James Forsyth

Can Brown move on from the culture of the Wednesday meeting?

Can Brown move on from the culture of the Wednesday meeting?
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Today’s Times reports that Peter Mandelson and Ed Balls will head up a weekly strategy meeting in Downing Street. This along with the fall of McBride presumably means the end of the infamous Wednesday meetings.

These Wednesday meetings summed up what so many people inside the Labour party disliked about Brown and his way of doing politics. Jackie Ashley has a telling anecdote in her column today about how strongly those who had advised Blair disliked the Wednesday meetings and all that they represented:

“A few weeks ago, I'm told, he called in Alastair Campbell, Philip Gould and Peter Mandelson for a Tuesday strategy summit. But they found out about another summit, the following day, with Damian McBride, Charlie Whelan and co. In effect, the first group's message to Brown was – no. You can't agree one set of propositions with us, and then go back to the old mates' circle and decide something else. One meeting – or no meetings. He opted for the second.”

The question remains, as it so often does with Brown, can he really change. Can he learn to trust and listen to those outside his group of long-marchers?  I wouldn’t bet against us soon hearing of another Wednesday-meeting style set up going into operation.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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