Sunday, June 29, 2008


How Much Longer Can Labour Afford to Keep Gordon?

I note that Professor Michael Schmidt offered Gordon some cheer a cople of days ago and that Ken Livingstone was kind to his old enemy this morning on the Andrew marr show: just keep on taking the right decisions, he chirped, and people will eventually come round to see you are the person they need. Never someone to sell himself short, Ken seemed to be suggesting this was what he had done as mayor, so I'm not sure how reliable his advice might be. Others have been less kind. In todays Sunday Times Sir Gerry Robinson(pictured right) excoriated Brown's inability to delegate. Labour donor Sir Maurice Hatter(pictured with his hero) did not mince words either:

“He hasn’t got the charisma. He was a good number two, but he is not a number one. I just don’t think he is a prime minister. I was a Tony Blair supporter and I think his successor is doing very poorly. I believe that Brown is a nonrunner. The party would be better without him being prime minister”

Other supporters whose money might have reduced Labour's £20m debts also seem to be suggesting the party need a new leader; these include Sir Christopher Ondaatje and Bill Kenwright. Offering a smidgeon of support, was another old enemy, Alastair Campbell in the Observer today. In his record of his week he says:

To Barking in the evening to speak at a fundraiser for Labour MP Margaret Hodge and her campaign against the BNP. There has been a lot of talk of Gordon's first year and how badly Labour is doing in the polls. But fatalism has to be challenged.
The Tories are desperate for people to think it's inevitable they get back. They say it's like when we won in 1997. But there are two big differences. Labour was making big policy decisions; David Cameron is scared of making them because his party is so divided. Ask David Davis. Also, there was real enthusiasm out there for TB. I detect no such enthusiasm for Cameron.

So what's he saying? That TB should return? And is it surprising that there was no enthusiasm for Cameron at a Labour fundraiser? I'm sorry to say that the polls confirm it's all gone pearshaped: only 2% of voters say their opinion of Brown has improved over the past year; when he became PM 25% saw him as a liability- now it's a crushing 61%. And then coming behind the BNP in the Heley by-election... I thought the past grisliest of weeks was best summed up by Martin Kettle when he wrote:

... this has not been Brown's worst week. Judged by almost any criterion it is an abject and perhaps even an epochal collapse. While recognising the force of all the arguments against a change of Labour leader, it is hard to see how things can continue in this way for another two years.

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