Sunday, June 07, 2009

June 8th to June 12th: Brown's final week?

When James Purnell quit the Cabinet I said that Brown would be gone by the end of next week. Most Tories would probably rather like him to stay. As Labour friends of mine said many years ago, Iain Duncan-Smith was one of their greatest assets, likewise today, Brown is the greatest asset the Tories have. That at least is the received wisdom.

I still, personally think, that Brown will not last the coming week. However, I don't think it's going to happen in a big walk out of Downing Street crying type way. The fact is though, no matter what way his supporter try to spin it, he's finished. When the CEO of country sees five of his boardroom walk out there is something wrong with the head of the board. Period.

Add to that the act of walking, and the letters written which either (a) say he's crap, or (b) note that he's a misogynistic bastard, and you're in for trouble. Or how about the ones who walk that tell the world that "now is not the time to explain my reasons". Those are the words of someone who's thinking of the timing to pull the trigger and join the rest.

Today it doesn't rest either. Caroline Flint, having kicked Brown squarely in the gonads, is back in the Sunday Times having another pop at him, with the expected and standard line of saying what she is saying for the good of the party. I fully expect some more words from John Hutton over the next few days.

Then we have those that are left in the Cabinet fighting like school children. We have leaked memos from the Prince of Darkness himself, Peter Mandelson, saying Brown is "insecure" and laying into him as weak. Who do you think leaked that? My money is on Mandelson himself, and it is telling of Brown's weakness that such a thing could be leaked and he is not sacked instantly.

There are other things though which make the axe hanging over Brown's head so much closer to its target. The local election results have shown how hated Labour really are. It was always going to be a whitewash, but to see Council swing to the Tories from Labour where the latter is reduced from seats in the 40s to just 16, puts Brown in sever peril. No amount of expectations management can spin it as mid to late-term blues.

Then of course we have tonight. Tonight we will see how bad the Euro elections are for Labour. My guess is that if they're in third in the locals then third is likely for the Euros too. If they hold on to second it will be spun as a victory of course. However, if the BNP and UKIP start taking their seats then it will become more difficult for Brown to hang on.

Personally I think the most likely outcome will see Brown forced into making an announcement similar to Blair of his intentions. He still have the opportunity of course to say "back me or sack me" by stating that he's willing to face a vote at the Labour Conference. It's pretty clear that if he stays Labour loses, the question is if he goes will Labour lose as badly?

Does it matter either way?


IanVisits said...

Thinking strategically, getting rid of Brown could actually be good for the Tories.

The pressure for a swift election would be huge, and presumably would have to be held by the autumn.

However, the economy is also likely to start improving then, and if the election is delayed until next June, then the signs of recovery will be rampant.

Under such a situation, the election could be a lot closer as Labour will be able to trumpet their efforts to rebuild the economy (not withstanding the overseas efforts and the debt it caused).

jaydeeaitch said...

Brown's going nowhere. Mandy, an EU imposition, is in charge now, pulling the strings.

Polly Toynbee's Hairdresser said...

The delicious aspect of Government now is the re-ignited enmity between little lord sodomite and Ed balls.

Briefing and counter briefing in the offing methinks.
The country's problems can be forgotten, these troughing vermin have scores to settle.

Labour are at least third in the euro elections, NeoLabour are aware of that, but there are strong rumours they've come fourth.
Probably they will be spared that humiliation, but there is likely to be a significent gap in vote share between them and UKIP.
A share of the vote below 23% seems very likely.

How NeoLabour must despise the proles.
All that borrowed money they've sprayed around and still people aren't happy.
Truly we dont deserve our Labour masters.

Christopher said...

I think whats fascinating about all this is its sheer unpredictability. for all we know Brown could be in power for another year, by means fair or foul, or he could be gone tomorrow.
I was too young and politically unaware to really remember Thatcher when she went. But watching history being made like this is phenominal.

Barnacle Bill said...

Personally I would love to see him flip on live TV.
However for the good of democracy in this country and to give the "Labour" Party a chance to re-built it's self, we must have a General Election this autumn.
I also want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and some proper electoral reform on the table as well.
Is that too much to ask for this country's good?

Houdini said...

For a start and just as an observation, it would make little or no difference who took over; Labour, not just Brown, is hated. Bliar jumped ship before this became apparent and Brown took over thinking he could make improvements and was wrong.

The whole country from top to bottom know that the past 12 years has been a litany of incompetence and WASTE in almost every department of Whitehall and all promulgated by Labour. The Tories in 1997 lost a huge way, but only insofar as the amount of MP's, not by actual votes. Tory vote actually held up well and people then and now know the economy was in good shape after the 18 years. Labour has lost even it's core vote, and rightly so as the economy has dived and everyone has lost out, even in Labour heartlands despite the most aggressive fiddling by Labour to make these areas better at the expense of others.

So who is going to take over? Labour has spent years and masses of PR and marketing budgets building Brown into the economic genius he is not, shielding him from charges of incompetence, making him into the clunking fist, so who can take over and compete with him in the media, however misguided and fantastical the headlines?

Labour know this.

Brown will stay and end up with the support of most of the PLP as they realise they are going down but have only one choice of Captain to go down with. Why mutiny and elect another captain when the ship is about to sink anyway? They will use the myth of Brown to best advantage.

Anonymous said...

When having to `use`individuals such as Hain (retread) Sugar,Kinnoch et al what on earth can serious and trustworthy labour mps-and there are some-accept from this Walter Mitty PM.

The public has already shown its displeasure and tonight will be more of the same.

I await with interest the guidance notes for the media from his dodgy cabinet of how Brown is going to save the world-and himself- once again.

Nokia shares will undoubtably rise


Anonymous said...

Nigel Predicts:

ooberlib said...

What is important now is damage limitation to the country. It has far exceeded party lines, spin and propaganda. This wall of silence and delusion from the rest of the Labour asylum has to be demolished by the forces of reason and sanity.

I have just read a comment over at Cranmer where someone compares the situation to the surrealism and weirdness of the Donnie Darko movie....I think this sums it all up quite eloquently. Pure insanity.

The Penguin said...

Watch out for the Postal Votes!

The Penguin.

ollybarratt said...

i'm being interviewed live later on deutsche welle radio and radio new zealand about all this, and will be outlining some of the views from the blogs, including this one, about what happens next for brown.

i've been inundated with requests from our overseas radio and tv clients for interviews about gordon brown's predicament and the expenses scandal - and this is an audience that is not normally that interested in domestic uk politics.

i wonder if it matters to the uk's reputation in the world that the whole planet has been watching us with heightened interest these last few weeks?

fsn reporters blog

Scott said...

My guess is he has stabilised his position enough to ride it out.

His supporters are suggesting the rebellion is confined to a disaffected Blairite rump and that is looking more and more like the truth.

Unless and until we see the left line up behind the rebels this thing isn't going anywhere. And as I write, there isn't the slightest indication that is about to happen.

Just this morning John Cruddas came out in support of Brown.

I just don't think the plotters have the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Mandelson didn't leak his own comments about Brown; that was Guido Fawkes who somehow has access to Derek Draper's email inbox (containing emails from Mandelbum and others) over a period of several months.

Anonymous said...

And we still have Mandelsailor saying "what the people want is for the government to be getting on with the job".

Which part of FUCK and OFF do they not understand?

Anonymous said...

The difference between Brown staying and going is whether Labour wants to become the opposition at the next general election, or become the third party.

Don't think the PLP has the bottle to finish off Brown now, unless things can somehow get even worse next week!

Personally I'd like to see a LibDem opposition.. they're much more moral than Labour are supposed to be, voted against the Iraq war, stand to protect civil liberties, and have progressive ideas in all sorts of areas. Labour have nothing left, and they won't be able to reinvent themselves again.

Anonymous said...

I thought "Just maybe" he'd be out over the weekend. Maybe if the Council and EU election results had come out together?

But now? I really think the bastard will hang on in there for months if not the duration. I hope I'm wrong I really do.