Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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Yesterday was a fantastic day for Mr Brown. Tony Blair’s stranded thousands of miles away, so the Crown Prince gets to make one of the most important speeches of the political season, get incredibly controversial legislation throught Parliament comfortably, and then get praised by nearly all the papers this morning. It seems too good to be true; and in politics, if it seems that way, it usually is.
Perhaps I’m just too cynical, but it seems rather suspicious to me that in the week that Mr Brown apparently steps up his campaign to take over as leader, and with relations between the PM and the Chancellor apparently smoothed over, he should get this golden opportunity. Just the other day, Charles Clarke came out with a carefully co-ordinated and calculated statement that the two neighbours were now sharing the Prime Ministerial role, then Mr Brown gets to make a hugely important speech on security which is, in reality, way outside his remit as Chancellor, and now he gets to head up one of the most important (though very clearly winnable) votes of the year so far. And anyway, in the event of the PM’s absence, surely it should be his deputy that steps into the limelight. That’s kinda what he’s there for. Not that tradition and the constitution normally count for much in the Blair world.
It even makes me somewhat suspicious about Mr Blair’s big loss of a few weeks ago. Labour doesn’t lose votes like this. Could it have been a choreographed attempt to show Mr Blair as losing control, in contrast to yesterday’s vote supposed to show that Mr Brown is well in control of the party? Stunts like this would certainly make the transition of power easier, and isn’t a smooth transition what they both want?