Friday, June 29, 2007

The end of the TBGBs?

Surely to goodness one of the positives to come out of the Brown Premiership is that the split between Blair and Brown must now be over. The split between Prime Minister and Chancellor destabilised the Labour Party and often paralysed Government. One resounding strength Brown will have is that he will not have Gordon Brown in the Treasury. So does Blairism wither without its leader? Is this truly an end to factionalism in the Labour Party? Are they really all Brownites now?
Well, no. Politicians are both intensely tribal and factional at the same time. Party loyalties are often less strong than factional ones: witness John Major's rage at the 'bastards' or Kinnock's internecine wars with Militant. To suggest that because Blair is no longer there, peace and unity will reign in the Labour Party is to ignore history. Thatcher left the Commons in 1992, and her shadow was not exactly inactive afterwards. The wonderful thing about past leaders is that they don't have to say much to stir up trouble - in fact they don't have to say anything, merely the mention of their name can be enough to encourage negative comparisons with the current incumbent.
Wait for the first negative publicity for the Brown Government - in fact for the first decision made that doesn't benefit all sides equally - and watch backbenchers like Charles Clarke, David Blunkett and others mutter regretfully to journalists that it would never have happened with Tony 'he always knew how to handle these things you see...'

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