The media world has been ablaze lately with questions regarding Gordon Browns leadership and his ability to lead Labour to a 4th General election victory. Indeed the Labour party is finding itself increasingly divided as to what should happen now in the face of a string of by-election defeats in some of the previously safest Labour seats in the country and an economy that is increasingly on the down turn. There are some in the Labour ranks who believe that old Gord is having a run of bad luck and he will inevitably pick up his game after the Summer recess. These are people that acknowledge that whatever his mistakes now, what ever his personal flaws, all of the Labour party were more than happy to ride on the back of his reforms, the same reforms that led them to record electoral success under Blair. Therefore they recognise a degree of loyalty is required and cling to the hope that things will get better.
Personally I admire these individuals far more. Whilst I may disagree with them politically and in their perceptions of certain members of their party, I too believe that in times of crisis it is vital to get behind your leader sure in the knowledge that the ‘other lot’ would be far worse. If the boot was on the other foot I would still back Cameron absolutely certain that yet another Conservative leader would prove suicidal for the party. However, back to Labour, there are other individuals, snakes in the grass if you will, who believe that the summer should be the time to plot Browns downfall and scout for potential successors. Andrew Porter of the telegraph, revealed earlier this week that some 30 Labour MPs were already cooking up a killer letter, ready to be given to Brown at the end of the summer recess.
As a Conservative theres nothing I would relish more than seeing Gordon being booted out on his backside by his own party, not purely for my own sense of satisfaction but because of what would inevitably follow. We conservatives only have to look back to the fall of Thatcher to see what bitterness and in-fighting can do to a party. Many conveniently ignore the fact that Thatcher did win the first ballot of the Conservative leadership contest and it was likely she would do the same in the second ballot. Therefore in many ways her party would back her, despite their misgivings about her leadership. I am sure the same can be said of many in the Labour ranks.
However it was the snakes in the Tory grass that refused to let it lie. They set out to topple her and her cabinet would be pushed in to dealing the death blow. If Gordon Brown does go then I feel it will be the cabinet that push him and not a majority of his parliamentary party. This view is further reinforced as the media is reporting that Harriet Harman was reported to have been overheard saying after the defeat in Glasgow East ‘This is my moment’ whilst David Milliband is said to be investigating how to mount a leadership campaign. However if Brown does get pushed it wont be the new dawn that Labour hope it will be as a poll published by populus suggests that around half of voters do not believe that a new leader will improve the party’s fortunes.
The new dawn Labour will get will be merely a repeat of the dawn of 23rd November 1990, the day after the Tories toppled their greatest leader in living memory. We did go on to win the 1992 election yes, albeit by a whisker because we had such an incompetent and unpopular opposition. However that win only delayed an inevitable thrashing 5 years later. In my view the Tories should have lost the 1992 election for the sake of our own electoral prospects just as Labour for their own sake need to lose the next election. If Labour ditch Brown, they will fall apart at the seams not just for this election but the one after that and the one after that. They will find it hugely difficult to regain the public’s trust and I think the sensible wing of the party know this.
There simply isn’t enough time to convince the country that yet another Labour leader put in to Number 10, yet again without an election, can lead the country effectively. Not when they are faced with such a resurgent Tory party and the charismatic Cameron. Cameron would rip them apart at the dispatch box and then the electorate would rip them apart at the ballot box for taking the country for fools. Labour are on the way out either way, now they can do it the easy, dignified way or they can do it the hard way which would send them in to the political wilderness for many years to come. They can lose by 100 seats with Brown or they can lose by 200 without Brown either way they will lose. I personally hope they will do it the hard way but if I was a Labour supporter I would be fighting Browns corner tooth and nail. The fact remains that no matter how incomepetent or bumbling Brown may be, he is the best and only Labour man for the job… which is in itself a sad statement.