Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Britain will miss the "two for the price of one" Labour leadership and may opt for the Tories instead

History will judge the past decade a golden age but Labour may lose the next election. My confidence drained away yesterday lunchtime whilst watching Gordon Brown’s conference speech. The Times leader writer is more upbeat: "If Mr Brown was trying to place a vast plaster over Labour’s (self-inflicted) wounds, he largely succeeded ... the extraordinary Blair-Brown family ... has proved brilliant, compelling and dysfunctional at the same time. Labour has ultimately benefited from being able to offer voters "two for the price of one", even if the two have never quite agreed on which is the better item."

It has been a ‘dream ticket’. The combination of Tony Blair’s charisma and Gordon Brown’s tenacity with both men’s massive intellect has produced a powerful and effective leadership for the party and the country. Whatever their personal differences they have been a dynamic duo.

But the era is rapidly closing. Mr Brown’s speech was a good one but it lacked passion. I found myself reading about Everton being in the top six that was scrolling across the News 24 screen. Maybe the tone was right for a conference audience and he will be more impressive in other contexts but I’m not confident.

There are two nightmare scenarios. If he becomes leader and can’t inspire the party and the country we’ll lose. If he doesn’t become leader the party will be torn apart with acrimony and we’ll lose. Suddenly I see another ghastly decade plus of Tory misrule looming....

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