…I would probably have tried to do some sort of deal with the LibDems. At the moment it’s not playing too well for him – with the LibDems accusing him of going behind Ming’s back to offer Paddy Ashdown the NI job – but the Brownites may be calculating that, in the medium-term, it will make their man look less partisan and something of a bridge-builder. The fact that Ming had private talks with Brown is certainly good for the Tories and gives us our ‘Vote LibDem, Get Brown’ campaign for Tory-LibDem marginals. It appears that LibDem MPs in southern seats were most appalled at the prospect of being seen to team up with Labour.
Here are a few other things I would do in my first week as Prime Minister (if I was Mr B):
- Sack Tessa Jowell and Patricia Hewitt. They are the unacceptable faces of Labour sleaze and incompetence. I would also put personal loyalty aside and sack Des Browne, too. I would give big promotions to Miliband and Johnson and Cabinet positions to the likes of James Purnell and Liam Byrne to show that my Government would have a fresh dynamic.
- I would offer the British people a referendum on the EU Treaty. A new poll from Open Europe says that 83% of Labour voters want a vote. It would also do me a lot of good with The Sun and The Daily Mail.
- Call for Guantanamo Bay to be shut down as soon as possible. [A timetable for withdrawal from Iraq might be a temptation for Mr Brown but this would be a safer way of distancing the new Prime Minister from America without undermining the Iraqi government].
- Write to all of those people who signed the Number Ten Road Pricing Petition with these words:
"I think there are a lot of potential benefits from road pricing but I want to lead a Government that genuinely listens to people. That’s why I’m writing to you to say that there will be no national road pricing scheme for ten years. Thank you for signing the petition and I hope you will use other petitions on the Downing Street website to communicate what you want from my Government. It won’t always be possible for me to agree to what you want but I will always pay close attention to what you say."