Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Have the 'Fatalists' Got it Right?

My drinking mates will confirm I essayed on Monday night the same argument used by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in yesterday's Guardian. This is that Labour probably have to accept that their three terms is all they are going to get. The Conservatives were the party which logged two plus successive victories during the fifties and the eighties but by the end of both the feeling that the pendulum just had to swing next time was palpable.

I know it would place me in the camp of what Rawnsley called the 'fatalists' in his Sunday piece, but I think the signs of a similar change of national mood are now discernible in the polls and in the media. This doesn't mean Labour are going to lose, of course(high employment figures today suggest the economy is standing up pretty well), but it does suggest that we probably will. Wheatcroft goes a little further in suggesting that it would be better for democracy and, indeed for Labour if this happens. There is much in such a view: three terms stalls the democratic renewal process for just about the maximum time.

A fourth term for Labour would overstretch it and encourage more of those those silly claims that we have become a 'one party state'. It might also prove disastrous for Labour. Already reeling under a succession of disasters and acute problems, a further four years would hammer nails into the coffin of Labour chances of getting back into office by the mid 2020s. It will be a shame for Gordon, who, his supporters will claim, is entitled to another term, but, quite frankly, I disagree. I would argue that his conduct in office to date establishes that he does not deserve another term.

I remain optimistic, but dismayed that Brown has yet to grasp that leadership requires the articulation of vision. He also needs to understand who his enemies are and treat them as such.

His mates at the Daily Mail are screaming ‘UK and world facing the biggest financial shock since the Great Depression, says IMF… And the IMF warns that Britain could be the country hit hardest’.

They don’t mention that the same IMF report predicts the UK will outperform all other G7 countries, bar Japan.

The big tent he tried to build for the ‘government of all the talents’ has collapsed. We have to fight to make the world a better place.

As for a fourth term being disastrous for Labour, I don’t buy into the idea that periods opposition are a necessary part of the creative process.

How would the Conservative Party survive a fourth defeat? Would 2009/10 be their 1992?

I reckon not. Cameron hasn't achieved anywhere near as much for the Tories as Kinnock had for Labour.

Instead, they'd sack him and lurch rightward in a particulalry nasty way.
Your optimism cheers me a little but Jennie Russel's well argued piece today seems to be closer to my degree of pessimism I fear.
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