Battle will commence in the next few days within the Labour Party. No, not the fratricide between the two Miliband brothers for the leadership of the Labour Party. Despite the Lords Kinnock and Mandelson trying their best to rubbish each others favourite son.
No, the real battle will be between the two past Labour party Prime Ministers to justify their tenure in office.
The first shot will be fired by Tony Blair when he gives his first major television interview tomorrow to drum up sales in advance of his memoirs, ‘The Journey’ being published.
It is common knowledge in the corridors of power that relations between him and his then Chancellor, Gordon Brown had declined to the point of open warfare by the end of his period in office.
We can expect Blair, after his self justification of the Iraq war, to put in the boot in very heavily into Brown.
Expect a heavy criticism of Brown’s handling of the economy and more particularly of the way he dealt with the financial crisis. Blair will likely accuse Brown of creating a regularity free zone within the financial world that lead to the financial crisis. A justification with some merit.
Brown lost the election and expect Blair to make the most of this fact. The assertion will be that it all came to grief because Brown turned his back on Blair’s New Labour reforms. Indeed he is likely to accuse Brown of lurching to the left. Although many commentators will find the word Brown and left a very strange combination indeed.
Brown himself is expected to maintain a dignified silence.
He is refusing to put pen to paper to expose the internal politics of his years in office. But his silence will not stop his many friends jumping to his defence.
We can expect a robust response to the partial accounts that are likely to stem from Blair’s book. They will not let Brown’s achievements be rubbished.
This infighting is more than just the vanity of two political dinosaurs trying to justify their place in history. It is, in the case of Blair, wishing to see the next leader of the Labour Party continue with the New Labour reforms. For him the project is far from complete.
Whether David Miliband will find the publication of Blair’s book so close the ballot papers going out for the leadership contest useful remains to be seen.
The last thing that the front runner for next leader would want is to be seen as Blair’s heir apparent. Whilst many in the country found Blair a charismatic leader and winning three general clearly demonstrated his popular support, he never really won the affection of many within his own party. If young David is seen as his political heir it may not be such a great asset in this contest.