September 7, 2008


Tony Blair's return as Labour leader would slash Conservative lead, survey claims (Benedict Brogan, 06th September 2008, Daily Mail)

The Conservative lead would be slashed if Tony Blair returned as Labour leader, a poll claimed last night.

The survey suggested that the former Prime Minister was the only senior figure capable of turning around the party's ailing fortunes.

Gordon Brown, like Gore/Kerry/Obama, has let the conservatives take back Thatcherism.

Labour despairs of Brown, but there is no sign of a Brutus: The party can neither make a collective decision to get rid of the beleaguered Prime Minister, nor to rally round him (Andrew Rawnsley, 9/07/08, The Observer)

Enemies and friends of Gordon Brown should both be able to agree on this at least. A Prime Minister cannot be on perpetual probation. That is a recipe for the government to carry on fragmenting, for his reputation to continue to disintegrate and for the Conservatives to cement their huge poll lead. It is evident what the Labour party should do for the good of its own political health. It ought to make a collective decision either to get rid of Gordon Brown or to rally around him. But Labour can't do either and why that is so has become evident from the events of the past few days.

The Prime Minister does not have a recovery plan. He is nevertheless going to survive, for a while at least, because those who want him gone don't have a plan either. There is a fearful symmetry about hunters and hunted. Neither the would-be regicides nor the enfeebled king can get their acts together.

The attempt at an autumn relaunch of his premiership sunk as soon as it hit the water. The modest package of proposals to lift the housing market was greeted with a chorus of derision for being too slight to make a significant difference and at the same time irresponsible for encouraging people to buy into a falling market. It was simply idiotic to make these small-change announcements on the same day that the OECD published a headline-stealing forecast that Britain will go into recession. Does no one in Number 10 have an events planner? They also smelt like precisely the sort of 'short-term gimmicks and giveaways' that the Prime Minister claims to be against.

The week closed with an even greater embarrassment when Number 10 had to confirm that it was abandoning the much-trailed idea of handing out energy vouchers to help the poor with their fuel bills this winter. Mr Brown will now be reduced to extolling the worthy but bathetic virtues of loft insulation. Another saga of inflated and then dashed expectations means that this week's gathering of the trades unions will be even more surly.

As one former cabinet minister, who is still very close to Tony Blair, puts it: 'It is perfectly plain that there is no great policy relaunch coming. It doesn't exist except at a PR level.' A senior Labour strategist says bluntly: 'Until Gordon goes, until we get a new leader, Labour will not be listened to again.'

Caesar has once more displayed his weakness, but so too have those who would be his Brutus.

Nixon explained the situation well to Ike, but this is a family show.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2008 11:12 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus