Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

2 November 2009

Has Alan Johnson made a hash of his leadership bid?

No smoke without fire, as they say; or, in this instance, no smoking gun without getting your enemy to shoot themselves in the foot by firing someone they shouldn’t!

I’m getting into this conspiracy malarkey! When I first heard the news that Home Secretary Alan Johnson had taken the ill-advised decision to sack the chairman of the government’s own advisory committee on illegal drug use, Professor David Nutt, simply because he’d publicly expressed disagreement with the government having re-classified cannabis as a Class B drug (reversing its previous downgrading of the drug to the less dangerous Class C category), I thought Johnson had blotted his copy book as a potential successor. Since then, the crisis has got even worse for Johnson, with the resignation in protest of two of Professor Nutt’s colleagues on the committee.

Having now concluded that the touting of David Miliband as the ‘favourite’ candidate for the EU Foreign Secretary High Representative job is a means for him to be taken out of the running as a potential successor to Gordon Brown, it’s now occurred to me that Alan Johnson could also have been handed a poisoned chalice in being told to sack David Nutt. This has engineered a nice media-fuelled row that could seriously damage Johnson’s credibility as a possible Labour leader and future prime minister. And who is the real ‘decision maker’ and governmental string puller that has prompted this action on Johnson’s part? Surely, none other than the Dark One, Peter Mandelson, who is seeking to manipulate his own way into the position of Labour leader and possibly even PM.

In this respect, the mysterious removal from contention of the two top candidates for the Labour leadership – Miliband and Johnson – is completely consistent with the pattern established under Blair, in which all of the potential rivals to Brown were picked off one after the other. Mandelson has clearly learnt from his ‘predecessor’ as Labour leader; or was it the other way round all along?

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