Sunday, 7 June 2009

Definitely maybe

If one was to look up 'political establishment' in a dictionary, one might expect to see a picture of Lord Falconer.

So the former Lord Chancellor's characteristic caution might explain the circumlocution with which he has called for the Labour Party to urgently "debate" the party leadership.

"I think we are moving moderately quickly towards the need for a change and that change may be a change in leadership," he told the BBC1 Politics Show. "We need unity above all. Can we get unity under the current leadership? I am not sure that we can and we need to debate it urgently and I think probably it will need a change in leader."

We do, in the end, get what he (probably) means. For the most coded view I have yet seen, I think that Sally Keeble MP may be calling for a leadership challenge in her piece - Leadership Matters - for the Progress website which argues that the question of leadership is absolutely central.

In this situation, to try to distinguish between the policies and the person is a false dichotomy. Our problem in the Labour Party is all about leadership. We need to show the public our direction of travel, and that has to be set out collectively by the Cabinet and most clearly by the Prime Minister, the party leader.
That is why the issue is about leadership now, creating the political lead that can reconnect with the broad mass of the electorate, rebuilding the broad alliance that brought us into power and providing the policies that will make sure Labour remains the vehicle by which the British people see they can best achieve their aspirations.

The leadership may be the absolutely central question. But, having read the piece three times, I don't really know what she thinks about it.

UPDATE: Keeble has a piece in Monday's Guardian withdrawing her support from Gordon Brown.

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