Peter Hoskin

Brown’s only strength is the weakness of his rivals

Brown's only strength is the weakness of his rivals
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So who got what? Today's Times has a great summary of the concessions and promises that Brown has had to make to keep his Cabinet colleagues on side, including:

"In a series of negotiations:

— Harriet Harman demanded and received a promise to have more day-to-day control over the election campaign. Labour’s deputy leader also demanded to be treated with more respect from Mr Brown’s staff.

— Jack Straw told Mr Brown that he must not rely solely on a “core vote” strategy aimed at shoring up Labour’s heartland support.

— Alistair Darling urged the Prime Minister to be more honest about the cuts in public spending needed to pay off Britain’s record deficit."

For me, this brings to mind one of the strange paradoxes of Brown's premiership. Sure, the H&H plot diminished his authority even more – and made his drubbing in the polls all that more likely. But it's also left him in a strange position of strength. Once again, Brown has survived another attempt on his throne – and, once again, his potential leadership rivals have demonstrated a distinct lack of bottle.

In which case, the anti-Brown camp can make all the ultimatums and demands they like, but you wonder whether Brown's just left thinking: "Or else what? What would you actually do?"  And, on the evidence of the past couple of days, the answer is "nothing".