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Will Gordon really fight them on the beaches?

July 31st, 2008

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Screen shot from BBC North East

    Or would he follow his normal practice and stand aside?

One of the strong messages coming from the Brown camp in the past thirty-six hours is that he would not budge and would fight to the end if challenged. By this they mean, I guess, that anybody wanting to take him on would have to go through all of Labour convoluted process which involves, initially, getting one eight of the parliamentary party to support a challenge.

    Clearly such fighting talk is right for the moment and anyone planning a move has got to be persuaded that Gordon is not going to go easily. But is this really the case? For isn’t Brown’s whole political CV full of moments when he has pulled back from the fight.

It will be recalled that in his early days, before he became an MP, Gordon was reluctant to let his name go forward for safe seats in Scotland until a certainty came up and the future Prime Minister was assured that there was no serious contest.

The same has gone with the leadership. After Neil Kinnock’s resignation following the 1992 general election Brown was being strongly urged, by Tony Blair and others, to put his hat into the ring against John Smith. He didn’t. Then in 2004 1994 he pulled out when the polls were showing that Blair would do much better and there was the famous meal at the Granita.

Last year he went to extraordinary lengths to get his coronation and then there was the general election U-turn in early October.

So my guess is that if a challenger, Miliband perhaps, is determined enough then Gordon will buckle.

Mike Smithson






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