February 12, 2009

TIME FOR THE OTHER THATCHERITES:

Utterly exhausted, Labour is giving up: Attention turns to who will take over from Brown as the party's leader in opposition (Iain Martin, 2/12/09, Daily Telegraph)

Wanted: a leader-in-waiting for a Left-leaning political party scheduled for a move into the once familiar territory of opposition. The successful applicant will need a GSOH and the patience of a saint to steer his party through the challenging next phase of its development.

You might think that there would be few applicants for the post of Labour leader after Gordon Brown, but you would be wrong. The race to succeed him after the election has already started, as the Prime Minister's year has so far been entirely empty of good news. [...]

What looms is not just defeat, but the death of everything on which the Labour party has based its assumptions and policies for more than a decade. Will there be much left for its next leader to inherit? Those manoeuvring for the leadership will banish such thoughts. There is the possibility that the Conservatives, if they win, will crumple quickly on entering office. Public opinion is volatile. Will it turn on Cameron and propel Labour back into power? Perhaps.

But the Conservatives entertained similar thoughts in the aftermath of their defeat in 1997; which explains why they invested so much effort that summer on the leadership contest to succeed John Major. That battle was akin to two bald men fighting over a comb. But fight they did; and so will Labour after the election.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 12, 2009 4:54 PM
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