Monday, May 12, 2008

Browns Troubles continue.

Another weekend of torrid headlines for the Prime Minister as ex ministers and others close to him spill the beans on his temper, his moods, his inability to make decisions and various other supposed chracter flaws that all add to the feeling that he is the wrong guy to be running our country.

This is all getting very like 1995 all over again ....

I don't remember a time since then when there has been such an unstoppable deluge of bad news for a Prime Minister with more and more of it sourced from his own side. In 1995 John Major was forced to issue his own MP's with a 'put up or shut up' challenge and although he was re-elected overwhelmingly that summer the damage was done to his authority and from then on the Tories were a one-way bet for the 1997 election.

Like many commentators I now don't believe there is a viable way out for Gordon Brown - I think he, too, is a one -way bet to lose office; and in his case it could be even worse because he suffers from three distinct disadvantages that Mr Major didn't have in 1995:


1) In 1995 the economy was rapidly coming out of recession, house prices had just started rising and inflation was falling. Today inflaton is rising and we are just entering a likely recession.
2) John Major had been elected as leader of the Conservatives and subsequently elected as Prime Minister in 1992. Gordon Brown has only ever been elected by the good people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
3) In spite of his troubles John Major was generally liked as a man and trusted by the public; he had come from realtive obscurity to the leadership and had no 'history' of unpopular decisions. Gordon Brown on the other hand has eleven years of history as Chancellor and is neither liked or trusted by the vast majority of people in this country.

... or pehaps even a bit like 1979....

Of course the Labour Government could even fall apart completely before the next election is due in 2010.

The Blairites will get much more aggressive if they think there might be a challenge to the leadership before the election while the young turks will manouvre for advantage after it has been lost. Those marginal seat backbench MP's need to appeal 'across the spectrum' - following a Blairite agenda while the safe seat lot only worry far more about keeping the core vote happy; calling for taxes on the rich and more 'socialism' in their policies.

And now we have the Scottish question coming up, and another bloc of Labour MP's in safe Scottish seats suddenly find the uncomfortable possibility of full devolution (and a P45) hoving into view. The last time Labour fell from office in 1979 Scottish Devolution was the issue; the Government lost a vote on it and then lost the subsequent vote of confidence motion.

It could be the 10p rate, Scottish Devolution, or something else, but this Government has all the ingredients in place for a sudden and terminal collapse.

2 comments:

David Trelawny said...

Good riddance I say! Why do we have to have a cabinet stuffed full of Scots dictating to the whole of the UK? Especially when their brethren, or should I say comrades, are all for independance.

It will be fiercely ironic if Labours Scottish MP's are the instrument by which Labour UK clings to a majority in parliament. In effect the tail will wag the dog. Who will be the recipient of this non-democracy? None other than us English.

Don't worry about non democratic edicts from Brussels, the reality is much closer to home - namely from the Scots!

Anonymous said...

The night in 1979 when Labour lost and were brought down by a single vote was the most exciting political event of modern history.

We need some of the excitement to return to politics and I hope the next election is a close one with a hung parliament