It looks like Gordon Brown is finally getting his way, says Nick Assinder on the BBC's website. If the evidence of this week is anything to go by, he is finally "in charge".
Tony Blair's absence from the crunch vote on ID cards on Monday may have been accidental, but it nonetheless has given the impression that the chancellor is "easing into prime ministerial mode", as has the fact that he has been "stepping out of the Treasury and delivering what can only be seen as prime ministerial speeches".
On Monday, Brown gave a speech on how Labour should meet the challenges to global security. And in a move that appears to be have been "carefully co-ordinated" with Blair, he is planning follow up speeches on education, the environment, work-life balance, science and skills, as well as throwing his weight behind the Blairite agenda on education, says James Blitz in the FT.
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All these things are well outside his brief as chancellor, says Toby Helm in The Daily Telegraph, and that's something we are supposed to be noticing. Indeed, even the most Blairite Labour ministers are lining up to support Brown and admit that there is, as Charles Clarke puts it, a "duel premiership".
To go with his new position of joint premier and no doubt in practice for a full takeover Brown has been attempting to make himself more appealing to the electorate. Gone is the bright red tie everyone is so used to; in its place a more friendly pink one. He is being rebranded from a dour Scot into a "smiley Brit with a grasp on every topic from childcare to terrorism", says the Midlands Express and Star.
Could this all be an attempt to lure voters back from the younger, trendier David Cameron, who has been stealing a march on Labour since he was elected as Conservative leader two months ago? Maybe, says Helm. The Brownites and Blairites have certainly been "shaken into recognising the need for unity against their new, more dangerous enemy" since Cameron got into his stride.
Rachel Sylvester, also writing in The Daily Telegraph, agrees. The Cameron threat means that this is just the start of "project Gordon", she says, and from now on his aim will be to present himself in exactly the way that David Cameron has done: as "the man of the future". But he will also be working on contrasting his "stable realism" with Cameron's "heady optimism". No doubt his left-wing supporters will be disappointed by this change in the chancellor. But he is probably "ready to pay that price" to get his go at the top job.
This Government has always been a bit of dual monarchy, says Sylvester. But this shift to Brown really does seem to be different. Indeed, it is now reasonable to expect that Brown will be prime minister by next summer, when the Comprehensive Spending Review, which is designed to lay out the Government's priorities for the next ten years, is published. Blair will have to hand over before then if he is to hand over at all. It would, after all, be "odd for Blair to mastermind plans for the decade after he stands down".
But what would happen then? If Brown were to "display the sort of courage and decisiveness which he has rarely shown in his political career so far", he would call a snap election to give authority to his new administration, says a Telegraph editorial. Not only would an early election come before the chancellor is forced to cut public spending and increase taxes, but, best of all from his point a view, it would put David Cameron on the spot. He faces dangers as well as opportunities in the "strange manoeuvres at the highest level of this tired-looking government".
Annunziata was a deputy editor at MoneyWeek, covering financial markets, politics, economics and comment pieces. She then went on to the Daily Telegraph as a lead writer where Annunziata wrote a column on young women’s financial issues. Since then, she has been a member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region in the UK as part of the Conservative Party and Annunziata continues to write for titles as a freelance journalist.
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