Peter Hoskin

How Brown would get Darling out of the Treasury

How Brown would get Darling out of the Treasury
Text settings

After reading Brown's claims in the Guardian today, this Kill A Minister mechanism in his speech today rather jumped out at me:

"I will set out a clear and public annual contract for each new Cabinet Minister, detailing what I expect them and their department to deliver to the British people, and that their continued appointment is dependent on their delivery just as it would be in a business or any other organisation."

I mean, you can just imagine what Alistair Darling's first "contract" would look like:

You, the Chancellor, will undertake to deliver the following to the British people:

i) Economic growth of 5 percent in 2010-11

ii) A sufficient level of investment in our schools, hospitals and families, to be determined by Number 10.

iii) No interviews which cast aspersions on the methods and capabilities of your colleagues in government.

iv) 1 million new jobs in the economy within 3 months.

If you fail in these tasks, then Ed Balls wil take your job.

By mandate of,


The rest of Brown's speech crystallised pretty much everything we've heard him say over the past few months.  The election is the "biggest choice for a generation"; the Tories would usher in an "age of austerity"; Labour are the "people's party"; and so and so on.  If you believe the premises behind it, then it actually, and atypically, reads quite well.  But that, needless to say, is a Big, Big If.

The line that Number Ten will have the most hope for is Brown's claim that his "top three priorities for the country" are "keeping on the road to recovery, keeping on the road to recovery, keeping on the road to recovery".  This is the central message of Labour's nascent election campaign, and with it comes more or less explicit warnings about how "change" would undermine that goal.  So the dividing lines are set – and now all we've got to do is endure them for 6 more weeks.