Labour’s crisis begins in earnest…

It’s no longer a secret. Gordon Brown is in serious difficulties. Trailing the Tories by a full 21 percentage points is a smack in the face that the party may have anticipated, but seem remarkably unprepared for. Local parties building their strategy around a Brown and Labour government would be well advised to dust off their Plan B, bring into play. Poverty of ambition is a much a part of this embarrassing defeat as the competent and energetic campaigning of the Tories.

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  • Dewi

    Any news from London Mick?

  • RepublicanStones

    Labour can relax….they just need to wait for Cameron to come up with another one of his policies du jour, then they can thieve it and shout longer and harder that it was theirs all along.

  • DC

    Complete shambles linked to the removal of the 10p tax level, what a bad call in the face of ultra high energy and food inflation. Coupled with the targeting by banks of property for investment returns has made Labour look a little people-blind.

    Times really are tough for those of us on around 12-17k a year and with large increases in cost of living and the likelihood that people have not adjusted to it yet, still spending in line with previous household budgets, has probably rumbled Labour’s vote base. This may have given the kick in the guts to voters who have made this one of the biggest protest votes against the current shape of things under Labour leadership.

    I noticed the Tories haven’t really been gloating over this victory as they realise the mammoth job required in lifting people out of the doldrums, which given last night’s Question Time shows much of this will require successful approaches at an international level. The Tories aren’t that great on the world stage or even with European partnerships.

    Troubled times ahead with many live-to-work mindsets out there.

  • ulsterfan

    A week is a long time in politics. There will be many banana skins for labour and the Tories to slip on before the next election.
    Too soon to call

  • kensei

    What really amazes me is the descent of Labour into factional briefing, backbench rebellion and trouble over Europe. It was ultimately Labour backbenchers that caused the 10p tax rate issue to be a crisis. Principled for sure, but complete political suicide. It’s like watching mid 90’s vintage Tories. Every MP in the House of Commons knows the result: this is history repeated as farce.

    I suspect a loss in the next election will cause an ideological fight between Labour’s left and right wings that will do it no good and result in a period in the wilderness. About the only thing I see going for them at the moment is they aren’t as hated as the Tories were.

    Still, I find Cameroon to be the most plastic-y and insincere politicians I’ve ever seen. Apparently I’m a minority.

  • DC

    There seems to be something so non-Labour underlying in Gordon Brown’s recent leadership approaches.

    A case in point was when the parties here pressed for lower corporation tax which was countered by Brown that perhaps N.I. should consider lowering its minimum wage.

    In hot pursuit of Gordon Brown is Mr Varney, who has been uttering similar tones about lowering min wage, which if I saw him now in my current state I would not think twice about putting my fist through his face.

    So, while this stuff wouldn’t wash at all in Great Britain for it would eject the most noblest politician, the 10p tax situation is a watered down reflection of Brown’s current economic style. It is, in my view a good example of how Labour has lost touch with those on lower incomes and those that make things financially awkward can expect reciprocation in the form of life becoming politically awkward.

  • LURIG

    Indeed DC, there’s no doubt that governments who remain in power so long end up looking at the electorate and elections as occupational hazzards. This arrogance eventually ends up biting them on the a*se as they think that their office is a given and the views and opinions of the public irrelevant. The 10p tax was political suicide as people on low incomes are finding it harder & harder to stretch their meagre wages. Like yourself EVERY time I see or listen to one of these self righteous economists, banking spokespersons or right wing business groups demanding that we tighten our belts; accept lower wages & redundicies; embrace slave labour call centre working conditions and make sacrifices I FEEL like sticking my boot through the TV. When BP, SHELL, TESCO, BT & The Energy companies post soaring record multi billion pound profits as they triple their charges & prices I get bloody angry. We are being fed the usual Thatcherite dogma by people like Varney which promotes greed and embraces poverty. They are living in an immoral world that starts and ends on a ledger sheet and boils life down to profit and loss. This crowd acctually boast that an underclass MUST exist to feed the egos and bank balances of the chosen few. It is a sad indictment on the rotten, selfish, uncaring world we live in. If there is a hell hopefully this crowd will burn in it for eternity.

  • DK

    LURIG: “When BP, SHELL, TESCO, BT & The Energy companies post soaring record multi billion pound profits as they triple their charges & prices I get bloody angry.”

    Then change to Esso, Total, Co-Op, Pipex, and calor gas.

    Don’t get angry – do something about it. I have – the best examples above are Tesco and BT.

    Tesco are undercut in various products by lots of different companies – by Iceland for prepared meals, by Lidl for basics, by Asda & George’s Market for fresh food, even M&S;are cheaper for wine.

    BT are probably the most expensive choice you can make for either broadband or phone. Pipex are always doing deals for t’internet and Virgin media are quite good for overall packages.

  • Debbie

    They’re blaming their woes on the tough economic times we are in and heading for, but I don’t think it was all down to the economy.

  • gram

    kensei>What really amazes me is the descent of Labour into factional briefing, backbench rebellion and trouble over Europe. It was ultimately Labour backbenchers that caused the 10p tax rate issue to be a crisis. Principled for sure, but complete political suicide. It’s like watching mid 90’s vintage Tories. Every MP in the House of Commons knows the result: this is history repeated as farce.<

  • Debbie

    Complete shambles linked to the removal of the 10p tax level, what a bad call in the face of ultra high energy and food inflation. Coupled with the targeting by banks of property for investment returns has made Labour look a little people-blind.

    And the lost data, and the election that never was, and the stunt of turning up late to sign the treaty etc infact I cannot think of one positive headline he has received since becoming PM. But its’ too late to get rid of him, they need to change their policies and as Nick Robinson reported there is even disagreement about how they should go about that.

  • kensei

    gram

    So your point is that labour backbenchers should have said nothing about the 10p farce as staying in power is more important than principle.

    No, my point is that principle without power with useless. Pragmatism is required as well as principle.

    They got a concession on the 10p tax rate, but if Labour are out of government Labour backbencher’s power to secure further concessions is nil. Sometimes mistakes are made, you have to hold your tongue and suck it up and play the longer game. The electorate do not like split parties. There were plenty of ways to make their displeasure heard behind closed downs and get a promise that something would be done at the next budget.

    There are a section in all parties that would rather than be right than in power. They tend to be heard less when the inevitable result of pursuing this is felt for a prolonged period.

  • gram

    kensei:They got a concession on the 10p tax rate, but if Labour are out of government Labour backbencher’s power to secure further concessions is nil. Sometimes mistakes are made, you have to hold your tongue and suck it up and play the longer game. <

  • Respect are up a seat and the BNP are up 13.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Dewi: this morning’s Metro has an exit poll calling it for Ken, but pretty much every other media outlet has called it the other way. And Paddy Power are already paying out for a Boris win:
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91211-1314824,00.html

  • BonarLaw

    DC

    “In hot pursuit of Gordon Brown is Mr Varney, who has been uttering similar tones about lowering min wage, which if I saw him now in my current state I would not think twice about putting my fist through his face.”

    First of all, it’s Sir David Varney.

    As for the rest of your post, I wonder if you really wanted to hit the submit box? I appreciate that times are tough but they are much tougher after a spell in Magahberry followed by unemployability due to a criminal record.

  • x

    The rise of the BNP in these rsults has not been overly commented on but of all the parties they have seen the greatest live 33 seats up from 21 – an amazing 57% increase.

    Without proper analysis it’s hard to judge but as traditionally the far right gains support from the disillusioned left, the collapse of labour in their heartlands may have a more profound affect than some might wish to admit.

    This sort of rise should not be ignored.

  • DC

    Aww bless, thanks Bonar for your concern x

  • BonarLaw

    DC

    although you might get into the Felons’ Club…

  • Driftwood

    The only good news for Labour is a Boris victory.

    The economic situation is indeed looking grimmer by the day. But the assembly gravy train puffs on regardless, useless, impotent, pompous grandstanding. That 7 billion subsidy is the (white) elephant in the long room at Stormont.

    If the situation continues in England the possibility of BNP piggybacking on alienation and resentment is worrying.

  • Harry Flashman

    *I find Cameroon to be the most plastic-y and insincere politicians I’ve ever seen.*

    (cough)Tony Blair?(cough)

  • kensei

    Harry

    I think that can be levelled at early Blair — there is one of his early speeches as Labour leader in my 20th Century speeches book, and it’s more vapid and soundbitey than you can possibly imagine. But I think even then he was not as bad (and certainly didn’t come up with stuff as naff as “hug a hoodie” or “let sunshine win the day”) and that he shed a great deal of it fairly quickly.

    I think his “The kaleidoscope has been shaken” was a fairly decent piece of oratory, and suggested something more than simply spin. I have yet to see any evidence of anything real for Cameron.

  • DM

    Don’t like Cameron myself, too waffly, always thought of him as Blair Mk 2, but then maybe he’s what the Conservatives need.

  • Gordon Brown will be gone soon!

    “Interpreting the next verses gives a timescale for the fulfilment of the prophecies. “The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings,” (Rev 17:9). The seven hills symbolise Rome, built on seven hills, so the author of Revelation is attacking the Roman Empire. The comparable empire in our context and era is the British Empire and the city comparable to Rome is London. So the seven kings come from London.

    Adams to go under Gordon Brown

    “Those kings are described as “Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come” (Rev 17:10). Coincidentally during the Troubles, the Troubles being the key timeframe, five London PMs have fallen: Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, and Major. “One is,” or the sixth PM, must refer to Tony Blair under whom much of the changes to the North took place. Of course, the meaning of “one is” must be further interpreted as meaning that Blair was undefeated when he left office and therefore hadn’t “fallen”. The other five leaders have “fallen”. The seventh king who has not yet come is remarked: “…but when he does come he must remain for a little while” (Rev 17:10). I think that this must refer to Gordon Brown who won’t be PM for long by this account.

    “The fact that Blair is referred to as “one is” demonstrates that the major prophecies occur under his rule while he “is”. But the whole sequence of verses, ante-ceded with the proviso, “This calls for a mind with wisdom,” (Rev 17: 9), making them the most mysterious verses in the Book of Revelation, also signals that the whole framework will have outworked itself by the time of the seventh king, “who has not yet come, but when he does come he must remain for a little while”. So when Gordon Brown, the seventh king, stops being PM, which won’t be long according to the prophecies, Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams will be disgraced and in turmoil, or “thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur” (Rev 19:20). The intriguing question is what happens under Gordon Brown that leads to this outcome.

    For more click on my name.

  • Dewi

    From Wales – first column is gains / losses in councillors. Second is number of councilors. Great day for Plaid. If Checkov is about he can eat humble pie.

    LAB -122 344 -6 2
    CON 62 173 1 2
    PC 33 207 -1 0
    LD 21 162 0 0
    OTH 6 378 0 0
    NOC – – 6 18

  • Harry Flashman

    >The rise of the BNP in these rsults has not been overly commented on but of all the parties they have seen the greatest live 33 seats up from 21 – an amazing 57% increase.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Labour’s apparent demise and the Tory rise will probably seen by most nationalists as disappointing – though this only relates to their view on the national question as opposed to economic isssues.

    I think there is some basis for concern as elements of GFA/STA oblige Britian to find common ground with ROI – a Tory govenement playing the British card might be tempted into a more pro-union stace on Non Iron e.g. on the recent flags issue. I think the Irish government slipped up here in the negotiations for GFA/STA by not spelling out this co-operation between the governments further.

    Dewi,

    some strange results for PC – Caerphilly up 6 and Gwynedd losing 8 ( torygraph said they lost 15?)
    and what happened to the great Wales (Ospreys )team against Edinburgh? It really looks like international rugby is a level below the regions.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Cameron became leader of the Conservatives solely because of his plasticky, Blair-clone nature. The Tories reckoned if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

    Debbie, Brown did have a few good moments early in his leadership. He came over well during the attempted terrorist attacks last year, and I think his first meeting with Bush got the balance right and began to redress the UK’s “poodle” relationship with the US under Blair. At that time I remember looking forward to a period of relatively stable, spin-free government without any crazy foreign policy ventures.

    I do not accept that the 10p tax crisis was caused by the backbenchers. What happened was that people got their paypackets in April and found that there was less money in them, courtesy of HM Revenue. I think people were angry that their politicians didn’t show leadership on this when they should have done, a year ago. Others, like myself, received our paypackets and found that we had more money, again courtesy of HM Revenue. At a time where certain aspects of the public sector are suffering from underfunding, and where the minimum wage barely provides a dignified subsistence, the idea that the better off need to be rewarded with a discount on their tax bill is repugnant to those of us with a social conscience. The media figured this out and went in for the kill, and the Labour left backbenchers relished the opportunity to embarass the government as well as cover up the fact that they failed to resist this change when Blair was in control.

    It’s very hard for me to understand what demographic Brown was trying to appeal to when he abolished the 10p rate. Sure, giving me a tax discount might cheer me up, but then slapping more duty on my petrol will quickly dispel any positive impression I might have. They say that Blair knew that the 10p removal was a loser, but he didn’t fight it knowing that Gordon would have to clean up the mess. It’s looking increasingly like he is having the last laugh of the Labour leadership campaign.

    The biggest negative characteristic to me about Brown’s government is the policy of strategic procrastination on key issues. Blair’s administration was characterized by a PR-led approach driven by spin. Brown’s approach of leaking to test the water is darker and more cynical. At least with Blair you knew what you were going to get. Brown’s problem now is the public perception that his party needs a spell out of office before it can become a viable political force again, a perception which will be very hard to turn around; meanwhile the Conservatives, particularly through their success in London, seem to have been successful in breaking with the past and making themselves electable again.

  • Greenflag

    IWSMCNTDI,

    ‘Labour’s apparent demise and the Tory rise will probably seen by most nationalists as disappointing’

    Not really. It was after all the Tories who abolished Stormont . Labour dithered . The constitutional issue within NI will not be affected onw way or the other by who governs the local councils within Britain.

    Economically -unionists may have more to fear from a return to Tory Government in particular given the bloated public service sector within NI.

    It’s a problem that will have to be tackled sooner or later if NI is ever to become ‘fit enough ‘ to be allowed join the Republic 🙂 or even opt for independence.

  • Greenflag

    CS,

    ‘Brown’s problem now is the public perception that his party needs a spell out of office before it can become a viable political force again, a perception which will be very hard to turn around;’

    True – There is a chance that the American election result may favour Brown but other than that the next 2 years to the General Election are looking like a long and lonely road with THIS WAY THE END signs posted at every intersection.

    ‘Meanwhile the Conservatives, particularly through their success in London, seem to have been successful in breaking with the past and making themselves electable again. ‘

    Unless of course Boris drags the ship down by some scandal or two or three .

    Anyway 10 years is long enough in power for any party . The important part for makinf democracy work is having an alternative ready and waiting .

    For 50 years in Northern Ireland there was no alternative and despite all the hyped up changes they still seem to favour having no ‘alternative’ Government. Democracy is a spectrum in most western countries . In Northern Ireland it’s more of a mirage viewed through a prism on a cloudy day .

    Pity about Ken Livingstone though . He did his best for the city and certainly deserves his place in history as the first popularly elected mayor of what is still one of the worlds greatest cities .

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Greenflag,

    My reference to labour’s demise was a reference to what seems likely to happen at Westminster – the Tories will be odds on favorites now.

    I take your point about abolition of Stormont but most statements by Tories in more recent history take a more pro-union view of Non Iron than Labour and although there will be no drastic changes there may be at least some attempt for them to live up to what their name is ( or used to be ) the Conservative and Unionist Party.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Surprised that Dewi reckons that it was a good reult for Plaid, perhaps I miss something.

    Not quite sure what the spectre of the Tory on the horizon means for Scotland. Will this finally give the ditherers a reason to finally end UK inc. Or as I fear push some into an unthinking “just vote labour to keep the tories out” About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike in Scotland as there are gey few Tories to keep out.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Prince,

    although not a fan of Tories I think that there will be feck all differnce between Labour and Tories under Cameron – memories of Thatcher in Scotland may diminish over time – and fear of another poll tax or higland clearances may not be realised.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Now Sammy you may know that and I may know that. Fear though is the great emotion here, it focuses the minds, people either act like sheep, or totally unpredictable. I don’t know how the factoring in of a growing political maturity, and the safety of an SNP government perhaps in perpetuity (it seems given the ineptitude of opposition) will affect matters. I would have bitten your hand of for a Scottish government in Edinburgh and Tories in London, a guaranteed swing for the SNP. With things going so well though, I am not so sure our steamroller needs this distraction.

  • Dewi

    “Dewi,

    some strange results for PC – Caerphilly up 6 and Gwynedd losing 8 ( torygraph said they lost 15?)”

    Gwynedd proposed to shut half their primary schools in the year b4 an election……….hmmm – A bunch of nationalist dissoes called Llais Gwynedd (Gwynedd Voice) gained a dozen seats – but we are still only 2 off a majority with a by-election in Blaenau Ffestiniog in a couple of weeks.
    I’m from Caerffili and it’s 32 each between us and Labour with 9 independents (including Ron Davies !!!)- Fascinating negotiations in progress (3 Plaid councillors in my home village of Newbridge – sweet !!)

    “Surprised that Dewi reckons that it was a good reult for Plaid, perhaps I miss something”

    207 councillors Tony – the best Plaid result in World History. Will be part of administation in Ynys Mon, Gwynedd, Carmarthenshire, Conwy, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Caerffili, Ceredigion and…wait for it – Cardiff!!! (7 councillors in Cardiff !!!)

    Gained 15 councillors in Carmarthenshire – such movement just does not happen in rural Wales – brilliant. We just didn’t spin it very well methinks – but I’m not bothered about that particularly.

    Here’s Adam

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    Must say didnt pick up how well PC did. Those qarefellahs in Gwynedd done good as well – PC must have buggered up there badly. Potential for growth in Kaydiff must be quite good – would have my voted for them myself if I had remembered.

  • Dewi

    “would have my voted for them myself if I had remembered.”

    Oh Sammy – I’m not friends anymore……

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    thats a shame but I suppose these internet relationships never last.

  • Dewi

    It’s terrible that a dilletante clown could beat Ken. For all his faults he had substance, strategy and determination. I suspect that we’ll be paying a few more billion for their blasted Olympics……..

  • Dewi

    LOL Sammy – fancy a date:)

  • Greenflag

    ITSMNWDI,,

    ‘the Tories will be odds on favorites now.’

    A week is a long time in politics -Two years an eternity . And there is Scotland . A resurgent Tory Party will keep the political birds from resting too easily on their perches . Maybe no bad thing .

  • Greenflag

    ‘but I suppose these internet relationships never last.’

    LOL 🙂

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    thee and me have just broken up – so no date.

    re. Ken. Have to say I like Boris though disappointed that Ken is gone. Presumably the serious business of transport and police will come from policy at Tory central office – but Ken’s legacy on transport policy based on what the plain man on the Clapham omnibus wants will continue or Boris will actually be on his bike next time.

    It is strange that the only really effective left winger left in the party has probably lost office because labour have moved too far to the right and seems indistingusiable from the Tories to many people who I think are now just voting for the Real Thing.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi

    Perhaps I am spoiled in Scotland, how many seats did the other parties pick up? I got the impression that the Tories and fib-dem’s benefited more.

  • Dewi

    Tony – Tories did benefit more but from a much lower base. There’s gains / losses and total Councillors.

    +/- Total

    LAB -122 344
    CON 62 173
    PC 33 207
    LD 21 162
    OTH 6 378

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi

    Plaid only managed to take just over a quarter of the gains. Looking to other English based parties as an alternative, rather than trusting Welsh people to look after Wales is a worry.

  • Dewi

    We ain’t as strong as you but some real strategic gains which might sound minor but of real import.

    4 Councillors in Wrexham – first ever
    2 Councillors in Newport
    7 Councillors in Cardiff (Labour have 13)

    There’s a model by a clever bloke from Aber called Dennis Balsom who divided Wales into three areas by language, demography and voting habits.

    1) Welsh speaking Wales Ceredigion, Carmarthen, Meirionydd, Arfon and Ynys Mon – Plaid in front with Labour and Lib Dem pockets.

    2) Welsh Wales – South Wales Valleys – Labour dominant with Plaid challenging. That’s about 9 constiuencies from Llanelli in the West to Torfaen in the East through Bridgend, Maesteg, Rhondda, Aberdare, Caerphilly, Merthyr and Islwyn.

    3) British Wales – Along the South Wales coast – Newport, Cardiff, Swansea and coastal English speaking Clwyd. Most of the Marches of Powys.
    A more British type of election with Tories, Labour and LibDems fighting it out – a bigger tendency to Labour than in English equivalent seats. Negligible Plaid support

    The importance of the seats above is that we are now breaking into British Wales for the first time ever. Becoming a truly national party. Agree there’s a way to go though!!!!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Perhaps I did not previously get the significance of these results. Though in the long run it is numbers that count. Is there any way these introductions will potentially lead to bigger and better things? Is there some kind of progression, or just an anti-Labour protest?

  • Dewi

    I think there’s progression, Certain there is more of a national feeling now than since a long time ago. 1400 to be precise.