absolutely vital. Although the vast majority of support was offered to the PM, there was still a small minority that came out against Brown and, along with Hoon and Hewitt, these back-benchers were often ex-ministers.

It has also been revealed in the aftermath that those involved in the ‘revolution’ believed that in the right circumstances six party members would be willing to stand up against the PM, including reportedly Jack Straw.

It was evidently not the “right circumstances” and with the upcoming election the need for unity now is greater than ever for Brown, the last thing he and the party needs is people questioning if he is in control and if he has the support of his own party. If the country believes that Brown has lost the party support then their confidence in the leader will be demolished and the road to the general election would become even harder for both Brown and the Labour Party. As expected both David Cameron and Nick Clegg used this moment to point out this disunity and highlight that the job Brown doing is evidently not even good enough for his own party, let alone the country. Nick Clegg even stated that the only way Brown could solve this division was as the leader of the opposition.

{{ quote The most damaging effect of this is that the public now sees the Labour party as hugely fractioned when unity is vital. }}

With less than five months now until the general election is due and the foundations already being set, well before Christmas, for the upcoming battle that faces all the major parties in Britain, the Labour Party needs stability and to focus on the task in hand. The need for the Party to work together is paramount to this campaign and Brown cannot be forced out with such a short time before the next election. Any leader who took the place of Brown now would face a mammoth task to win over the electorate, win the election and need to prove to the country that they are worthy of being in government for potentially the next five years. This is unfair on any prospective candidate, and would damage the political career of anyone who attempted it.

Brown needs to stay in charge and take on the enormous task that lies ahead of him, winning the next election. He has taken the country so far and to force him out with such a short time before the upcoming election is both unfair on Brown and detrimental to the Labour Party, who would need to rally a support base for a new leader and attempt to move focus from the split in the party and the apparent discontent that has arisen from a number of prominent party members.

Even as the others choose to desert what could be a sinking ship, Brown needs to take his fate and battle to the end, even if that means leading his party to defeat. As they say, the Captain goes down with the ship.

Comments

Leave a Reply