Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Brown coronation has gone horribly wrong

It has taken a year to get the first Labour resignation over the axing of the 10p rate. Angela Smith has resigned as PPS to Yvette Cooper, even though she voted for the budget resolutions last month and was part of the Treasury team that introduced this measure. That aside, it does show the developing mire into which Labour are sinking. Labour were supposed to be saved by the coronation of Brown. But it went horribly wrong very quickly. Brown's inappropriateness for the top job was masked in the first few weeks of his premiership because of the terror, FM etc crises. He was praised for his handling but frankly, any other PM would have responded in the same way which, in effect, was to let the authorities get on and deal with the issues at hand.

But the election that never was was a turning point. It has been downhill ever since, and given that Labour were already down hill, that was quite an achievement.

Put yourself in the position of those Labour members who believed replacing Blair with Brown would solve all their problems. How depressed must they feel now?

I don't count on opponents to self destruct. They normally step back just in time from the precipice. But a party that has been in power for a long time under a dominant leader may be prone to internal ructions once the dominant leader had left the scene. That happened to the Tories after Thatcher left. Is the same happening to Labour now that Blair has gone? May be too early to say but all the symptoms are there.

The Tories managed to hold together long enough after Thatcher left to win (but only just) the 1992 election. There is a slightly different feel now with Labour. They seem to have gone along the same track much more quickly. After less than a year in office, the talk is very much about getting rid of Brown. We have seen the distraction caused in the Lib Dems when the agenda is dominated, rightly or wrongly, by questions about the leadership of the party. The Tories had it with Duncan Smith as well.

Too early to say whether Brown will be dumped and as he is the occupant of Downing St, and there is no obvious successor, removing him will not be easy for Labour. Time will tell how events turn out, but what is currently happening is clearly not what Labour had in mind when they knifed Blair.

I wrote this for my private diary but thought I would share it now.

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