James Forsyth

Clarke tries to get a left hook through Brown’s defences

Clarke tries to get a left hook through Brown’s defences
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Charles Clarke has sounded off so often during the Brown premiership that it is tempting not to pay too much attention when he does. But his latest broadside is interesting in that Clarke is having a go at Brown as much from the left as from the right. He again attacks the abolition of the 10p rate and calls for Trident not to be renewed, two things that please the left. But he follows up with two new criticisms of Brown that will play well with the left. He says that Brown’s “toleration of UK tax havens has been a disgrace” and calls for "genuinely fair" corporate taxation.

The plot to oust Brown failed because it did not attract enough support from the soft left of the party. So, one can see this as being Clarke’s motive in trying to outflank Brown from the left. But looking at Clarke’s article in the whole, there are calls for more charging for public services, one can see it as an attempt to carve out a platform for a post-election world that the soft left and the Blairites can agree on.