Monday, July 02, 2007

Jackie Ashley

In the hagiographic article referred to earlier, Mrs Marr makes a few illuminating points.
At Friday's cabinet meeting, by contrast, there was already a real debate...There were no tantrums, no leaking and, it seems, no hard feelings.
At the moment it suits everybody in Cabinet to do this. Early cabinet meetings are almost always like this. As soon as proper splits arise (over real matters like funding/profile rather than this petty 'ideology' nonsense) we will hear all about them. It's always like this.
And though all these good intentions may fray and decay as the pressure builds up on the new lot, so far Brown and his team are delivering what they promised.
It's been less than a week! They've had, what, two cabinet meetings? It's a bit early even for a so far so good.
The Tories themselves are reeling. Yes, they may well get their balance back, and David Cameron is tougher than he looks. But there are several reasons to suggest Labour's poll bounce may be more than a blip. First, Brown's determination to rebuild trust and restore faith in the Commons robs the Tories of one of their easiest lines of attack - it's all spin. Just now, it doesn't feel like spin.
Right now? Brown has started by repeatedly stating that spin is over: that everything now is substance and policy. The public has gone, essentially, 'OK, lets see it.' If we do, then the Tory line will be otiose. But we're not even nearly there yet. Brown has been among the most spun of the Labour cabinet. If he has renounced it for ever, then it will be a staggering change in character - and I'm not ready to take that on trust.
Brown's decision to lay the ground for an early election, likelier next year than this, seems sensible.
Apart from that pesky bankruptcy thing.
If I was in Conservative central office, sitting on my sacks of cash from City supporters, I'd be very worried indeed.
At least the sources of the sacks of cash aren't being investigated by the police. If Brown and his supporters think that the Met inquiry is just going to go away, they are in for a disappointment. If they think that they can blame it all on Blair they will be equally disappointed. Brown was Chancellor, and in charge of the election campaign. If charges are made against Levy and Turner, mud will be flying everywhere, and Brown will cop his fair share.

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