Gordon Brown’s ambitions

Listening to the recent speculation about Tony Blair’s recent “cabinet reshuffle” (i.e. hiring, firing and moving of politicians in his cabinet), one hears a lot about the tension between Gordon Brown and his supporters, and the so-called Blairite faction who dominates the government. This is indeed a strange conflict, because the leader of the supposed opposition faction is Chancellor of the Exchequer, who holds the nation’s purse strings and resides at no. 11 Downing Street, the house next door to the Prime Minister’s. Blair and Brown are the same generation of Labour politicians, and I’m too young to remember what people said about them in the 1980s, but Blair was certainly an outspoken pro-reform Labour MP in the 1980s when the party was struggling to pull itself out of the wilderness of the hard-left it had got itself into under Michael Foot’s leadership. People allegedly said Blair would always be in Brown’s shadow, something which changed after the death of the last Labour leader, John Smith, in 1994. Blair became leader, and there was meant to be some sort of pact, that Gordon Brown would make way for Blair, who would do the same for him in a few years’ time. Of course, Blair is still going strong.

The fact nobody seems to mention is that thinking one has some sort of right to be the leader of the party of government, which in the UK means the de facto ruler of the country, is nowhere seen as a qualification to be in any leadership position! If the recent remarks by another Labour politician that Alan Milburn is a good Prime Minister in waiting hurts Brown’s ego, then we should be absolutely clear that Brown is rejected as a candidate for both party and national leadership. Avidity for such positions, in Islam, is not just “not a qualification” - it makes one totally unsuitable.

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