Gordon Brown is, as Monty Python might say, “a dead parrot” as a Prime Minister. He is amongst the walking dead of British politics. Following his half hour of sunshine in the immediacy of the G20 summit in the first week of April, his decline has been rapid and remarkable.
The fall begin within hours of the summit’s ending. It became clear that the numbers he gave for “new” stimulus activity were a fiction – no new money of any kind for the British economy. Then we moved into full sleaze mode. The British Home Secretary, responsible for all aspects of British law, submitted a claim for expenses which included porn films watched by her husband. As all MP’s expense claims are about to published, but much sleaze is leaking out. Brown then appeared in a bizarre video on You Tube looking like a cross between Simon Cowell and Rasputin, with a bizarre smile. He proposed a cleanup plan for MP’s expenses, which was quickly rejected by all concerned. Worse, it angered his own party.
As if this wasn’t enough for him to appear a plonker, he then proceeded to get confused in the House – leaving and then returning on a run when he remembered he was to make a parliamentary statement –much laughter on the Tory side and shaking of the head on the Labour benches. Several cabinet members began to suggest, off the record, that Brown had lost the plot and it was time for him to go. The Deputy Leader of the party, Harriet Harman, suggested that Labour’s mistakes needed to be atoned for. Former cabinet members also started to suggest that Brown was a dead duck.
Latest polling figures put the Conservative Party, with David Cameron at the head, some 19 points ahead of Labour, fueled by the realization that the April budget figures will lead to a prolonged period of real austerity – cuts in government services, increased taxes and more challenges for health care. If the situation remains the same at the election, which is due before June 2010, Labour would be severely thrashed – the conservatives would have a majority of 170 seats.
The big test will come in June when the Brits goes to the polls for the elections to the European parliament. Normally this is a big yawn, but David Cameron has asked the people of Britain to use this election to show their disgust with Brown – vote to show that you want change. While the total voting will be small, Labour will do badly. It will be a symbolic defeat.
What is important is that Labour MP are now seriously worried about retaining their seats in the coming election – its clear that many will not. Some are already moving to suggest that the party replace Brown before the election – which means he would have to go between now and the middle of July. Brown will not go, so we have trench warfare within the party = more seats will be lost. Brown will shuffle his cabinet in the summer, leading to more disgruntlement – more warfare. More seats lost.
So it doesn’t look at all good for young Gordon. Even Tony Blair is letting it be known that he is not at all happy at how things are going. Its fascinating to watch the decline and fall of someone who should never have been Prime Minister.