Would you be a Labour plotter quitter or fighter?

Not sure I’d like to be in the current Labour government, but Nick Robinson casts those members into three different camps: Plotters; Quitters; and Fighters.. But along the way he notes something I’m not sure many mainstream commenters have fully recognised. The reason many of us are thinking in terms of a guaranteed sizeable Tory majority, is not the fact that the Tories have not hit the 50% + rating that Blair got, but that Brown lags Major by a good 10%… That’s one reason why Paddy Power is giving 2/1 on for a Tory majority of 50+ seats… There may be no huge popular swing towards Cameron and his new liberal Tories, but the one away from New Labour is both clear and unremitting…

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  • kensei

    There may be no huge popular swing towards Cameron and his new liberal Tories, but the one away from New Labour is both clear and unremitting

    Surely that gives some hope of tightening, particularly if there is any pick up in the economy or if by some miracle someone in Labour can land a few blows? Backfiring attacjks might also play a part — the Sun stunt the last week did not in general seem to play well. If you are unsure about the alternative, better the devil you know must have some play.

    I think the Tories are a shoo-in, obviously, but suspect there is still room for it to be tighter than people think.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but that Brown lags Major by a good 10%…’

    Mick -no thanks for that time warp 😉 but he’s gone – Major I mean .

    While it’s still advantage the Cameroonians I sense they have peaked and are now on the way back down . On E day they’ll take any majority they can cobble together .

    Brown’s still fighting and he won’t quit until the removal vans appear outside No 10. As the day approaches the Tories will have to be more explicit on how they are going to turn around the economy and so far they have not been convincing.

    I sense Cameron is becoming more lightweight by the month . If he keeps this up he’ll make Enda Kenny look like a heavy weight .

  • Brit

    I think a Lab. majority is out of the question but there are lots of possible alternatives.

    Tory landslide (unlikely given unfairness of our system and lack of positive suppport for the party)

    Tory majority in the low tens (10 -30) – which could mean Parliamentary reversals and divisions over Europe. This I think is the most likely.

    Hung Parliament? This will require a signficant Labour bounceback, Brown doing something to improve on is woefullylow ratings and some sustained economic good news over the next 6 months. Therefore unlikely but certainly a possible prize worth fighting for and a basis to persuade Labour activists and Labour voters out.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    less that 50 is 6/4.

    If UKIP can finish 2nd in the Euros and since then PoshBoyDC’s cast iron guarantee has morphed into – sorry old boy its not the done thing – then perhaps they can split the Tory vote in some marginals.

    Labour should highlinght the Tory connection not just with the ‘alleged’ loony right of Europe but with the actual sectarian right (UU/Orange Order)in Norn Iron and of course PoshBoyDC’s Woodhouseian exploits in the Bullingdon club and have a poster campaign with big tory castle resplendent with prominent moat and something about silver spoons in privlieged mouths.

    No Queensbury rules form here on in should be the Labour motto – at least go down fighting dirty.

  • The polls mask the tightness of the parties and the fact that it is Labour’s weakness that is giving Cameron his lead: see http://www.thedissenter.co.uk/2009/10/conservative-practicality/ Even a slight rally in the Labour vote (or drop in others) will make it tighter than it currently appears. Brown may not be able to win the next election, but he may do enough to stop the Conservatives winning.

  • Brian Walker

    What we don’t know is how many each of Nick’s three categories are retiring. And here’s a cautionary point for Paddy Power from William Rees Mogg,even though in old age an almost hysterical opponent of Gordon. Many of us are still working on the poosibility of a hung parliament. It’s mad for any MP with any hope at all of getting back not to be a fighter.


    From just William…

    “ICM’s 14-point lead would return the Conservatives with a large majority, which was the general expectation until a week or so ago.

    However, recent polls have reduced the Conservative lead to about ten points, and that is a level that makes politicians nervous, because small swings can produce crucial differences in seats.

    The outcome of a 40-30 per cent split between the Conservatives and Labour is different from that of a 39-29 or 41-31 split. I use the conversion table provided by the academics Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher. It is notoriously difficult to convert votes into seats, but seats decide who will govern.

    If the Conservatives were to win by 40-30, they could expect 319 seats, six less than would be required for an overall majority of 325. If they won by 39-29, they would win only 314 seats, 11 short of an overall majority. If, on the other hand, they were ahead 41-31, they would win 327 seats giving them an overall majority of five. The system is quite highly geared.”

    You can say that again!

  • Mick Fealty

    The Tories will, I think poll differently in different parts of Britain. Brown’s first mistake was to misunderstand just how important it was to have someone covering ‘middle England’. But by that stage he’d burned all his capability in that department with Labour’s Blair v Brown civil war.

    If the Tories have peaked, I’m not sure I see the evidence of their ratings falling, nor of Brown’s rallying. Brown is not quite disaster in government that the Tories like to paint (their persistent silence on his rescue of the banks perhaps a tactic admission of that).

    But he IS a political disaster in the sense he has ZERO political instincts, over how given acts of government will play with the public. His very seriousness leaves him unable to work out just how to get out of the jail he’s inadvertently locked himself into.

    The worst aspect of the Sun story is that people sided with him because they pitied him. That he doesn’t have the skills to play it for all it was worth may say something about his character. But…


    Even now it is hard to see how the anti EU vote will play. I see a possibility of UKIP (and the BNP) poking awkward holes in some of their marginal targets. But the key is whether Labour can stop flat-lining. Tories have cut the game so that LibDemers will draw tactical votes from Labour rather than them…

  • DC

    I gave up on Gordon after the expenses scandal.

    Thing is you see when you’re a national leader people look to you as a form of national conscience. Sometimes when things are so troubled and tormented the best thing to do is to resign so as to take the heat out of things by taking responsibility for it – in a manner that pains you. Brown had vicarious liability for what had happened and that made the Labour brand tarnished. He didn’t do the right thing, in my view.

    I was so sure of an October election this year because things were and still are so utterly hopeless re Gordon and the Westminster political image / reputation. A good clear out was needed.

    I have no doubt after the economic boom and bust then expenses shambles that standing firm as like Gordon did has worked against his own reputation and credibility. And ultimately played into the hands of the BNP, sometimes you wish to tell someone to just seriously fuck off because it’s been such an abysmal sorry state of affairs to find yourself in. Basically, resign for goodness sake! Still, all the key moments for a strategic stand down have been missed, if Gordon was to have stood down after the expenses and maximised that it would have surely pulled the rug from under Cameron.

    Politics isn’t a career, it is about taking leadership taking the heat and spotting when to make decisions and indeed resignations.

    Like Blair did in the end, he’s been very lucky and blessed indeed on that count.

    As for Brown, he needs to explain his last 10 years as chancellor and define a new future vision of capitalism in response to that which has now been left behind: that of cheap credit and big debt capitalism.

    But Mick you have nailed it on the head, the guy isn’t a leader, has no instincts what so ever and was clearly propped up by the buzz around New Labour in the early seminal days of it coming into fruition. I can’t believe he even contemplated removing the childcare vouchers, especially against the bumming and blowing about sure start.

    As ever in politics it is about the opposition and Labour may well have faults but the Tories have been evasive and have come across as the ‘do nothing party’ when given the seriousness of the situated it was more that wise to be counted and to be proactive. I found that stance dangerous. So there are concerns out there re the body politic of Toryism.

    Who are the fighters in Labour? None, frankly I can’t see anyone of proper electoral worth there. Miliband is a good and safe strategy of an after-the-election-response, a response to steady the ship and let the Tories make those cuts and pick things up from there. It’s gonna be a tough and hard fall out. Cameron’s centrism may not be valid enough to work in a cutting-environment.

  • LabourNIman

    I’m a fighter – Gordo never had my support as leader but I’m willing to fight the cause with him in the chair.

    The sad thing is I do honestly believe that members have lost the will to be in government. Some would choose to go into opposition and let the Tories drag the nation down even more.

    Rumors that the first 6 months legislative agenda if they win power, will be them undoing a lot of labours work should show the party what they must mobilise against.

    Sadly by the time the nation catches on that Cameron is just a well spoke George Bush Jnr god knows what state we will be in.

  • DC

    Don’t waste too much energy.

    The ability of a person to change people’s views and emotions rest on being able to connect with them, to inspire and to change their views on certain issues and topics and stances; to change you need to be able to connect it is the fundamental element that brings people along with you to a new destination i.e. being able to transform the Labour party’s backing in the polls based on selling its potential vote-winning ideas.

    Gordon Brown has neither the ability to communicate nor the ability to connect emotionally with people. Worse still, as you know, communication is not just what is said alone but 55% works on picking up on body language, Gordon’s body cues are all over the place. It is a doomed thing to think things will change. With Gordon everything is inert. Inert. Absolutely inert.

    Der krieg ist verloren, hoffnungslos verloren.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The damage was done to the Labour Party by Blair’s decision to go to war – probably the worst political decision (and cetainly the worst war) since Suez. Project new Labour was damaged below the credibility line and trust gushed out – when you add in the fact that the very basis of El Gordo’s own credibility was his management of the economy when the world economy went mamaries up it is very difficult to see how even an error free and brilliant politican could have navigated the Labour party round these dual diasters and maintained a lead over the Tories.

    Support for the Tories is not something they have fought and won but something that has been gifted to them by the Labour Party though PoshBoyDC has fought well to keep the mad-dog-anti-euro-right-wing under wraps and Labour’s own only hope now, an indeed the LibDems only hope now, is that these mad-dogs slip the leash in response to PoshBoyDC U turn on the referendum and somewhat more unilkely Britain’s economy does a swift Lazarus job.

  • DC

    The Iraq war was unforgiveable at least the pressing to play such a visible role and the desire to have a central part on stage by Blair was unforgiveably foolish, whenever he could have achieved much the same without so much personal and political involvement.

    In the same way Brown’s handling of the economy was typified by pride and arrogance – pride comes before a fall. But you see the game was up for Tony Blair end of 2006 much like in reality the game was up for Gordon Brown after the crash and the complete breaking point was after the expesnes. Too much disaster too soon altogether.

    I always believed that the expenses was the last resort which Brown for all his impersonal flaws could still easily have used to inflict serious damage on the Tories by taking a very “beat that” principled resignation. Cameron would never have resigned what with his prime minister / national leadership aspirations – it would have pained him had Brown seriously opted for an honourable yet politically strategic resignation.

    But still, unless Brown can explain and flesh out a narrative, his own economic story of what went wrong and accept blame in an earthy pally sort of way he will continue to drag Labour down.

    Having said all that, if I were in Britain I’d still vote Labour regardless. It is clear Cameron’s Tories are as silent on policy as Brown is vacuous on taking personal responsibility for things under his authority.

    Brown must also define the workings of the banks and how changes in regulation will help to restore some social order in the city, the frothy heights of millionaire capitalism. By all means make money for your wealthy clients, but must the logical conclusion of that mean CEOs etc make £60 million in profit, in bonuses, themselves as part of the “efficient” capital building process. How can that really be right?

    A proper answer to this question is needed by both Labour and Tories. A plan of action is needed too on just how they can set capitalism straight. You know that concept of proper market functioning as the best way to establish that proper price of things. How can poverty be addressed whenever such monumental market distortions are allowed to go unchecked like this?

    As it isn’t really increased taxes which await us all next year, but actually those outstanding bankcharges that will be lifted by HM Government and revenues on behalf of those bankers.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Labour has been piss poor in many areas,but I think that the tories would row back on some issues like the minimum wage ,tax credits and childcare .UKIP might have an influence in some marginals – maybe not to win them but they could prevent the tories from winning them given that PBDC is not going to have a referendum on the European issue.
    Fight,fight,fight – the prospect of PBDC as prime minister should be motivation enough.(the thought of it is enough to give anyboby the heebie jeebies).

  • The trouble with the internet, especially in the UK, the political right made the big splash, I just wish Mick would get out more and not only meet up with over ambitious Tory boys and the odd Labour quitter.

    Brian is correct, if the tories ‘friends’ in the blue Labour camp do not manage to set aflame a ‘public’ leadership debate then all is still to play for.

    If the Tories were to be elected with the current rating they would be a minority government out of sink with the country. The Cameron Tories are far to the right of the LP and LD’s and some, although not all of the indies. In my view they would be the most right wing government the UK has seen since WW2, one only has to see who their pals are in the US and Europe to understand this.

    This being so I see no reason why after the election the Lib Dems should not enter a coalition with Labour, they would be in a powerful position to get PR and a number of their other priorities. Whether Clegg has the balls to turn on his own class I have my doubts, but if his aim is political power he will not get a better chance.

    As Wilson said a week is a long time in politics and Cameron is piss poor on the detail, he has to be as his rating would tumble if the truth were told. Sadly he has not only been given a free ride by big media, but equally so by internet sites like Slugger O’Toole. Indeed I cannot remember a critical blog being posted up on Slugger about Cameron.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Mick Hall
    Brown has said he would introduce the alternative vote which would mean that it would (i hope) make it very difficult for the tories to form a government,it would however also be difficult for labour,it could lead to the lib dems being in a permanent coalition with either of the two bigger parties.

  • Danny O’Connor

    The thing is with Cameron’s policies on the EU and the cuts he would make, which would hit the less well off hardest, plus his take on the war on Afghanistan, which is very gunho, I doubt the the Lib Dems could enter a coalition government headed by Cameron and maintain any credibility.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Mick Hall
    and their sister party here said they would be a principled opposition until the lure of a ministerial position changed their thinking.
    Power corrupts,