Monday, June 08, 2009
Labour's Future in the Balance
a) Conservatives push Labour into second place in Wales- the worst result for 90 years.
b) Ukip force Labour into third place behind them and in some regions they come fifth after the Greens.
c) The egregious BNP get two MEPs elected for the first time because the low poll and disgust at politicians has opened the door to them.
d) Labour lost every council it contolled in the Thursday local elections.
e) Purnell, Blears, Hutton and Smith resign from Cabinet plus some junior ministers.
f) Brown unable to move Darling from Treasury or Miliband from Foreign Office because he was too weak to risk any retialiatory action after Purnell's bombshell resignation.
g) Labour mustered only 15.3% in Euro-poll and are 20 points adrift of the Tories in some polls.
h) Labour has a prime minister who is a decent and able man but lacks some of the most vital qualities required of a national leader: communication skills, ability to relate to the voter, the ability to win the trust of his colleagues. However bad Balir was at some aspects of his job he never received th criticism Brown has after only two years in office.
Labour and its hapless prime minister could not be in a more enfeebled state but the fact is, by my reckoning, he is likely to stay. The PLP will be meeting in 30 minutes or so but my expectation is that Gordon will receive a grudging green light to stay in power. Why?
a) He has fixed the Cabinet by getting his potential rivals to accpet jobs under him. Johnson even says he couldn't do better than Brown. With nobody around whom they can coalesce, the rebels cannot go far. If Purnell, Blears and Smith had coordinated their resignations they could have brought him down. The rest, Johnson and Miliband included, lacked the bottle to do what they must know needs doing.
b) The PLP meet to dicuss whether to string Gordon up, but they are not organised and have no strategy; they are more like a directionless rabble.
c) Labour MPs know that a new leader by the end of July would mean pressure for an election they probably could not resist. So they would be put to the electoral sword just as they were in the local and euro-elections. Staying on will be excruciating, awful, but it will keep the mortgage paid-don't laugh- until 10th May 2009. I suspect this is what a majority of Labour MPs will be thinking.
Of course if they were thinking of the party and the country instead of their own circumstances, they might well think a new leader is depserately needed to provide vision, leadership, inspiration, none of them things likely to be forthcoming from Grodon Brown. I might be suprised by MPs' selflessness and concern for the body politic, but I don't think I will however much I'd like to see it.
Chatting to a US journalist today she asked why, given he was such a masterful political operater, Peter Mandelson had not ben considered? What a brilliant fulfillment of the House of Cards plt with Mandy as Francis Urquart! I had to explain he was too widely hated in the PLP to stand an earthly but reckoned he'd probably navigate Labour more skilfully through its dying months then Gordon will. How depressing is this- but maybe ther PLP meeting will surprise us all. I doubt it.
"Many think they will turn on Brown and turf him out, good riddance. They may well do so but I tend to agree with Mandy that this would be unwise. An election process will probably not play well with voters and it will be very hard to resist calls for an early election.
If that comes, Labour will be out for a generation. If they are wise Labour MPs will stick with Gordon- the devil they know- as that way at least they will survive until may 2010. But disillusion with Brown may cloud their judgemment and, as turkeys they may vote for Christmas."
Bill Jones - Monday 8th June
"If Purnell, Blears and Smith had coordinated their resignations they could have brought him down. The rest, Johnson and Miliband included, lacked the bottle to do what they must know needs doing.... Of course if they were thinking of the party and the country instead of their own circumstances, they might well think a new leader is depserately needed to provide vision, leadership, inspiration, none of them things likely to be forthcoming from Gordon Brown."
Are these two Bill Jones' by any chance related?
"I’ve been unhappy for sometime about smears against colleagues, about the undermining of colleagues and friends orchestrated by Number 10. I can’t support it and I believe the Labour Party is part of reason for the rejection that people have indicated, and it’s a rejection of that kind of politics. I can’t distinguish between those around Gordon Brown smearing and Gordon Brown himself. It’s how politics is driven forward by Gordon and the people around him."
MacBride acted for Brown fabricating stories about people, even the mental health of wives. Some decency!