Peter Hoskin

Brown and out<br />

Brown and out<br />
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The tone of today's analysis of the McBride scandal is encapsualted by two articles in the Independent.  The first, by Michael Brown, suggests that "Any remaining chance of a Labour victory has been torpedoed by incompetence, sleaze and spin at the heart of Mr Brown's operation in Downing Street".  While the second, by Steve Richards, claims that "This fiasco may have fatally damaged Gordon Brown’s capacity to take on the Tories".  It's hard to disagree with either observation.

Richards makes the additional point that "Smeargate" may encourage Brown's rivals to "stir":

"Some Blairites and cabinet ministers who carry wounds from what they believed were assaults from McBride will also stir, wondering once more how he was allowed the freedom to undermine the reputation of the entire government."

One question currently doing the rounds is whether this will trigger a fresh bout of Labour leadership challenges.  You'd imagine that the loose ceasefire which held the party together last autumn is now more strained than ever; particularly as recent events seem to confirm Brown as an electoral liability.  Can those-who-would-be-leader put up with another year of the same?  Will they throw caution to the wind, thinking that anything's better than this?  Hm, I guess only time will tell.  But, either way, the vultures are circling ever closer to our PM.