Two bits of news from the Gordian Knot (as I am now pleased to call this government and its travails) made me titter yesterday. One, Gordon has now enlisted his main sycophant, Balls, and Peter Mandelson to run a weekly strategy meeting to 'plan the government's response to future events'. Two, the Times reported that some Westminster insiders were saying that Hazel Blears was preparing for a leadership bid.
Blears has already been warned off by whoever is doing Gordon's enforcing work since McBride left the stage, but I wouldn't rule anything out. The whips and the spin doctors may have got everyone singing from the same hymn sheet for the month leading up to the council and EU elections, but once Labour has been savaged in them then open fighting will break out again and next time it won't go away so easily.
And to paraphrase Shakespeare, who will unloose this gordian knot? Brown's bunker meetings with Balls and Mandelson - identify the next shitstorm and think of mollifying cant upfront that can be disseminated to the front bench liabilities and the telly - will be funny. Balls will be supporting his mate and urging Gordon leftwards into more unaffordable divorced-from-reality ideas like electric car subsidies and moonshine rhetoric about education excellence and climate change; Mandelson will talk of nothing but media manipulation, the seminal fluid of modern politics. Mandy will have seen an opportunity here because if he knows nothing else he knows Brown is finished and was always box office poison anyway. That's why Mandy backed Blair all those years ago and pricked Brown off in the first place. Sooner or later Mandy will have to tell Gordon he's finished and if he doesn't come off the pool table he'll take the whole Labour Party over the cliff with him. Perhaps he will purr in Gordon's ear while massaging those heaving, stressed shoulders: '...come now, Gordon. Resign. You can't kill the party over this.' Mandy's voice will become sly. 'Think of...Keir Hardy'. This will cause the most monumental tantrum from Brown and Brown won't budge. Nothing in this universe will get him to budge but losing a general election. Once Brown's had his tantrum and hates Mandelson once again what will happen? Mandy goes for the leadership. As far as my odds compiling goes I'm putting Mandelson in as the favourite to do the Brutus and put himself up for the job. It's what he wants and he wants it bad. Watch that man.