Is the problem Labour generally or just Brown?

Is the problem Labour generally or just Brown?


    Would the government have a better chance if Gordon stood aside?

The above, the main lead in the Guardian, is typical of what is in many of the papers this morning as they get their first chance to analyse the Crewe & Nantwich result and pose questions for the future.

Labour is in serious trouble facing, in my view, a Tory landslide that could match that of Blair’s in 1997. But is there a solution? Would Gordon taking early retirement enhance the prospects of the party that has been so much part of his life for so long?

My views are well known. In the eighteen months before he got the job I was convinced by the considerable amount of polling evidence that proved fairly convincingly that Gordon was an electoral liability – not an asset. So what has happened in the past few months has not come as a surprise. A Labour party led by someone with broader appeal than Gordon would have a better chance of holding on at the general election.

As to Gordon’s immediate prospects the Guardian story sums up the party’s predicament: senior party figures seem quite ready to brief journalists against Gordon – but nobody is prepared to go on the record. Nobody wants to be seen to be the assassin.

So I’m sort of coming round to what Sean Fear was arguing in the previous article that Brown might survive – and the person who should be most happy to see no pre-general election change at number 10 is David Cameron.

Get ready folks for ten, or even fifteen years of Tory governments. As the Guardian leader observes “..David Cameron looked like Britain’s next prime minister yesterday. The mood of the times is with him. Unless Mr Brown can stop that, Crewe will, as the Conservatives claim, be remembered as the day that New Labour died.”

Mike Smithson

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