What are we to make of Reid getting involved again?
Last Wednesday on budget day a power Labour voice from the past was wheeled out to argue the government’s case in interview after interview. He was powerful, he was lucid and most of all he was persuasive in a way that not one of the current crop Labour front-benchers can manage.
Although he might have a bit of back history and is planning to leave the commons at the election could the man who was Tony Blair’s most effective attack dog be planning a come-back? Could John Reid be the person who could impede Cameron?
Well the signs are there that something is happening. Following his budget appearances there have been suggestions in the Mirror that Reid might soon be replacing Harriet Harman as Labour chairman – a role that would give him a platform to play a key part in the coming election campaign.
Two years ago Reid, who had been tipped for a long time as a possible leader, made it clear that he wasn’t going to join Brown government and until last week we had hardly heard from him.
So why would Reid come to help his old enemy, Brown, out now? Could it be that he’s got an ulterior motive? Does he smell blood and would the party chairmanship be an ideal position if Brown’s leadership once again came into question?
Of course there would be minor issues like finding a parliamentary seat but this is Scottish Labour that we are talking about. If the will is there it would be no problem.
I have long been hugely impressed by the communication skills of the man who is now chairman of Celtic. He is in a totally different league from the rest and would, if let loose, be a tough one for Cameron to handle. He’d be a great opposition leader particularly because he hasn’t been tainted by the Brown premiership.
During Tony Blair’s time he was the one who had the best approval ratings. In 2006 one poll found that there was a 9% margin in his favour when people were asked whether they thought he was doing a job or not. This was a substantially bigger margin than Gordon Brown, Tony Blair or even David Cameron then enjoyed. Amongst women Reid seemed to be going down particularly well with a 12 point positive rating – double the similar figure for the Tory leader then.
Reid led a wide range of different areas. He’s been Minister for Transport; Secretary of State for Scotland; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Minister without Portfolio and Party Chair; Leader of the House, Health Secretary, and Defence Secretary before moving to the Home Office – his final post.
In the betting you can get 100/1 that he’ll succeed Brown. That’s worth a little punt.
HAT-TIP on the Mirror article to Peter Hoskin of the Spectator Coffee House.