Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Raise Your Game By Glenrothes Byelection: or Else...

It seems like the journalists with ears plugged into the unsafe ground beneath Labour have concluded Gordon will be given a few more months to turn things around. Rachel Sylvester in The Times reflects that it is the once perceived assets of the party which are letting them down so badly now: presentational skills and stewardship of the economy. She repeats the story posted by Nick Cohen in the last Observer that the story about off-message minister's Ivan Lewis's harrassment of a colleague was 'planted' by Number 10.

She goes on to suggest the Cabinet is wavering with both Hutton and Hoon giving decidedly lukewarm endorsements of their leader and a number of Cabinet members, including Miliband, Blears and Purnell refusing to endorse Brown leading the party into the next election; five others refused to say despite having been ordered to say 'yes'.

Patrick Wintour, well known as being close to the inner counsels of Labour, suggests:

Brown's cabinet sceptics were disappointed by the handling of the relaunch over the past three weeks, but have not given up hope that his performance and poll standing can improve. But they are not prepared to wait beyond Christmas.

He also passes on the rumour that Brown is planning a reshuffle whereby Balls would replace Darling and the ultra-loyal Nick Brown installed as Chief Whip.

Disaffected Hyndburn MP, Greg Pope is quoted as saying:

Possibly this is unfair on Gordon, but I think the electorate has stopped listening to him, so I think the issue of the leadership has to be forced out into the open. The fact is that in the division lobbies and tearoom the performance of the prime minister, and his mistakes, is the only topic of conversation. I am not embittered. I am not seeking a job, and I am proud to be a backbencher. Nor do I have a candidate, I am not supporting David Miliband or Jack Straw or anyone. But there is no point pretending things are OK when they are not OK."

But it does seem as if the Cabinet are going to give Gordon yet more time to turn things around: until the Glenrothes byelection, or, I suspect, Christmas at the latest. Or maybe this is just frothy talk which we political anoraks love but means nothing and, for want of resolution and a brave aletrnative candidate, Gordon will continue as front man in the toboggan hurtling down the slope to horrendous defeat? One suggestion in the blogosphere which brought a smile to me face was that Tony Blair should stand in the byelection, be elected and save Labour from extinction

He's even wider of the mark than you suggest. Pension credits guarantee people over 60 "£124.05 a week if you are single or £189.35 a week if you have a partner".
Think you meant to post this on today's comment rather than yesterday's, but it certainly amplifies the extent of Clegg's error. Mind you, it also shows my source of information was wide of the mark too, though my figures give the basic pension before credits. Thanks.
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