If there were an election today

Electoral Calculus says present poll trends would leave the Labour Party 20 short of an overall majority. Boundary issues and concentration of support mean the Tories would still be behind Labour despite an almost 3.5% lead in the popular vote. The Lib Dems with 32 seats would hold the balance of power. Will these trends hasten Blair’s departure?

  • Mick Fealty

    There seems to be serious indecision amongst the Cameron entourage as to whether they want an early Brown takeover or not.

  • Mardy Bum

    There seems to be serious indecision amongst the Cameron entourage on virtually every substantive policy proposal.

  • fair_deal

    As it is not their decision it seems strange that they fixate on it. Also it would lend itself to meaning they have a Labour counter-strategy rather than a Conservative strategy, not a sensible approach.

    BTW replied to your email.

  • Keith M

    It is a truely ridiculous situation where the Conservatives gain substantially more votes than Labour, but less seats. One can only hope that the price the Lib-Dems would ask to support a minority government, would be a fairer electoral system.

  • Jo

    “Events, dear girl, events.”

    These slightly paraphrased words must haunt TB’s sleep.

    Instead of leaving on a relative high, (when would that have been?) his determination not to be the “second longest serving PM” to Thatcher has meant that the increasing pace of disaster will build to a crescendo precipitating his departure in ignominy.

    What will it take to finally tip him over the edge? Indeed has that event (Levy) already happened?

    Surely he cannot be so deluded to believe that a Nov 24th resolution in NI (now thought 80% unlikely by NIO) could redeem his reputation?

  • Mick Fealty

    Policy is not the question this far out from an election. As one libertarian blogger pointed out to me recently, which policy initiatives did Blair and/or Thatcher reveal before taking office?

    But their indecisiveness over facing Brown is interesting. He’s both a serious political heavyweight and a ruthless fighter.

  • Yokel

    Mick..Brown is neither. He’s weak, indecisive, a tinkerer and a man who doesn’t do well when faced with opposition……..He’s only a heavyweight by virture of his cabinet position and leader in waiting position not because there he is one of the great political behemoths.

  • Mick Fealty

    He’s a heavyweight compared to his current opposite number. Arguably, he tinkers because having completed the first masterstroke of handing economic management over to the Bank of England, that’s all he needs to do.

    Though his fiscal control has gone to pot since giving up Tory spending plans, the Tories must also know this only becomes seriously damaging when the UK is well into an economic slump.

    And, he is ruthless.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    I agree entirely that Brown is ruthless. I think he saw how rubbish Major’s premiership was because of a divided party, and has decided to wait til Tony hands over to avoid being hampered by resentful Blairites at every turn. On top of that, he has been in control of huge swathes of government policy by keeping a very tight hold of the purse strings, but has somehow maintained a reputation as leftish.

  • Mick Fealty

    Frustrated Blairites could be the death of his premiership though. There’s a breifing war going on over there that’s a unrelenting as anything Major’s ‘bastards’ were involved in.

  • kensei

    “Policy is not the question this far out from an election. As one libertarian blogger pointed out to me recently, which policy initiatives did Blair and/or Thatcher reveal before taking office?”

    Quite. but Cameroon is pursuing a strategy whose current nadir is the “Hug a hoodie” nonsense. I can see what he is trying to do with the image of his party, but if many more of those stunts miss the mark then he will start doing his credibility some serious damage.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    I agree on the briefing war, but I think that if Blair goes when he wants to instead of being forced out, added to the threat from the Conservatives, there won’t be the same appetite for or tolerance of infighting that there was in the Tories. For all the hype, the heavyweight Blairites have mostly gone, and for all the bluster about John Reid he’s not PM material. People like Charles Clarke might have been a problem, but now he needs to kiss Brown’s ass to have his massive ambition sated even a little.

  • Mick Fealty

    Garibaldy,

    “…the heavyweight Blairites have mostly gone”.

    Indeed, I’d say that was the most significant outcome of the last shuffle.

  • Garibaldy

    Definitely Mick. When we see people like Harriet Harmon angling for the deputy premiership it shows how narrow the Blairite stratum is becoming.

    I think a major difference between Labour and the Conservatives in the 1990s is the fact that there is no Blairite faction within the membership, unlike the Eurosceptics. It would have been a small number at the top able to cause trouble, but that is shrinking.

  • Keith M

    If Brown was ruthless then he wouldn’t be working to Blair’s timetable on when he can be take over. Real power is something you have to take and is not just dropped into your hands. (Even Jack Lynch found that out).

    As for Bown being a political heavyweight, then can I suggest that someone n eeds to get the weights and measures people in. He handed over the key financial decisions to the Governor of the BOE, (not necessarily a bad thing given Labour’s reputation of economic mis-management) and tinkered with moving the tax base from direct to indirect/stealth tax.

    If there’s no such thing as Blairism (and I’m struggling to find anything of note) then you can forget about Brownism, because he won’t be around long enough to matter.

  • Yokel

    Anyone can be ruthless with people in weaker positons but…anyone on his level or above Brown hasn’t got it in him. He’s a classic bully. The mark of a heavyweight is that they can slug it out and best other heavyweights, Gordon doesn;’t have big history on that score at all.

    He has plenty of weapons to kick Blair out and he won’t do it. All hes done is sulk about it. Blair’s people have stuck up two fingers to him and are planning to put in a decent heavyweight in against him for the leadership. He has had plenty of chances to shoot Blair and he hasn’t done it, why? Because he isn’t ruthless enough. His people have put out half cocked statements, rumours and messages in the media talking about transition etc but it never really gets rolling fast. Blair could be finished quickly and Brown can do it privately and readily. It isn’t going to make Blarite/Brownite infighting worse if Brown finishes Blair off because the chasm is already so deep anyway. In short, Blair, wounded as he is, still sees off Brown, week in week out.

    Will Brown win a leadership election? Yes, but it’ll be closer than people think because once he’s he’s on the stump he’ll lose support. Sure Cameron isn’t a heavyweight but neither was Blair when he became leader…

  • Jo

    He may have had chance to shoot Blair but hasnt taken them. Well, not yet he hasn’t.

    The 2 possible answers are he can’t or he won’t.

    His gloomy demeanour has lead many to think he’s just a sulker without a strateg. That may be so, but both he and TB remember how divided and ineffectual Labour was throughout the 80s because of the deep divisions which made it unelectable. Neither faction has any longer term interest in resurrecting such divisions.

    What are personal relations between G and T like these days anyhow? Is there even a remote smidgeon of friendship remaining? Perhaps there is. I tend to the “he won’t” argument. The bus is coming and it’s his for the driving. Just don’t expect any swing back to true Labour with him at the wheel.

  • Bushmills

    With Brown at the helm can Labour kis bye-bye to Essex man?

  • Greenflag

    Relax everybody – Blair’s gone on holiday . He’s left Prescott in charge 🙂

    No safer pair of hands eh ?

  • Crow

    So assuming there was an election today does anyone want to predict the NI result? Does the SDLP lose South Belfast but retain Foyle? Does the DUP snatch FST from SF? Does the UUP lose their last seat in North Down or make a gain in South Antrim? Does the nationalist vote continue to ebb? Has tactial voting begun to play a bigger role?

  • dodrade

    If an election was today, Spratt would take South Belfast, Foster could only take FST given a clear run by the UUP, Durkan would keep Foyle and Hermon North Down, though with reduced majorities. South Down in McGrady’s absence is anyones guess, probably a SDLP win with a reduced majority.