The overwhelming problem for Brown and his minsters in proposing electoral reform is that it looks like a reaction to Labour’s historic defeat at the polls in the Euro Parliament elections. It has the appearance of an act of desperation.
For it was only two nights ago that the party was getting the terrible news about a total collapse of support in virtually every part of the country. So why start talking about the voting system now?
If Labour had been really serious about the issue then the time to go forward would have been after its historic 1997 landslide when provision for looking at change was included in the manifesto. That got dropped after Labour saw the fruits of first past the post and was never reinstated.
So what’s the point of tomorrow’s announcement? Is it another one of Gord’s great wheezes to create dividing lines between him and the Tories? The only problem about these, of course, is that Brown has a history of falling flat on his face. Remember the 10p tax band fiasco or, more recently, his ludicrous YouTube piece on MP expenses.
He’s going to be asked if he’s trying to fix the system so Labour can cling onto power. That’s a highly damaging accusation and Brown, if he follows his usual approach will deny the glaringly obvious, which could further undermine his standing.
I sometimes wonder whether there is anybody at Number 10 who has the confidence and authority to tell the PM that he’s making a prat of himself.