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So that’s that then. At the end of a week in which the country suffered insufferable Arctic temperatures, snow storms, blizzards, ice, more ice and plagues of locusts (well, not quite!), we’re back where we started. It’s like the last seven days never happened.
I’m talking, of course, about the failed attempt to overthrow the Prime Minister, by common consent one of the most comical coups in political history, with various theories being pronounced as to why Hoon-Hewitt didn’t succeed, largely drawing the same conclusions.
Sunder Katwala, writing on the Fabian Society blog, outlines three such reasons: this was a purely Blairite putsch, with no cross-party consensus and no Left-Right alliance; no Cabinet Minister joined Hewitt and Hoon, there was no John Redwood or even a James Purnell to back them up; and the timing was poor, coming in the week the election campaign effectively begun and only four months out from polling day itself.
Paul Richards, on LabourList, writes that the lack of an obvious successor was another key reason the coup didn’t succeed, the prospect of David Miliband, Harriet Harman, Ed Balls or Jon Cruddas in Number Ten sufficient “to scare enough people into acquiescence with the current leadership”, adding that there was no appetite for a contest within the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Left Foot Forward’s Will Straw, meanwhile, dubs the pair of plotters “Labour’s Dumb and Dumber”, pointing out that a change of leader would make little difference to the Government’s prospects, with 82 per cent of voters no more likely to vote Labour than before.
What struck me most forcefully was the sheer weight of condemnation from Labour supporters on Facebook, Twitter and on the blogs, and the speed with which they responded. Viewing this, or even hearing about it second hand, any MPs tempted to join in with Hoon-Hewitt may have thought twice before rebelling and retreaded back into the fold.
For a flavour of the Westminster mood that wintry Wednesday afternoon, have a look at Political Scrapbook’s collection of emails from MPs to the plot ringleaders, and you’ll see what I mean. Within hours, Ministers, back benchers and ordinary members had rallied to the PM’s side. Game over for Hoon and Hewitt. Game on for Gordon Brown.
2010 may not yet be the first internet election, but the week’s events have proved that this interweb-thingy can be a most powerful and effective tool. Just ask Geoff and Patricia.
I was just on mydavidcameron.com (where you can download the basics to create your own Cameron poster) and noticed that the font family used on those posters is remarkably similar to the New Labour font family – Franklin Gothic. (Actual poster in image below).
I’m not sure if that is the exact font used on the Cameron posters – it is different to the Lucida Sans family used in other Conservative party branding.
If it is then perhaps it counts as more evidence that Cameron is trying to be the “Heir to Blair”?
(Image from The Evening Standard).