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Archive for the ‘coup’ Category

This pretty strange report in tomorrow’s Telegraph, about an interview with Alistair Darling in which he claims that “Brown unleashed the forces of hell” on him for predicting the recession, suggests that at the very least, as Iain Dale says, he’s just signed his own “political death warrant”.

In an frank interview, the Chancellor said that people working for Mr Brown tried to damage him because he told the truth about the economy.

His remarks follow reports in a new book by Andrew Rawnsley that Mr Brown’s aides tried to undermine Mr Darling after the Chancellor forecast the worse economic downturn for 60 years.

In a Sky News interview, Mr Darling confirmed that No 10 worked against him. Mr Darling made his 60-year prediction in an interview in Scotland in the summer of 2008. Afterwards, No 10 aides briefed journalists that he had harmed the economy and should be sacked.

“Nobody likes the sort of briefing that goes on,” Mr Darling said, “the forces of hell were unleashed”.

It might sound like Darling is getting his own back for Brown’s desperate disloyalty when the bust came, which he knew was all his fault and not Darling’s, but I’m not so sure. If past experience is anything to go on, Darling, if challenged, will simply issue another humiliating “clarification” tomorrow and say that Brown has his “full support” and always has, clearly total rubbish though that now certainly is. But there was more in the report about Brown’s henchmen, one of whom is still in business, bankrolling the Labour Party with the membership funds of the union he’s been given to play with (Charlie Whelan):

Asked if he believed Mr McBride and Mr Whelan had briefed against him, Mr Darling said: “Of course you have people saying things.”

In a reference to Mr McBride’s resignation last year, the Chancellor added: “My best answer for them was: I’m still here and at least one of them is not.”

During the summer of 2009, Mr Brown planned to remove Mr Darling from the Treasury and replace him with Ed Balls, a long-standing ally.

The plan to oust the Chancellor brought a new confrontation between the two men.

But, as I said, I think Iain Dale is right, this could well be a step out of line too far given the current coverage Brown is (quite deservedly) receiving, clarifications or no clarifications. However, for the time being, I suspect it will be business as usual in the bunker, at least superficially, mainly because Darling, for all his genuine niceness, is as much of a politically self-interested jellyfish as any other Labour MP or minister.

But, in putting the boot in to Brown, Darling was not trying to perform some sort of a public service (perish the thought!). He was indulging a minor act of political revenge that merely provides us with further proof of the factionalism and mutual loathing that’s always existed at the rotten heart of this Labour government, but especially so under the utterly disloyal political thug that is Gordon Brown. Darling offers conclusive proof – as if we needed it – of two things. One, that the facade of government unity under Brown, peddled by the likes of the slimeball Mandelson (et al), for reasons of personal aggrandisement and vanity, has always been just that, a complete myth. Brown’s government is one of the most factional and dysfunctional of all time. Second, that working under Brown is hell.

Given that the future of the country is (or “was” – it might well be too late) at stake, this calamitous state of affairs at the top of the government is a lot more serious than a mere case of bullying. This is a major case of a man promoted way beyond his abilities (Brown or Darling – you pick). What’s crystal clear is that when Brown is finally ousted, the kind of revelations that come out about his behaviour while in politics, let alone while in charge, will ensure that his historical reputation will lie in total ruins. Couldn’t happen to nicer man.

No wonder he’s so desperate to cling on – preferably, no doubt, without the inconvenience of the democratic process.

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Or, at least, he was in 1992.

What a great call, Gordo!

Lame duck Brown: wrong then; wrong now. Wrong about nearly everything. It was with good reason he was dissuaded by Mandelson and Blair in ’94 to stand for the leadership. They already knew what a loser he was, so they gave him the British economy to screw around with for a decade instead, until he managed to stage a coup of his own in 2007, after a long-running, deperately divisive and deceitful campaign against his boss, Blair. But if the last three years of his unwanted, undeserved and unearned premiership have proved anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s that the man is still a total loser.

If they could be honest with the public for ten seconds, Darling and Mandelson would be the first to agree with that summary, if recent events are anything to go by. That’s why, in one, final, desperate throw of the dice before the general election, they’ve taken over – leaving the loser to his thoughts.

I think it is safe to say now that it won’t work. All they’ve managed to do is to create a paradox. Everyone knows that keeping the loser in place simply means to most people that if they vote Labour, it probably means five more years of Brown. So they won’t vote Labour. Game over. If they did get of Brown now, then people would conclude that Labour is utterly divided (we know that anyway, but it would then be ‘official’). So they won’t vote Labour. Game over. I suppose one could speculate – and I wouldn’t put it past them – that there might be some sort of calculation there that in the event of a hung parliament, which is the best they can really hope for barring a miracle, Brown would ‘retire’ soon after as part of some dodgy deal with the Lib Dems.

But back to now – and, perhaps, reality. The fact is that Darling and Mandelson have stripped Brown of his authority, fearing a total meltdown for Labour had he been permitted to go on lying and spinning – and misleading a wised-up electorate – on the economy while trying to run just another negative, ineffective (remember Crewe?) Brown-Ballsian smear assault on Cameron’s Conservatives. Their eyes are on the future, yes. But not the future of Britain, the future of Labour. They’ve neutered Balls, before he and his fellow left wingers have a chance to mass their forces, to head off a post-defeat bloodbath before it starts. Whatever I might think about Mandelson, he’s certainly got game.

However, I don’t think people can forgive the depths of his cynicism, the tedious naval-gazing and vanity driving Labour’s endless infighting, or with what increasingly looks like a faked coup effectively leaving a technically legitimate Prime Minister with no authority, a prisoner of his own cabinet. In fact, there was a real coup – and it was successful. As I said, unelected Mandelson is now in charge of the UK. As this begins to dawn on people over the next few weeks, I reckon the horribly decayed state of the Labour party, and their attempts to mislead people about this reality, will begin to register in the polls.

So the Tories are dead right: this is all about Labour when it should be about the country. After these events, the country desperately needs to be permitted to grant a fresh mandate to govern – doesn’t matter who to – and to do it immediately, preferably with the first thaws.

A point for Labourists to bear in mind? The longer you wait, the angrier people will become, and the bigger your defeat will be. But hey, I know you’ll go on burying heads in sand (or snow). Fair enough. But don’t say you weren’t warned when you’re clearing-up the rubble of a total collapse in your popular vote at the general election. I can’t wait.

(Thanks to ajs41 for another great clip.)

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Given the sorry outcome for lame duck Brown of Labour’s Winter Coup, Patrick Blower’s recent animation seems quite apt. It’s quite entertaining, too. As Blower says, it’s Labour’s winter of discontent. He goes on, by way of introduction:

Some members of the Labour party see their leader as an old boiler they’d rather trade as part of the proposed scrappage scheme

Borrowed from The Guardian.

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It coudn’t have been, could it? I mean, even a divide-and-rule political thug like Brown hasn’t got this level of game, has he? I refer to this extraordinary idea from a commenter calling himself “William Pitt” on Nick Robinson’s soppy blog:

255. At 7:35pm on 06 Jan 2010, williampitt wrote:

This is clearly instigated by Gordon Brown, very clever politics, it shows that the Labour Party is united behind GB, and lays rest any chance of the issue being raised again in the public mind. GB knew about it before PMQ, and he was clearly in a good mood that the media had fallen for it….wonder if it was Mandleson’s idea….clever!

Impossible? I suppose I could believe it if it was a slippery schemer like Mandelson’s idea, but Brown’s? I guess it would explain why Brown didn’t seem to give a toss at pmqs, even though, so we are told by Robinson, he knew about the whole thing this morning.

But why would he do such a thing? Well, it’d be true to say, as the commenter suggests, that any and all opposition to Brown from within Labour’s rank and file has now been killed stone dead by this stunt, but, more importantly, so has the opposition to him from within his spineless cabinet. He now has what he will think is a free run at the election he’s been so desperate to avoid for two years.

In reality, though, all this really demonstrates to us mere voters is how completely delusional not only Brown is, but a largish portion of the cabinet, too, in the sense that they really do believe that Brown is something other than a desperate electoral liability. That the remainder of the cabinet are just utterly unspeakable cowards has been been established beyond a shadow of a doubt as well.

So if it was all just a “smoke ’em out” stunt, then I’m afraid it was a totally desperate one that is guaranteed to backfire spectacularly in the country, where people will be only too happy to make the choice for Labour. If it wasn’t, then it merely serves perfectly to illustrate just how rocky Brown’s leadership really is, and just how fractured and totally unfit for government the Labour party has become.

Whatever it all means, what is certain is that we’re either looking at a whole new species of political cynicism from Labour, if the ‘phantom coup’ was just a stunt, or at a level of incompetence unparalleled in British political history, if it wasn’t.

Epic fail either way, but manna from heaven for the Tories.

==Update, 10.53pm==
Another interesting comment, this time on Andrew Neil’s (excellent) blog from a poster called David Hallowes:

I am probably giving New Labour too much credit, but is there even a slight chance that today’s events were actually a charade cooked up between The Dark Lord (watch him closely) and two outgoing and formerly loyal ex-ministers in order to convince (a) the party, and (b) the electorate that in fact there is no real internal opposition to the current leadership, that as such the party is indeed united and that both the rank-and-file and the electorate have no choice, and no reason, other than to get behind the Labour Party and help them retain power?
Fanciful? Probably, but it wouldn’t be the first time this bunch of deceivers has well and trully pulled the wool over the eyes of both the media and the electorate in Britain.

It may well be ‘fanciful’ and I’m reluctant to give Labour too much, or any, credit too. But it is a distinct possibility and the thought is clearly out there in the public imagination now.

There are other rumours around, to be found, for instance, in this article by Benedict Brogan for tomorrow’s DT, that this was some sort of tactical play by Mandelson to outmanoeuvre Brown and his thuggish acolytes, especially Balls, before they have a chance to take over, following a failed election campaign. Whether or not the Dark Lord was behind the failed coup in the first place will probably never be known. But Brogan’s conclusions, at the very least, about Mandelson’s behaviour afterwards seem very plausible to me. In other words, Labour’s inevitable civil war has already started, months before general election campaigning has even begun.

As Brogan says at the end of his article:

Lord Mandelson remains crucial to the fate of Labour – but his allegiance, as he argued yesterday, and has done for months, is to New Labour, not Old. Everything he does now is aimed at protecting the political project he nurtured into being. His sole aim is to ensure that New Labour is able to rebuild in opposition – and to do that means killing off Gordon Brown and those who support him.

This is the irony at the heart of yesterday’s failed coup. Lord Mandelson is sparing Mr Brown now in order to be sure that, come election day, both he and those around him – specifically Mr Balls, his henchman and ideological mini-me – are destroyed. He believes the broad, aspirational, centrist coalition put together under Tony Blair is the only way Labour can hope to regain power. For New Labour to survive, he believes, the politics of Brownism must be rejected for good – and by the voters.

A good question for us mere little people to ask is: while Labour tears itself to pieces over its identity and future, just who, pray, is running the country? Rome is burning and Labour fiddles.

Because of this, no other conclusion can be reached other than the time for a general election is right now. This government is finished. Its determination to remain is self-interested, ignoble and disastrous for Britain. That no one in Labour will finally put country before party by having the guts to stand-up to Brown is the reason why they will deservedly be obliterated at the (eventual) general election.

And good bloody riddance to them.

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