Monday, June 8, 2009

Labour's long march to the gallows

Quite a night. The Tories win Wales for the first time since 1918! The governing party on 15.7%!

I would have thought that Labour activists, MPs and supporters are seething with embarrassment that they let in Nick Griffin and that a second BNP MEP was elected. That is likely to shock them to the core and make them deeply ashamed of themselves.

Tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party meeting will be an angry one.

But my guess is that Brown will survive. What is the alternative? Milliband obviously doesn't want to take over for 9 months then lose an election, so he's biding his time. It'll be Alan Johnson. And? What good will that do? You can't tell me that in the fifth year of a government he is going to suddenly change all the policies he ought to change (Dump ID cards, Dump Post office part-privatisation, bring in Nick Clegg's 100 days reform plan etc etc). He can't do it. You need a general election to have a mandate for any radical changes and, in any case, the Labour party as a corpus doesn't have any agreement on an alternative manifesto or policy platform at this stage. And, Johnson would have the added impediment of continually being asked what mandate he has to be Prime Minister (more so than Brown currently).

So, all Labour can do is stagger on under Brown or Johnson until the constitutional parking meter in Downing Street goes onto red and they have to call a slaughter election.

Which brings me to the Conservatives - who "held their own" in the Euro elections. It was hardly a rocket-charged performance. If the Tories had performed in the high forties or low fifties then perhaps Brown would be toast this morning. But UKIP aren't likely to repeat their success at a General Election, so that might be Brown's salvation (if spending another 9 months in limos and No 10 can be called "salvation" when, metaphorically, you have a baying mob outside No 10 and people taking potshots at your limo with rotten tomatoes).

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