As David Bartlett notes, Gordon Brown’s visits to Liverpool as PM haven’t always been the happiest of occasions.
Addressing the TUC today and telling them that public services will have to put up with some hefty spending cuts is unlikely to go down well either.
But Brown should use the opportunity to highlight some clear blue water between Labour and the Conservatives going into the general election next year.
Labour should have a lot of ammunition over its successful response to the recession, a model that has been largely replicated the world over.
And, going forward, he should be able to paint the Tories as champing at the bit to start slashing spending left, right and centre. NHS, BBC, schools…it writes itself.
But, as ever, all of the talk in the media will be about how Brown is again fighting for his career, accompanied with a picture of Brown cradling his head in his hands, despite the obvious fact that the leadership is a massive poisoned chalice a year away from an election and no-one is likely to be queueing up to replace the PM.
The rather pointless survey today revealing that the public thinks ‘anyone’ would do a better job that Brown is rather undermined by the fact that, when pressed, pretty much none of those questioned could name another Labour candidate.
Brown is also on his way to Ellesmere Port today, the home of the new Astra hatch. That visit also conceals a fairly low-key but successful strategy of shoring up the British car industry – spearheaded by Lord Mandelson.
It’s something else to shout about and, although there are whispers that Mandelson was outmaneuvered by the Germans of the Magna-GM deal to buy Opel and Vauxhall, the reality is that a low-key lobbying operation has been underway to secure the new Ampera petrol-electric vehicle for Ellesmere Port.
Will it be enough to even slightly shift the polls? Unlikely, but Brown need to use the ammunition he does have if he’s going to try.
• Image by Dave Evans