Martin Bright

Strange and Getting Stranger

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It is just plain bizarre that Gordon Brown has announced that he will serve a full term if Labour wins the next election. He should be playing down his role in the forthcoming election (difficult I know, when he is Prime Minister) not reminding people that he will be around for another four years.

It is also strange that he has written off the Hewitt-Hoon coup attempt as silly. This is the one thing it is not. It may have been unwise, badly organised and poorly timed. But the idea of giving the Parliamentary Labour Party the opportunity to save Gordon or the party was perfectly sound. Indeed, they were giving him the chance to give himself a partial mandate.

James Purnell's intervention in today's Guardian (and Ed Milband's in yesterday's Observer) demonstrate that the present phase of Labour Party history is over and the younger generation is already preparing for the next phase.

I remain astonished that this generation has taken so long to move against the baby boomers who still dominate the Labour Party and, even now, this a long way from Oedipus Rex. But it is probably more healthy to admit that this is the last of the plots and the real thinking must take place in the writing of the manifesto and in the aftermath of the election itself.

It is one thing to recognise the qualities of the triumvirate that brought New Labour to power. It is quite another to remain in awe of Blair, Brown and Mandelson long after the country has grown tired of them.