Think back a year. Brown was riding high in the polls, Cameron was on the ropes with questions asked about his future, and Labour could openly contemplate holding an election with a good prospect of winning. Well, how times change. Now Cameron is ahead, Labour fears meltdown at the polls and all the questions are being asked about the future of Brown.
So, for much of this year, we have had calls from within Labour for Brown to sort out the situation or resign. Failure to do so, he was warned, would result in a stalking horse challenge. He was told to sort things out or resign by the local elections, then following the Crewe byelection, then by the end of the Parliamentary session, then by the Glasgow byelection, then by September, then by conference, then by October or November (depending on who you listen to).. Now he's been given until early next year. All this talk of calls for his resignation and each time the deadline is missed, it is extended yet again.
The fact remains, Labour will not dump their leader. There are no serious rivals waiting in the wings. The young pretenders are without backing (they are hated within Labour by more people than back them). The old pretenders are only considered because of the dire situation in which Labour find themselves. And there are of course the jokers of Hazel Blears and the Lady Harriet who are there to introduce a comedy element to this Labour tragedy.
So, election in 2010? Yes, almost certainly the case. So that means nearly two years of Labour instructions to Brown to get things sorted out or be gone by a specific date. And it means two years of relaunches as well. We had the so called relaunch last week about the housing and mortgage crisis. Frankly the relaunch of a rowing boat would be more inspiring.
The forthcoming Labour conference will be interesting. Labour pride themselves on abolishing fox hunting by hounds, but if recent events are anything to go by, blood sports are making a big comeback in Manchester in two weeks' time.
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