I had a chat with Denis MacShane the other day. He argues that Gordon Brown’s unpopularity is not out of the ordinary right now.
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One Labour source has just pointed out the problem with the so-called “dream ticket” of David Miliband with Alan Johnson as a running mate – in the event (still not certain) of a leadership contest.
The Treasurers’ report* in Labour’s annual accounts says there has been a “dramatic improvement” in Labour’s pension fund. It has swung from a £6.3m liability in 2005 to a surplus of £1.9m at the end of last year.
Sounds good, for sure. But much of the difference is down to the way in which actuaries use a discount rate for the scheme’s liabilities. In 2005 the rate was 4.7 per cent, in 2007 it was 5.8 per cent.
A string of stories in The Times have floated the idea of Harriet Harman as successor-in-waiting to replace Gordon Brown. Today the paper’s website predicts that the party’s deputy leader is preparing the ground for a contest.
I can’t help sharing the views of Philip Stephens, the FT’s esteemed commentator, who doesn’t rate the idea of Harriet Harman as prime minister.
As early as May we were reporting some of the big demands from unions such as Unite and GMB from the Labour national policy forum – which ended yesterday.
David Davis believes public opinion has swung behind him. Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, one opinion poll suggests he now has public sympathy over what he sees as an erosion of human rights. Davis told me on Wednesday that another poll – which has been withheld – gives a similar picture.
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