Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Labour's Big Guns Suggest Government is Crumbling
Oh Lor! Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, it has and will do still more I suspect. Patricia Hewitt is leaving, in the old euphemism, to 'spend more time with her family' and Jacqui Smith is going to leave Cabinet, presumably because she recognises she has been badly damaged by the expenses scandal. But she intends to stand again in the next e2lection, so is she avoiding the forthcoming electoral debacle to appear unsullied when returned in a year's time? Could be.
Who's next? Well Alistair Darling is currently twisting in the wind after admitting fault by repaying monies for which he claimed illegitimately. Geoff Hoon is another who must be feeling the point of Damocles' sword pressing on his neck. And there could be others if the3 Telegraph has its way. Where does this leave Gordon? Deep within the toilet I fear. His anticpated reshuffle now looks destabilised before he has even begun and moving Ed Balls in for Darling won't fix anything; he must be among the least popular ministers in the government.
Will a disaster on Thursday- say coming third or fourth behind UKIP in the euro-elections- precipitate: a delegation from the Cabinet asking Brown to resign; a backbench uprising to get rid of him; or a combination of both? According to the The Guardian today Brown is hoping trhat after 'seven days of torture' he can settle down with a new Cabinet and hope to rebuild. Clearly he hopes that the tiny signs that the recession has bottomed out and that maybe growth is around the corner makes him think he can survive.
I'd say the odds are well against that. Even a tribal Labour member like me, for the first time since 1983, is not voting for the party on Thursday. Enough is enough I fear.
There are I think two things to set against that:
1) She never set the Thames on fire as Home Secretary and might have a really tough job convincing the remaining PLP she would be the right person to lead the Opposition to Cameron
2) If Labour lose, her seat will almost certainly be one of the fallers. In fact, if the polls are to be believed it could become a pretty safe Tory seat.
Most likely, she feels her only chance of surviving the GE is to devote more time to constituency work and avoid the bad headlines her post was generating.
Prediction time: I think we are in the last month of Brown's glorious reign. He will be forced out after Thursday's certain disaster. Labour will be forced to go to the country with a new leader. And they will lose heavily.
If I were a Labour supporter, I would try to wipe out this Government as quickly as possible. It is doing no end of harm to their electoral prospects 5 or even 10 years down the line. Enough is enough.
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