Is this a foretaste of the next nine weeks?
After Miliband is Jack Straw going to be the next ABBGC?
Yesterday I rearranged my betting on the Labour leadership and put another Â£700 on Gordon Brown. The price will surely tighten from the current 0.26/1 immediately following the budget and current levels look quite generous.
I also put Â£35 on Jack Straw yesterday at an average price of 90/1 after reading the above piece by the Daily Mail writer, Quentin Letts, at the online magazine, The First Post. My thinking is that there will be massive media pressure for a heavyweight to stand against Gordon and I want to have backed whoever it is at a very long price.
For there’s little doubt that during the next nine weeks that will end with Blair’s historic announcement there’ll be an enormous clamour for an ABBGC (Anybody But Gordon Candidate). A heavy-weight might be tempted to put his hat into the ring.
The biggest argument for an ABBGC is the widely reported suggestion that Gordon would take retribution against anybody who had the temerity to stand against him. Whether this is true or not I do not know but is that the sort of characteristic Labour will want in its next leader or the electorate its next Prime Minister?
Think about it. This point will be discussed time and time again and if someone like Straw does come forward then there’ll be enormous praise for “his courage”. This would not be a bad platform to start a campaign.
In his argument for the former foreign secretary and leader of the house Letts writes: “Mr Straw has gifts Mr Brown lacks. He is English. He is humorous and good on television. He is not associated with stealth taxes. He is not a bully. Women like him (he likes them, too). He does not bite his fingernails. Mr Straw is a good egg and could save several Labour MPs their seats. We all know that Gordon will be very cross indeed if he does not become PM. But is that a good enough reason not to look at Jack?”
The next nine weeks are going to see many more pieces like this about Straw and other possibilities. I think that Brown is going to do it whether he is opposed or not – but there are a lot of betting opportunities.