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Has John Reid left his options open?

June 3rd, 2008

    Could he still be a contender if the conditions were right?

reid guns.JPGLike many, I guess, I thought that John Reid had decided to step down from the national political scene when he made clear before Gordon’s succession last year that he did not want to continue with a cabinet role. He had ruled himself out of any future involvement.

Well things might not be as they seem and I was intrigued by this comment by the Telegraph’s astute Scottish political expert, Alan Cochrane, on the paper’s blog.

Cochrane observed: “…But with Charles Clarke, David Blunkett or John Reid all absenting themselves from the battlefield who is there to ring the alarm bells? None seems at all keen to re-enter the fray under Gordon Brown’s leadership..However, I should point out that the last-named, whose enmity for the Prime Minister knows no bounds but is lost in the mists of Scottish Labour blood-feuds, has still not announced formally that he’ll not be standing at the next general election..Currently revelling in his chairmanship of Celtic Football Club, could it be that Dr Reid is biding his time over saying farewell to politics just in case something should turn up..Apart from anything else, there’s never been a better Today programme ‘attack dog’ and Labour MPs didn’t complain about his Scottish accent. Perhaps they knew better.”

To me Reid was by far and away Labour’s most effective communicator in the Blair era. He thinks on his feet, he’s sharp and aggressive and has that quality that I believe is central for successful politicians – he has good diction. When Reid talks it is easy on the ear.

Just imagine him up against Cameron at PMQs. Just imagine him during a general election campaign ripping into the Tories using words and ideas that resonate and really get over strong messages. Politics would be a completely different ball game. All the other suggested alternatives to Brown pale into insignificance by comparison.

Cochrane’s observation has prompted me to put £20 on Reid for next Labour leader at an attractive 50/1. That seems like a value bet.

Please note. I am on holiday in Spain until the end of next week and Double Carpet and Morus are acting as guest editors.

Mike Smithson






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