Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Will Gordon Really Go This Time?
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.
Having read The Guardian's grim editorial today; the fact that Hazel Blears has also scurried back to her constituency; and that Betfair punters think we're heading for an early election, I think my commenter might be at least partly right. The Guardian allows for not a sliver of possibility that Brown can carry on:
This week Mr Brown announced a national democratic council that might (to see it in a generous light) form the basis of the sort of constitutional convention that led to Scotland's modern parliament. But it is too late. The chance for him has passed...The truth is that there is no vision from him, no plan, no argument for the future and no support. The public see it. His party sees it. The cabinet must see it too, although they are not yet bold enough to say so...Labour has a year left before an election; its current leader would waste it. It is time to cut him loose.
The problem with this scenario is that it cannot be clear an angry electorate will passively accept a second unelected prime minister on the trot. The editorial suggests the replacement- it clearly seems to envisage PR favouring Alan Johnson- could argue Labour needs a little more time to fix things in the short time before an election is going to happen anyway.
Such a story might work or might easily not. More problematic it seems to me are the following questions:
1. Will Gordon go voluntarily? Going down in history as a 'failed prime minister' who only lasted two years is something Brown would hate to do and the alternative will have to appear much worse for him to take it.
2.If he won't go quietly- and my feeling is he won't- will the Cabinet and/or the PLP have the bottle to confront him with the whisky bottle and the revolver as the Tory Cabinet did Thatcher in November 1990?
3. Will the Lib Dems- and this could be crucial- support another year of Labour in power? Yes, they will if Labour promises to introduce fair voting.
The pressure has been building for weeks now- triggered by the expenses scandal and the obvious collapse in any remaining voter trust in our present political system. The next few days could produce as big a change in our politics as we've seen since that fraught week in autumn 1990 when Thatcher reluctantly allowed her fingers to be prized from Number 10's door. We do, at least, live in interesting times.
Agree, And Gordon can ahrdly expect loyalty when he sniped and schemed for so long to undermine Blair.
The situation he now finds himself in makes the "curry coup" from 2006 look like nothing. 2 cabinet ministers and 2 junior ministers in 24 hours, the day before local and Europe-wide elections!! The jig is up surely?
Ive got an essay to write for my OU course on anarchism - anyone got any good books?
A robust prospectus and why not? Loved your certainty re Gordon's resignation and await verification. You could try Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today, MUP in the series I edit. Quite good on Anarchism I seem to recall.
I wonder Skipper - remember, although PR is a long-cherished LibDem goal, so is coming second in an election. They have a slim chance (about one in ten) of doing that if they are not associated with Brown - none if they are perceived to have propped him up.
Moreover, it is difficult to see how Brown could promise more than a referendum on PR at this stage - anything else would struggle in the Commons and almost certainly be kicked out by the Lords (no Parliament Act could be invoked this side of the election). Would that be enough for the LibDems to suffer under his standard? It seems improbable to me.
Fully agree with points 1 and 2.
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