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Is Darling trying to spike Gord’s latest “re-launch”?

August 30th, 2008

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    Should you be betting on an early Brown departure?

The main story from BBC News overnight is the interview that Alastair Darling has given to the Guardian in which he says that Britain’s economic prospects are the “worst for 60 years”.

The timing could not have been more significant as Brown prepares for yet another “relaunch” in order to try to stem the massive decline in Labour’s support that we have seen over the past six months. That was due to start on Monday with a series of carefully choreographed announcements that will bring the PM to the fore.

    But are the messages that are coming from the PM and Chancellor about the economy compatible each other? Could Darling’s “gloom” warning be seen as a way of undermining Brown who clearly has a lot of his personal political capital invested in things being less worse than might appear?

The Telegraph‘s interpretation is “that Mr Darling is determined not to be blamed for Gordon Brown’s troubles”. The paper also picks up on Darling’s comment that other people are “actively trying to do his job” – a remark that will be widely interpreted as a sideswipe at the Prime Minister.

There has been active talk during the summer that what could precipitate the leadership issue is if a senior minister “did a Sir Geoffrey Howe” – a reference to the Tory Deputy PM’s resignation statement to the Commons in November 1990 that is seen the key factor that led to Mrs. Thatcher’s ousting. The most likely candidate that is suggested is Alistair Darling.

It’s going to be an interesting autumn and I’ve not given up altogether on the 6/1 and 5/1 bets I made earlier in the year that Gord would not survive 2008.

Brown departure date betting.

Mike Smithson






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