Saturday, June 30, 2007


Labour Under Brown Will Take Some Beating

Mired in the familiar contempt which Blair induced over the past few years, and despairing of any genuine chance of a renaissance for the party I support, I have tended to regard Brown as possibly a second best even to the shop soiled goods Tony had come to represent. But I am beginning to change my mind, as I'm sure other party members may be starting to do so as well.

This dour 'Stalinist' has manufactured a set of poll results to die for after ten years in power and allowing for the natural(I'd call it unnatural actually) bias in the electoral system to Labour. And so far, it's been done without any obvious limelight hogging pirouetting of the kind associated with his predecessor. Crucially, the new list of names for the Cabinet and junior levels has been handled without hic-cup and the 'all talents' people parachuted in have gone down well. Martin Kettle perceives a return to proper cabinet government with Jacqui Smith making the announcement outside Number 10 on the terror scare and not the PM as would have likely happened under Blair.

And those poll results really are mouth watering. Not only is the overall lead up to four points-more than just before the 2005 election-but on virtually all the key policy issues Labour now enjoys healthy leads: health 9%; education 11%; Economy 19%; fight against terrorism 15%; law and order 3%. Cameron and his advisers must be biting their nails in anguish as they watch their advantage being washed away under Brown's relentless accumulation of correct judgements. I'm aware, as I'm sure all party members are, that this is only a honeymoon period, that events and squabbles are bound to intervene and that Cameron is a resourceful and talented opponent.

But Brown has shown already that any Conservative assumptions of an easy progress to victory over a disillusioned and morally defeated Labour Party can be set aside: he's going to be a tough nut to crack. Who knows, Paul Dacre, editor of the quintessentially Conservative Daily Mail, which so excoriated Tony and Cherie, might be right in (according to someone who knows Dacre and Brown), seeing the new PM as 'a genuinely special politician... who is touched by the mantle of greatness'

Even my 'Tory activist' father (still delivering leaflets in his late eighties - one of the youngest members in his branch I think!) thinks Gordon Brown is a bit special. Especially as he's used windfalls such as North Sea oil revenues and privatisations to pay off national debt rather than to subsidise the revenue account. A splendid contrast to the phoney 'economic miracle' of the Thatcher years (which was more accurately described as selling the family silver to pay the golf club subscription or burning the floorboards to keep the house warm).

I don’t think his ‘serious politics’ is just a gimmick as some have suggested and I think the contrast with the last decade will be relished by the majority of Brits at least for a few years. I'm very optimistic about the fourth term...
Like yourself I'd come to regard Brown as 'Blair lite',and the only change would be a new face at the helm.The big task is to restore the public's faith in parliamentry democracy and, to his credit, Brown seems to realise this. The jury is still out but so far so good.Anyhow, if nothing else all the Tories over at conservativeHome are starting to realise the next election isn't the cakewalk they were starting to believe..
Has it not occurred to you that the reason the polls have risen is because Gordon Brown has said and done so little? if he had a challenge it might have been different. After the bomb scares I miss Tony already, Gordon depresses me every time he opens his mouth.
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