And now the end is near

An orderly succession is hard to pull off. For Plcs, the short-term pain of a proper selection process must be endured to find the best person.

by Richard Reeves, director of Intelligence Agency, an ideasconsultancy; e-mail:

Nobody will be taking lessons in successful transition from this Government. For all the talk of a stable and orderly handover of power from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, the reality has been more like the run-up to a difficult wedding: strife-strewn, clannish, nervous and exhausting.

The people best placed to understand New Labour, according to the political theorist Peter Hennessy, are medievalists, with their knowledge of court intrigue, tribal jealousies and baronial conflict. Certainly, that is how it has seemed so far. The Labour Party conference was a tinderbox.

Cherie 'Gordon is a liar' Blair simply dropped a match.

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