In politics timing is everything. The plotters, Hoon and Hewitt, got the close in tactical timings right but failed to notice that strategically their move made no sense in the current political climate.
The Labour party could well be in for a drubbing at the next general election in which case it is curtains for Brown. Even if we get a hung parliament the chances of him retaining the leadership will be virtually non-existent.
Gordon Brown is fast reaching a crossroads that will leave him only two real routes in politics. The House of Lords, or an EU/international type post. Outside of that it is business or retirement.
Many Labour MPs also realise their time is up in the Commons and that they should just keep their heads down and draw pay until the general election. That includes some ministers.
Had the Hoon and Hewitt proposed secret ballot found that Brown lacked support it would force a leadership contest which, if Brown won could make it harder to get rid of him after the election. If he lost who would want to take the leadership to just become a zombie PM for a couple of months with the prospect of being ditched shortly into the party rebuilding phase?
All this has done is further damage Labour’s re-election prospects. Especially as it took so long for the majority of his cabinet to swing any support behind the Prime Minister. And the support that came wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the PM. You can picture them yesterday afternoon and evening hunkering down, sharpening their knives and watching developments unfold. Only sheathing their weapons when it became apparent that no-one would take the bait.
Cameron and Clegg have of course called for a General Election but this recent action may just embed Brown further in with a late as possible General Election.
Both Hoon and Hewitt have been made to look a bit naive too. I would think they have a grudge or two more today than they did yesterday.
This Prime Minister and government are destined to die the death of a thousand cuts, not from one sweeping blow of the axe.