David Cameron has issued a challenge to Gordon Brown today: come out an campaign! He issued his ultimatum to the Prime Minister after pledging he will come out and campaign for the Conservatives in the Glenrothes bi-election. To think the leader of the Labour party actually going out and campaigning for his candidate…. in his neighbouring constituency no less! The Scottish seat of Glenrothes became vacant after the recent death of Labour’s John MacDougall a long time friend of Gordon Brown. The Conservative candidate is former student leader Maurice Golden who has been encouraged by Camerons claim that he ‘will be campaigning and supporting Maurice on the streets of Glenrothes’. The bi-election in Glenrothes is one I shall be watching keenly because it could well spell the end of not just Gordon Brown but New Labour.
Labour must be relieved that Brown has escaped the summer relatively unscathed, but the fact remains that Labour are in deep doo doo. The Conservatives are consistently consolidating their lead across the country with some polls predicting leads of 25%, and even in Scotland which isn’t so welcoming to the Tories, the SNP are doing the job for them. As the Glasgow East bi-election shows no seat is safe for Labour. To lose Glenrothes, right on the doorstep of Browns Kirkcaldy constituency, would all but deal the death blow to Gordon Brown and his credibility. Discontent in the Labour ranks I am confident would quickly turn in to a full scale rebellion. It looks ever more likely that the Conservatives will romp home to victory in the next General Election, the question being raised by many is ‘by what margin ?’. Even if Labour were to go through the trauma of changing its leader, the polls are predicting it would not make a jot of difference.
In all intents and purposes Brown has used up his inheritance. He has to make bold decisions and revamp his party if he is to remain Prime Minister. However given his current performance, when he left it to the leader of the opposition and his mutinous Foreign Secretary to take the lead on the Georgian crisis, I somehow doubt he is the man to save Labour. He has had an extraordinary bout of luck, inheriting a strong and vibrant economy from the Conservatives in 1997 and being able to take credit for ‘watching over’ the economic growth that was to follow. Now, when his job demands that he take tough decisions he is all out of ideas. Sadly for Labour I fear that it is more than the summer that is coming to an end.