Daily Archives: September 20, 2008

Did you feel it? The Labour balance of power shifted this morning. With his interview in The Times, Alan Johnson put the brakes on a coup (well, at least for a few months) while lifting the sights of Labour activists to a time without Browns, Straws, Blairs, Clarkes or Johnsons. He put his own ambitions aside (if they ever existed) and all but anointed David Milliband to lead the party into a new era (of opposition?). He made a plea for stability and unity, while taking a bow and reaching to close the curtain on a generation of Labour leaders. Few politicians could have managed to deliver this difficult message with such poise, or indeed with the candidness to make it believable. But there was also an ultimatum for Gordon Brown: we’ll give you time, he said, but you have to sort out your team and call off the dogs. Will the prime minister accept the terms of the truce? Here are Johnson’s words in full:

“If there are people briefing different ways from No 10, that needs to be tackled and Gordon needs to rein them in . . . That has got to stop. The Brownites versus the Blairites is just so boring, it is so last century.”    

“I don’t know what these people are doing but anyone looking at David Miliband sees a very, very good, competent politician who is part of our solution to these problems not part of the problems themselves.”

Some highlights from the excellent David Miliband interview in The Times magazine*:

- He is an atheist: “I don’t believe in God”. Read more