A tale of two coups

July 26th, 2008 at 4:08 pm by David Farrar

There are two in the air – one in Australia, and one in the United Kingdom. Let us take the UK one first.

As Labour MPs face decimation, ’s position is perilous. He may become the first UK Prime Minister since Neville Chamberlain to never face a general election.

The Telegraph reports:

Gordon Brown is being openly undermined by Cabinet ministers who are now publicly questioning his future as Prime Minister.

The Labour Party has no option but to replace him as leader or face certain defeat at the next general election, said one.

“We cannot go any lower,” the minister said, following Labour’s disastrous defeat in the Glasgow East by-election, one of the biggest upsets in political history.

“We are at rock bottom. The evidence is there for all to see. We are not a one-nation party any more. We are now a no-nation party. We cannot win in Scotland, we cannot win in England, we cannot win in Wales.

“There is only one thing that can be done, and it’s a change of leader.”

Another Cabinet minister added: “It has just moved from possible to probable that Gordon will be toppled.”

Apart from losing one of their safest seats, Labour is 22% behind the Conservatives in the latest polls – this would give them a 236 seat majority.

What will be interesting is who replaces Brown. It may be a poisoned chalice.

The other mounting coup appears to be in the Australian Liberal Party.

served as Deputy Leader and Treasurer to John Howard for over a decade. Howard refused to stand aside for him and when the Libs lost the 2007 election, it looked like Costello’s career was also over.

He did not contest the leadership post-Howard, realising Kevein Rudd could be expected to serve at least two terms, and that he was unlikely to survive to become PM one day. So he did not stand and made noises about retiring.

But things have changed. has been a very unimpressive leader, while the ambitious Malcolm Turnbull is mistrusted by many of his colleagues.

But why would Costello be reconsidering just because of that? It si because he thinks he can beat Kevin Rodd at the next election. Now Rudd is still very popular and ahead in the polls, but his focus on stunts is starting to gain negative publicity. But more relevant is the economy. Costelle presided over a decade of economic growth. If the Australian economy is not in good shape in 18 months time, then Costello will be seen as proven economic manager who could win against Rudd.

This is not as certain as Brown being a goner. But Costello is showing all the signs of keeping hos options open:

PETER Costello will map out an ambitious reform agenda in his political memoir – including a pathway to a republic – giving him the platform to launch a bid for the Liberal leadership.

The former treasurer will use his much-anticipated autobiography, to be published in October, to outline a list of priority reforms.

He will also lay out challenges facing Australia in a move to distance himself from John Howard’s “conservative” agenda.

And if things go well there may be a NZ leadership election later this year also!

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7 Responses to “A tale of two coups”

  1. Andrew (59 comments) says:

    The Costello-Kroeger faction from Victoria have been doing a hell of a lot of white anting internally.

    I think Costello planned the whole post-election scenario – he didn’t want to take on Rudd while Labor was still on its honeymoon. He knew Turnbull wouldnt get the numbers so set the weaker Nelson up to be the fall guy. Costello knows Nelson will take the party so low that they will come to him begging to turn things around – and offer him the leadership on a platter.

    Costello is timing his run perfectly – just as people begin seeing through Rudd’s rhetoric, Costello re-appears. The question is will he have the spine for a fight this time if Turnbull contests?

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  2. Tauhei Notts (1,687 comments) says:

    Is Abbott still around to be Costello’s running mate?

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  3. natural party of govt (238 comments) says:

    “And if things go well there may be a NZ leadership election later this year also!”

    Indeed, I would like to wish Bill English the very best of luck in November or December.

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  4. baxter (753 comments) says:

    TAUHEI no he is running round after that Yankee Girl visiting Samoa.

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  5. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,760 comments) says:

    The UK press has been full of reports the MP’s are actively seeking to replace Gordon Brown. The next question is once Gordon is replaced will the new PM be able to resist the call for a general election.

    If Gordon isn’t removed the Labour party in the UK faces the very real prospect of annihilation.

    Interesting times.

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  6. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,760 comments) says:

    The hot weather over here in London can’t help in terms of Gordon retaining his job. It has been 30c in London for the last few days. Summer has definitely arrived this year.

    Gordon is no doubt sweating more than most.

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  7. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,760 comments) says:

    Gordon is a goner!

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