How dangerous is the “sleaze” tag for Labour?

How dangerous is the “sleaze” tag for Labour?

sun labour sleaze.JPG

    Is the Sun right to call it “Labour’s Black Monday”?

mail sleaze RH border.JPGThere’s a six letter word that figures prominently in a number of the papers this morning that could be very dangerous for Labour and Gordon.

It’s “SLEAZE” – a description that in the 1992-1997 Tory government seemed to get attached to almost everything. It became almost a short-hand and was very difficult for the party to cast off. In fact it’s probably taken it a decade and a half to get rid of it.

One of the drivers behind the massive Brown polling bounce in the summer, surely, was that his arrival at Number 10 allowed the party to put the “cash for honours” scandal behind it. That was about Blair – Gordon was seen as “clean”.

Even though Brown clearly had no knowledge if these latest transactions it gives a bad impression about the party. The resignation of the general secretary, while probably seen as a damage limitation exercise, somehow makes it worse.

An immediate political impact, surely, is that it’s going to be much harder for Brown to push through selective legislation that stops the Tories receiving the so called “Ashcroft money” to support marginal seats while at the same time leaving trade union support for Labour intact.

All this on top of the November ComRes poll showing Labour on 27% – 13 points behind the Tories. The Sun describes yesterday as “Labour’s black Monday” – I’m not sure it is quite that yet but Brown has a mega-challenge on his hands turning this round.

In my betting I am now back as a £100+ a seat buyer of Tory seats on the commons spread markets with two spread betting firms.

I’ll be doing more analysis on the ComRes survey later in the day.

Mike Smithson

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