September 26, 2004


'Hurt' Brown battles Blair over future of Labour (BRIAN BRADY, 9/26/04, Scotland on Sunday)

A WOUNDED Gordon Brown was last night preparing for a titanic struggle over the heart and soul of the Labour party, as the simmering tensions between the Chancellor and Tony Blair threatened to overshadow the start of its annual conference.

Brown, who admits he was "hurt" by Blair’s decision to place Alan Milburn at the heart of formulating Labour election strategy, is privately battling to ensure his stewardship of the economy remains at the heart of the party’s bid for a historic third term.

The Chancellor’s allies fear Milburn and his fellow modernisers will ‘hijack’ the election campaign by emphasising Blairite reform of the public services.

And in another clear indication of the struggle to come, Brown’s followers last night insisted Blair was leading a party of ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, while the Chancellor was a "team player" who held out the promise of party unity. [...]

Renewed signs of tension with Brown will also make it difficult for the Prime Minister to convince his party - and voters - that he can finally deliver radical reform in a third term.

Though he's obviously achieved far more, the ultimate failure of Tony Blair seems certain to be that of Bill Clinton, the inability to reform his own party and make it genuinely believe in his Third Way, rather than just back him reluctantly for expedience sake. Mr. Blair leads the wrong party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2004 7:46 AM

Isn't this one of those stories we get yearly, in this case in the run up to the Labour party conference, that always turns out to be overblown.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 26, 2004 5:28 PM