Thursday, 24 July 2008

Brown And Out

I could almost - not quite, but almost - feel sorry for Gordon Brown-Trousers after reading this morning's headlines. Anyone with even the weakest grip on reality couldn't fail to realise that last night's by-election in Glasgow East - a safe Labour seat for over half a century - was going to be a gift for the SNP and yet another crushing humiliation for Labour in general, and the Prime Minister in particular.

And so it turned out to be. An enormous 13,500 Labour majority was effortlessly converted into a 365 majority for the SNP, following a Labour-requested recount, which I gather resulted in the SNP gaining a higher majority than it had after the first count. Classic comedy, if ever I saw any.

I doubt many Labour MPs are amused, though - most of them don't have a majority anywhere close to 13,500, and most of their seats are inherently less "safe" than Glasgow East, which was the 25th safest Labour seat overall, and 3rd safest in Scotland. The need to find a real job, in an unfavourable economic climate of their own making, must now be a terrifyingly probable prospect for an awful lot of Labour MPs.

It's not looking too clever for Gordon Brown-Trousers, either, what with Glasgow East being just 50 or so miles away from his own constituency. The fact is, he's just not Prime Minister material. He can hardly be said to be alone in that, of course - pretty much all of his party would struggle to tie their own shoelaces unaided, let alone run the country. But as the man in the top job, he is the most visible, and therefore most vulnerable, and it seems that even his own people now think that he's a liability in terms of popularity. As one Labour boss told the Sun, "If Gordon Brown opened a funeral parlour, folk would stop dying."

Accurate, in so far as it goes, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Yes, the Stalin to Mr Bean transition is complete, and irreversible, and Gordon Brown is now more or less universally despised (I say more or less because I met a single, solitary someone the other day who actually likes him). But, in the course of his descent into ridicule he has taken his Party's fortunes - such as they were - with him.

The hasty young fellows in the Labour Party - no doubt spurred on by the risk of needing gainful employment - think that a swift change of leader is the answer to their prayers. It isn't. Gordon Brown-Trousers has been at the centre of Government operations since 1997. Most of the appallingly bad economic decisions that are now coming home to roost were of his making. To expunge his influence on current - and future - policy would require a total, massively disruptive change in policy, from core values on up.

Such a change is bound to be divisive, leading to infighting on an almost unimaginable scale within the Party. And yet, it is necessary if the tainted Gordon Brown-Trousers is to be banished. Unfortunately, a party cannot realistically reinvent itself whilst also running the country - not least because the policies that it governs by may be entirely different from those it was elected to implement, although that didn't stop Gordon Brown-Trousers from ducking a referendum on the EU Treaty, did it?

The other alternative, of simply replacing the PM with a friendlier face and soldiering on, won't do the trick, either. People have seen the truth of New Labour, felt the pinch of incompetent economic policy and discovered that political correctness leads only to madness. No matter who took over the top job, they would either be a virtual unknown, or someone who has recently been involved in one New Labour disaster or another, and neither is an appropriate leader for a country in crisis.

No, the only way forward for the Government is to rally around Gordon Brown-Trousers, make noises about mid-term blues and hope that things get better before the next election. They won't, and even if they do people won't easily forgive or forget the current mess, but they will be even less willing to vote for one of the other alternatives.

So it looks like we're stuck with Gordon Brown-Trousers as PM for another couple of years. And he, in turn, can look forward to two years of deepening gloom and growing dislike in the electorate. I'd feel sorry for him, if only he hadn't jockeyed so hard to get the job in the first place.

Billy Seggars.

No comments: