What a few days these have been. This is high-drama politics at its finest (and I fully expect a stage/screen/TV version of what's happened in the last few days to emerge some time soon, as well as numerous books). The Conservatives have clearly given Nick Clegg and his advisory team of Alexander, Huhne and Stunnell some serious food for thought, but at the psychologically optimal moment, Gordon Brown has fallen on his sword.
This smacks of Mandelson, but it is the right thing to do. I personally like Gordon Brown, but as far as the press and most of the electorate are concerned, anything he touches turns to mud and he brings down the Labour party and anything that goes along with it (for example, a coalition with the Lib Dems). Word is that Clegg now wants to speak further with Labour. This isn't over yet.
So we prepare for a leadership election. Who would I like to see?
Ed Milliband ***** a serious intellect, a decent man, seems well liked within the party and not too divisive. I would have Milliband the Younger ahead of anyone else.
Alan Johnson **** I'm pretty indifferent to cockney cheeky chappy Johnson, but the one thing in his favour is his wholehearted support for full blooded electoral reform. I suspect many of the the Liberal Democrat hierarchy think likewise.
Alistair Darling *** I like Darling, but he's deeply unsexy as a politician and unlikely to win votes for them in this age of the TV debate (that said, you could say the same thing about Clegg). I'd be happy enough, but he's too close to Brown and it won't happen.
Peter Mandelson *** I wouldn't mind. He's the most brilliant political operator I've ever seen and who knows what would happen. I'm hypnotised by him already; could he hypnotise the entire country?
David Milliband ** the more I see of him, the less I like. Blair-Cameron-Clegg clone: slick suits and desperate to project being Earnest, Worthy and Humble.
Harriet Harman ** there's something about female Labour ministers that makes me want to squirm. Every single one of them has been a disaster. Jowell, Hewitt, Harman, Beckett, Smith, Blears, Kelly. All as awful as each other. I don't want to appear sexist, but come on - they have all been dreadful.
Ed Balls * vile, vile, vile creature. If this man comes anywhere near the premiership I will emigrate. Promise? Promise.