28 November 2007

Brown On Probation.

Although Brown cannot be blamed for some of the problems Labour currently faces - (discgate could have happened under any government and the party funding fiascos that puts the blame for sleaze solely at Labour's door is unfair because it...
ignores the fact that the Tories with their front companies are just better at disguising their anonymous loans. Also, the laws on party funding transparency never existed before Labour came in. The Tories were perfectly content for all sorts of dodgy donors to be kept secret. Worse activity by the Tories before 1997 undoubtedly went unnoticed and so far there is no reason to suspect that Labour donor David Abrahams is anything other than just publicity shy, rather than corrupt. Can the same be said about Lord Ashcroft (who wont even live here and pay tax) and others who donate to the Tories).

Despite all that, what Labour have done is illegal and looks dishonest - even if it was not meant. Another 18 months of this incompetence and I say we ditch Brown. That would leave about a year before we had to call a general election and a year campaign was long enough for Kevin Rudd in Australia. I don't see what we would have to lose considering our rating in the polls is now at its lowest for 19 years at a pitiful 27%. Perhaps ironically these disasters might give Brown room for manouvre and he can turn things around and rein in any complacent arrogance and top-down thinking that I think is the root to Labour's troubles.

Saying all this, I still don't see any enthusiasm for the Tories, who even in these Labour dark days, amid catastrophe after catastrophe, cannot poll above 41%.

It seems laughable now that Brown was perceived to the left of Blair. Always trust Ken Livingstone's assessment is my motto from now on.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but what would Labour members give now for a 5 year mandate, albeit on a reduced majority. What was all this nonsense about Brown having to increase the majority? Even the worst poll predictions in September to October predicted only a hung parliament with Labour still by far the biggest party. Now we look like we are counting down to certain defeat, a massacre even.

I said back in August - we should go for it before the party conferences. Even in a late October election, I think we would of won. What lost us support was Brown's dithering. Even an idiot would know you cannot have a cast iron guarantee of victory. His boldness in calling an election would have strengthened our poll position on its own. Instead he showed us our worst fears - a weak indecisive leader who has tried to label the blame for his bad decisions on anybody but himself - the worst type of bully (you can probably tell that I had little faith in Brown being leader right from the start).

Now, because of Brown, we have no choice but to play the long game. If the Labour party has any sense, it won't give Brown more than 18 months - a leadership contest that we should have had in 2007 should definitely happen by conference 2009 if Brown cannot improve our standing by then. The trouble is, even if Labour are the best government ever in the next 18 months it might not change our ratings...unless we ditch Brown. If Brown cannot be decisive and start making a difference then MPs and members should be...otherwise we are heading for oblivion and we will deserve all we get.

PS. For those who ridiculously say I am a party loyalist who slavishly follows the party line and has Brown as my hero, put this in your pipe and smoke it.


  1. "there is no reason to suspect that Labour donor David Abrahams is anything other than just publicity shy, rather than corrupt."

    Bollocks, it reeks like a week dead fish. There is every reason to think that he is corrupt from the reversal on his planning application to the fact that despite being "publicity shy" he was on the front row at Blair's leaving speech.

    Lord Ashcroft has made, (despite the mendacious efforts of Labour to knobble the donations laws for their own gain), entirely legal and above board donations.

    Perhaps I should buy a pipe but seeing play the old "stab the leader" game is not such a great surprise.

  2. Falco, What would you do to stop individuals buying favours off political parties? (which is always going to be the suspicion of any large donation from business, indivuduals or trade unions).

    If you think all large donations should be stopped. How would you fund political parties?

  3. That's quite a fair summary, from a tribal Labour loyalist point of view.

  4. Mark, from that comment, can I assume you don't think it a fair summary?

  5. As I said, it is a fair summary from your point of view. Were I a Labour loyalist, I'd pretty much agree. Only I'm not. But I like the way you put in loads of links to earlier posts and so on.

  6. "What would you do to stop individuals buying favours off political parties?"

    The obvious answer is the transparency that Abrahams was so keen to avoid.

  7. Falco, transparency is not enough. We need transparency, credible limits on donations and state funding.

  8. No Neil, we just need transparency. There is no good justification for state funding because it further entrenches the positions of the main parties. Nor is there a credible argument to limit donations, if I have £X why shouldn't I be free to donate it as I wish?

    We have a free press and if there is full transparency then corruption can be eaily exposed. Why else do you think Labour have put so much effort into avoiding the laws they implemented?