New Labour dissenters continue to breathe life into the concept of losing the plot. Not since the ten years of attempts to blow up Hitler have so many tried so hard to get so few.
But this latest effort deserves more analysis than most, because not only did I and others get wind of it several weeks ago – this time the machinations involve heavy hitters in the Cabinet.
The strength of the anti-Brown sentiment has a solid basis in fact, and is direvctly related to the nby piece at that time reporting that Alistair Darling had told a close aide “That man [Brown] has to go”.
Darling found little enthusiasm for his plan to oust the leader then, but the humiliation he suffered after the Brown-neutered PBR fed his bitterness. He has been chatting up a range of people – Straw, Miliband, Hoon, Hewitt and Clarke among others – ever since.
Only the pimp Mandelson has so far come to his whore’s aid. Very notable was the lack of enthusiastic support offered by either Miliband or Darling during today.
Jeremy Paxman was in wonderful form on Newsnight, pummelling first Mandy himself and then The Hoon, before wiping the studio floor with Iceland’s President. But here’s something to think about: Mandelson normally avoids Paxo like the plague. Despite his blithe protestations about all this blowing over, he must have felt the need to rubbish the plot in a high-ratings interview. And this would suggest he is worried about the potentially cancerous nature of this latest Anyone But Gordon outburst.
I’m still on the record as saying I don’t think Brown will make it to the Election. Obviously, as each week passes,this looks a less and less good bet. But even if you write off the Hoon/Hewitt assassination attempt, don’t underestimate the capacity for panic in the Labour Party.