The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Brown The Backbencher

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 18, 2010 @ 17:47

Gordon Brown in his better days...

One of my predictions for this year is…

Gordon Brown will get a job on the international stage and resign as an MP.

And I like that prediction. It feels right.

The reason why is fairly simple. Labour are sure to lose the election. In that case, Brown goes, possibly quickly, but if Labour are not ready, which seems unlikely, Brown will sit around for a little while. But even if they “win” – i.e. scrape out a slight lead in the number of seats, Gordon Brown is still toast.

Why? Well, because it’s impossible to see any minor party, the Lib Dems, or even the Tories, wanting to work with him. Their price for any coalition, or backing of the Queen’s Speech, will be to demand Gordon Brown’s head. It would be unacceptable to the electorate to see the leader of the government – in dire straits – being allowed to be sustained. There might even be rioting on the streets of High Wycombe.

With Brown gone, Labour will move on.

And, let’s face it, just in the same way no one wanted or could envisage Tony Blair sitting on the backbenches, I don’t think Brown is back bench material either. I can’t imagine the hulking beast brooding on the backbenches for four, possibly five years. Labour will be desperate to move on, desperate to change its image. That cannot happen if the media can keep accosting Brown on the corridors of power and getting sly quotes from him.

Brown probably knows this as well. For all his faults, he is a Labour man. Once his time is up, because he really doesn’t think he’s been given a fair crack of the whip, he will accept that it is time to move on.

He will, as such, resign as an MP.

He may move to the Lords. But even that is dangerous. He would still be too involved. It would be too easy to taint his successor with the Brownite-Blairite division, even though both men would have long gone.

And the idea of a former PM being on the backbenches? It’s just laughable. I don’t know how John Major did it for four years, but he was a more affable chap, more adept at laying low and not causing a scene. The very notion that Brown could keep his trap shut for the length of a Parliament would be remarkable.

So there may still be life in the old dog yet. There are endless whispers about how wonderful Brown is on the international stage, and his abilities at bringing agreements and organising the chaos of the associated summits. He’s hosting another one on Afghanistan in a few days time. It wouldn’t surprise me if Labour worked their magic just one last time and made sure Brown got a good retirement…

In many ways I feel sorry for Gordon Brown. He is clearly not up to this job. But something a little more focused, and a little more in tune with his personality may be a good move, and one he wouldn’t refuse after being kicked by the electorate.

We shall see, eh…

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