As Bob Piper has already noted, hurrah for David Tennant, who has told the esteemed political periodical, Doctor Who Magazine, that he “would rather have a prime minister who is the cleverest person in the room, than a prime minister who looks good in a suit.” For those not paying attention, the clever chap is Gordon and the empty suit is Dave. Tennant is a known fan of The West Wing, so there’s no surprise he feels this way; we all learned long ago that you want the smartest kid in the class in charge. What’s more surprising is that Gordon Brown’s own party don’t seem to think the same way.
I’m with Steve Richards on this week’s absurd attempted coup when he writes that, “An act of regicide committed only months before an election sends out a single message to a wider electorate already disillusioned with politics – that a party is falling apart.” In short, Hewitt and Hoon’s medicine was more kill than cure. Michael White has a good autopsy of the botched leadership challenge, but ultimately who muttered what to whom seems by the by – what is more depressing is not what Cabinet ministers whine to each other about in their darkest moments, but what a government machine says to the voting public.
An ICM poll today has Labour standing firm, if not quite strong – no doubt in part because everyone feels something of what Tenant does, that Cameron can’t quite be trusted. So Polly Toynbee is right to focus on what is rather than what might have been. Brown may be awkward and a poor communicator, unable to push Labour up in the polls even as voters get cold Tory feet; but the Labour party’s identity crisis (characterised with the inevitable bias by Benedict Brogan) threatens far worse.