The architect of the most recent botched coup attempt on Gordon Brown’s leadership has announced that he is to stand down at the general election.
It is unlikely any future labour leader would want someone in their top team who had demonstrated the level of ineptitude shown by ‘Buff’ as he is increasingly known in web circles. As a matter of fact this would have been unlikely ever to arise as he already faced the possibility of being axed as a candidate by furious local party activists. 56-year-old Hoon, a lifelong Derby County fan is rumoured to be in line for the role of chairman of the football league. If it comes to anything let’s hope he’s a bit more on the ball in that role.
Taro Aso, the current Japanese prime minister has dissolved the House of Representatives in the Japanese Diet and signalled a general election for August 30th. Following the significance of social media in the US presidential campaign of last year we might expect these new networks to play a significant part. Indeed a number of leading Japanese politicians like Seiji Ohsaka of the DPJ and Gaku Hashimoto of the ruling LDP are already using twitter to comment on policy issues.
However, Japan has a 59-year-old election law that may prevent the use of twitter and other social media in the final stages of the campaign. The law which bans posters and pamphlets has been interpreted as preventing Internet advertising. Seiji Ohsaka has apparently been told that this law means that he must stop using twitter for the 12 days of official campaigning ahead of the election. Ohsaka says “ It will have to be used in campaigns. It is no longer possible to say ‘don’t use it’.”
It will be fascinating to see what impact social media will have in the Japanese election and how this will impact on the campaign plans and ideas for the forthcoming UK General Election.
At about five o’clock today someone known as Lens21 (or Brian van Doogledunk) posted a rumour on twitter that Labour was planning for a November general election. Now I have no way of knowing whether Brian is a credible source but it does strike me that keeping plans for an election secret is a thing of the past. MPs are going twitter crazy, even posting comments from within the House of Commons.
You can not marshall forces within the party without bringing a lot of individuals into the tent. It only takes a tiny leak and the story will be all over you the social web before you can say “your majesty it is my wish to dissolve your parliament”.
If Labour does have secret plans for an election they won’t stay secret for very long.
John Bercow MP (221 votes)
Sir George Young MP (174 votes)
Margaret Beckett MP (70 votes)
Alan Haselhurst MP (57 votes)
Sir Alan Beith MP (46 votes)
Ann Widdecombe MP (30 votes)
Ann Widdecombe is eliminated, Margaret Beckett, Alan Haselhurst and Sir Alan Beith have withdrawn.
Through to the Second Round
- John Bercow MP (179 votes)
- Sir George Young MP (112 votes)
- Margaret Beckett MP (74 votes)
- Alan Haselhurst MP (66 votes)
- Sir Alan Beith MP (55 votes)
- Ann Widdecombe MP (44 votes)
- Parmjit Dhanda MP (26 votes)
- Richard Shepherd MP (15 votes)
- Sir Patrick Cormack MP (13 votes)
- Sir Michael Lord MP (9 votes)
Margaret Beckett MP Labour
Sir Alan Beith MP Liberal Democrat
John Bercow MP Conservative
Sir Patrick Cormack MP Conservative
Parmjit Dhanda MP Labour
Sir Alan Haslehurst MP Conservative
Sir Michael Lord MP Conservative
Richard Shepherd MP Conservative
Ann Widdecombe MP Conservative
Sir George Young MP Conservative
The voting begins after the candidates give a short election address in the House of Commons at 2.30pm. A series of secret ballots will take place until one candidate has a majority of the votes.
With less than a year to go before an election a party in government never forces a leader out. Received wisdom says it would be electoral suicide. Government MPs would never sanction a move that might see them turfed out of the house. But what if defeat is inevitable anyway? What if the circumstance were so unusual that enough government MPs thought the only way to save their seat was a spot of modern day ‘regicide’? What is is that they say about exceptions?
Two top cabinet ministers plus the cabinet office minister are on their way out. Jacqui Smith has told Gordon she want to go, Tom Watson has told friends he wants to go and pretty much everyone has told Gordon they want Alistair Darling to go. Thursday will see a trouncing for Labour particularly in Europe and but also in local government. MPs are are ducking and diving to save their skins as ‘moatgate’ continues. The demands for an immediate election are getting louder and Gordon’s siren calls on constitutional reform won’t drag the demands off course.
Gordon won’t call an election before he has to. He has form on that score. The inevitable course will lead Labour further down in the polls. How long is it before the ageing young turks near the top of the party decide that the only way to buy time and offset a defeat so large that it may mean decades in the wilderness, is a coup?