Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Brown Out for Labour?

New Labour is decomposing. Each day Brown's position is undermined a little more, either by another back bencher calling for a leadership contest or simply because the big beasts of the World's financial sector are going belly up. (That doesn't really work for our Great Helmsman as he's spend a decade boasting about his 'special friend',Prudence).

Can he get through Labour Party Conference at the end of this month? Conferences are great places for plotting after all. I think he will because it really isn't going to be easy to dump him, elect another leader and still pretend a general election isn't necessary. You can't change Prime Minster twice on one mandate without getting pilloried in the Press. & the one viable tactic for Labour whoever is leading them surely has to be avoiding an election for as long as possible. People have stopped talking about 1983 - which was a better outcome for Labour than the sort of result currently suggested on websites like Electoral Calculus - and started muttering about 1931 (52 seats for Labour).

This has happened in other countries - whole historic parties have been almost wiped out in single elections in my life time in both Canada and Italy. I know it sounds ridiculous to imagine it might happen here - but a perfect storm is brewing for New Labour. There is a gathering sense of the economic crisis of 1929 being re-run in miniature(well, I hope it's in miniature..). The SNP look and sound like a social democratic party of government on a European model. Labour's old 'core' manual working class vote is slipping away, mainly to apathy but sometimes to the BNP, and the 'aspirational' classes are turning Tory again.

But most of all New Labour no longer has a coherent and trustworthy political story, just a bunch of increasingly panicky policies that change, it seems, from day to day. It could really all go tits up for them.If (and it's a big 'if') they lose the Glenrothes by-election I predict Brown will fall. & then Miliband or Cruddas or whoever it is will be forced to go to the polls in months and get massacred....

Or Glenrothes will be held. & then we will face a sort of re-run of the last 18 months of the Major administration: government by 'waiting for something to turn up'...But in either event, I can see no circumstances under which New Labour can possibly win the next election. It's just a case of them choosing when and by how much they might lose.

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