Will Gordon look more secure after today?
Ten days on from the Crewe & Nantwich by-election and MPs return to Westminster today after their long spring break. This will be the first chance many Labour members will have had to talk face to face with parliamentary colleagues about the challenges facing the party and the prospects for the next general election. What will mood be like? Will Gordon feel a tad safer after today?
My guess is that he will because there is no real evidence that Labour would be doing any better with a new leader.
For Labour’s challenge is that the changes in voting behaviour that we saw on May 1st in the locals and in London and on May 22nd at Crewe and Nantwich are ones that they can do very little about. For a significant trend appears to be that ex-Tory supporters who gave up voting all together in the mid-90s are now prepared to back their allegiance again.
Ken got thrown out of City Hall in spite of increasing his vote share because turnout levels in outer London were far higher than we have seen before. The same return to the Tories happened in the by election.
It is hard to see what strategy Labour can adopt do to stem the flow of those sections of the electorate who had given up voting altogether when their party, the Tories, looked like a shambles – as they did from September 1992 onwards – who now seem prepared to return.
For the party that’s now appears to be in most difficulty is the one headed by Gordon. The media narrative has turned.
The only consolation for Brown is that punters are still far from convinced by the polls and C&N. The spread markets have barely moved in the last week and a half and the current levels still indicate a Tory majority of about 50.