Is a new leader Labour’s only hope?

Is a new leader Labour’s only hope?

How dangerous is this September for Mr. Brown?

The holidays are over, the party conferences are only a week or so away, and now we get the latest Lockerbie stories linking, in however a tenuous way, the prime minister.

Mr. Brown hung on in the aftermath of the June 4th election disaster when Labour lost all of its remaining county councils, its national vote drop in the EU election dropping to just over 15% and what appeared to be a concerted attempt to replace him with the dramatic resignation of James Purnell.

Labour’s hopes of hurting the Tories rose and then were dashed when the stories involving Andrew Lansley, Andy Coulson and Daniel Hannan hit the headlines. The polls stay solidly bad and hardly anyone can see anything other than a massive thumping in the election whenever it comes.

Whatever the party does seems to have no impact. In such circumstances can we see the “replacing the leader” idea gaining traction again or could Mr. Brown just decide to stand aside?

I have little doubt that a part of Labour’s plight is down to the man they chose as leader and under somebody else they would do better in the coming general election. The charge of “ditherer”, first heard after the bottled October 2007 election U-turn, is being increasingly used again and I wonder whether the Labour conference could be a critical period?

Meanwhile there’s an interesting new betting market, noted here by Richard Nabavi, on Mr. Brown where you’ll only have to wait a couple of weeks for an outcome. PaddyPower is taking bets on Brown approval rating in this month’s Sunday Times YouGov survey.

These are the prices:-
8/1: 10% or Less

6/1: 11% – 15%

4/1: 16% – 20%

11/10: 21% – 25%

9/4: 26% – 30%

9/2: Over 30%

Looking at previous surveys in August it was 26%, July 24%, June 23% and May 25%. In the aftermath of the G20 meeting in April it reached 41%. My guess is that 21 -25% is the likely winner and the price doesn’t seem to bad.

Mike Smithson

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