News of what happens in Cabinet reaches the public by one of two routes: it's leaked by ministers or the 30 year rule means it is released automatically. Given that we are now aware of recent Cabinet conversations about who said what on bankers' bonuses, clearly the former is the route used recently to keep the public informed.
Cabinet conversations get leaked normally for a reason. In this instance, the apparent benificiary is The Lady Harriet. Her posturing as the class enemy of rich bankers no doubt appeals to many Labour MPs, and it certainly stands in sharp contrast to her super-privileged, aristocratic, expensively-privately-education background. The public is not told who leaked the details of the Cabinet discussions but I can't believe that it was not someone close to The Lady H herself.
What was interesting was the response of other Labour chiefs. Suddenly, there was talk of a "stop Harman" candidate in the form of Yvette Cooper. It suggests a degree of desperation within Labour's ranks that a complete unknown (in the public's mind) should be suggested as possible leadership contender.
There is of course no actual leadership campaign at the moment. Instead, there is a Labour "beauty" contest (though beauty is not a word I normally associate with Labour) underway as the ambitious wanabees begin to line up to take on the leadership of Labour once Brown has gone. Labour are seeing the writing on the wall: Brown, they believe, will lead them to election defeat, possibly a bad defeat. The Labour vultures are therefore circling. Brown is seen as a dead cert for disposal after the 2010 election. The next 14 months leading to the election will, for some Labour individuals, be dominated not by the general elction, but by the shadow leadership election.
And at the moment, The Lady Harriet seems to be the only real contender in the race. But expect others to join it soon.
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