Mr B's successor?

July 17, 2008 01:00

James has an interesting post about the Labour leaderhip. He ends with this line about James Purnell:

I still think it is too much of a stretch to think of him as Prime Minister.

I know what he means, but I'd point out that no one thought of John Major as a potential Prime Minister until the leadership election. And I'd suggest that James is in a different intellectual league to the former PM, as well as having a very appealing manner.

In that regard, my money has - literally - long been on two people: James Purnell and Alan Johnson. Jack Straw is more of the same. As the old saw has it: what is the question to which Jack Straw is the answer? Ed Balls is struggling even as Education Secretary and is surely not a serious candidate. As for the supposed favourite, David Miliband; I just don't see it. He comes across as the ultimate geek, and I've yet to see any evidence that the political (let alone intellectual) meat is really there.

Purnell has most of the necessary qualities, so long as age and inexperience isn't a bar (and it is actually an asset, as it was for Blair and Cameron). He also seems - according to Jophn Rentoul - to be very shrewdly holding "a regular surgery for MPs at the Commons to discuss welfare issues from their constituencies".

And Johnson is the only member of the Cabinet who comes across as vaguely normal, and would presumably go down well with his formber brothers in the unions.

Still, this is all academic. The PLP are a bunch of spineles wimps who seem unable to stop themselves plunging to defeat with Gordon B rather than offer ingthemselves any hope. Cheerio!

UPDATE: As some commenters have pointed out, there were some people who thought of Major as a possible PM. I should have written 'few people'.

July 17, 2008 01:00

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