David Cameron, who last year told Gordon Brown to sack Alistair Darling for the handling of Northern Rock, is now asking Brown to “back [Darling] or sack him”.
Taking advantage of Brown’s indecisions on Darling, Cameron, in an interview with Sky News is jumping at the point that if Brown seems not to be backing Darling, then it appears their eyes have not always been on the economy, which I yesterday predicted.
This emerges as bloggers and journalists wonder whether this waning support for Darling is tactical before a reshuffle, noting Brown’s avowed support for Ed Balls in the treasury.
Brown has said that he does not want to stand down as PM, even after an expected election trumping on Thursday, reminding the public that he wants to stay focused on the rebuilding of the economy.
But strategically, with the dubiousness of the decision at the same time as the backing of Balls, Brown will not be able to gain support for ridding Darling, who caused fluctuations of support in the early days of the credit crisis, and later with the promises that the Brown/Darling duo could spur on stability way before city analyst’s predictions.
Certainly this will be fodder for attack, seen today in Cameron’s interview.
It seems that the only strategy, if Balls is to get the post, is for Brown to move over too, and prepare for a left-leaning Labour front team to take on Cameron’s Tories in the general election, expected next year.
News today has included the resignation of Jackie Smith as Home Secretary and three more sudden stand-downs; Patricia Hewitt’s retirement, Beverley Hughes standing down for family reasons, and David Chaytor’s leave.
Close ally to Brown, Tom Watson MP, has also decided to resign his position as minister, though he will continue to advise Gordon Brown on election strategies.
Reshuffling has not taken place yet, but already the face of our party is changing. And for better of for worse, a fresher, more progressive cabinet might just allow us a fighting chance after the drumming we – as all main parties – are about to receive this coming Thursday.