Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Polls Suggest a Meltdown if Brown Goes Early or Late

On Monday Jackie Ashley came up with a weird scenario that was less weird once you thought it through, but was weird enough even then. She reports a story doing the rounds of Labour insiders that Gordon, with the support of the likes of Angela Merkel might be a candidate to head up a new Global Financial Regulator body. Brown's instinct she feels would be to fight the next election even if he loses it badly but, on the other hand:

"He reads the polls. He knows he faces a catastrophic defeat. Now it's only a matter of when. If there is a lifeboat - jump."

So, what would Labour do? Well, according to Ashley the story is someone like Alan Johnson would step up and lose the election but less badly than Gordon would:

The one quality Johnson does have is authenticity - and that is what is needed right now. Labour people aren't saying they would actually win it, but think that they could limit a Tory majority, or hold them to a hung parliament. Other cabinet ministers are again taking very private soundings about their own standing, and what needs to be done.

However, this rumour was doing the rounds before the poll results were announced by Ipsos Mori today. This shows Cameron with a lead of 20 points: 48 to Labour's 28 and Lib Dems 17. These figures are based on people who say they will definitely vote; the whole sample shows numbers of: 39-31 and 19 respectively. Patrick Wintour in The Guardian tells us Harriet Harmon is positioning herself to succeed Brown after the next election.

She might well be, but the measure of the Tory lead is now such that it's going to be a meltdown if Labour goes early or goes late. So Gordon is best advised to keep plugging on for the present and hope things come right by the autumn. At least if he hangs on in there is a chance, in Mr Micawber's words that, 'something will turn up'

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