Friday, December 19, 2008

Golden Brown?

I've been of the opinion for some time that Gordon Brown doesn't have a hope in hell of leading New Labour to victory at the next General Election. However, whilst I still think the speculation about an early election is wrong I've also decided to take a step back and open my mind to the possibility of a Brown victory.

Like the joke about a towel getting wetter as it dries it seems that the worse the economic situation becomes the more people look to Brown's economic expertise. Neat trick if you can manage it, although I'm sure it's never occurred to Brown to, you know, nudge the economy a bit, make it wobble, and then put out his steadying hand to reassure us that all will be well.

Of course he's helped in this by the Tory Party's inability to convince that they have the required competencies to handle the economic situation and seem to be pursuing a strategy of letting Labour make mistakes rather than do the running on a comprehensive economic strategy of their own. That might even work but it's hard to respect.

Now I certainly want Labour to win. Not because I think the Tories are the bogey man or because there are undoubtedly good people in the nooks and crannies of the Labour Party who I would dearly love to share a party card with - just not *that* party card. I suspect the main reason that I want Labour to win is that when they're in opposition I'm expected to have amnesia about what they're like in power. I just can't be bothered with that, Labour in government keeps things simple.

But when all is said and done a Labour Party that's fighting a losing battle in Scotland against the SNP, effectively to its left, and an English operation that is flagging - where it is simply a question of how many votes the Tories will beat them by rather than who will poll the highest. They just don't have the gumption to win. Debt ridden with an historically low activist base it doesn't look good for Labour right now.

Having said that the activists have by no means disappeared and many of them do seem to have worked out that if they don't start bucking up their ideas the General will end up being a very sad day for them indeed. I've definately detected a slight upsurge in Labour activity over the last few months and it may well be that Boris Johnson has been a bit of a wake up call for them. If the Tories think this will be a pushover they'll be the ones who are in for a surprise.

Of course most of my own election work will be building for our three top priority Green candidates, who are all standing in Labour held constituencies. I should say that says much more about the kind of areas where we do well than any suggestion that we target Labour, which we don't.

We'll be putting forward a real alternative to the three grey parties that calls for fundamental change - but that doesn't mean it's irrelevant to us who wins the next election, nor that we are immune from the same political factors that effect the big three. I guess we'll see and I'll try to keep an open mind, but Ladbrokes look pretty certain that it will be Cameron PM before long - and we all know that the bookies never lose.


scott redding said...

Michael Portillo, on This Week this week, said it would be the 26th of February, 2009. Unusually precise.

Perhaps the worse the economic situation becomes, the more Brown is comfortable. He gets to say obscure economic phrases and people actually know what he's talking about.

Mike Shaughnessy said...

If the opinion polls continue to to improve for Labour, or even if they steady how they are now, then Brown should call an election sooner rather than later.

I think the voters will be reluctant to change govt in the middle of an economic crisis. Better to go to the country before it is clear whether the govt's policies are working or not. The Tories seem to have nothing to say about the economic crisis.

My prediction a GE in early April 09.

Frank Partisan said...

In the US the Greens are ridiculously fragmented. Some even are Democrats. In some states they abstain from electoral activity.

When Nader was kicked out, he took many good people with him.

In the US there is nothing resembling a labor party.

scott redding said...

Labour marginals, and 18 of the 23 constituencies held by members of the cabinet, have faster rising unemployment than the rest of the country. If this holds, he'll wait until 2010.

Jim Jepps said...

"In the US there is nothing resembling a labor party."

Same here mate, same here