Posted by: crustynomad | June 24, 2007

Gordon Brown Prime Minister by Default as Blair Bows Out

So as we enter the last throes of the Tony Blair leadership, Gordon Brown can finally get his feet under the desk at Number 10 and take up his dream job of British Prime Minister.

I’m not overtly political but I do find politics interesting to a point even just to see who is embroiled in the latest round of sleeze. Whether it’s the inability to keep their trousers on or allegedly fiddling their business expenses there’s always something going on.

Tony Blair has enjoyed 10 years in office and I can’t help thinking that he would’ve bowed out sooner if he didn’t have the carrot of a double digit term in office on the horizon. He didn’t quite emulate Margaret Thatcher in that respect but three election victories is something he can reasonably be very proud of.

All along you sensed he was after that legacy of power that will place him at the pinnacle of British politics but ultimately he left it too long. The war in Iraq and cash for honours scandal will always hang over him.

In many ways this is a shame because he should be remembered for his part in the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement. Also, it shouldn’t be underestimated the impact he had by his consistent lobbying to bring the 2012 Olympic games to London.

Jacques Chirac the French President must be regretting not following his lead in this respect as France failed in the bidding to stage the games in Paris for the third time in 20 years.

But what of Gordon Brown. Is he the right man to lead the country going forward?

Personally I do not quite know what to make of the man. This past couple of years has seen him and Blair at odds at a number of key governmental and Labour Party issues but when it suits he always backed the Prime Minister.

It was an interesting relationship because while there seemed to be an uneasy peace between them it also seemed that they needed each other to achieve their own political goals.

Gordon Brown has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for the entire period of Tony Blair’s premiership and that role by its very nature is hard to hang on to. If the economy is in a state you are reshuffled out the door. Gordon clearly knows what he is doing in that respect so Tony used him as an insurance policy to maintain power. If the electorate are happy and have money in their pocket they’ll generally vote you back in.

Meanwhile Brown knew that if he bided his time and didn’t make too many waves the role of PM would surely come to him. He was a natural successor. He needed to make his mark for sure but he also knew that by keeping the economy on track and stay as essentially the country’s number two it was a surefire appointment.

What will happen at the next election though? Will Brown find himself tarred by the Blair brush or will he restore the party lead against the Conservative Party leader David Cameron?

Ultimately I can’t imagine Cameron as the Prime Minister so I feel a fourth term for Labour a probability rather than a possibility.

The Conservatives under John Major‘s leadership surprisingly won the 1992 general election after Maggie was ousted two years earlier. Time will tell whether Gordon Brown suffers the fate of James Callaghan who lead the country for three years without winning an election after taking over when Harold Wilson stepped down in 1976.

Being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will be something that no-one can take away from Gordon Brown but I am certain he will want a mandate from the people to make it worthwhile.

UPDATE: 27/06/2007 – Tony Blair moves out of Number 10 today. It has been mooted that Brown will call a snap general election for Spring 2008 to make the most of the change of leadership. Time will tell if this actually happens or whether it turns out to be the right decision.

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