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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Brown and Out

You know, I've always liked Dr Ian Gibson, the former Labour MP for Norwich North. Oh, I don't actually know much about him or what he stands for. As an Ipswich boy, I just loved his Alan Partridge-esque comments that his constituents were inbred.

But despite that minor faux-pas, they continued to like him and many took great exception to Gibson being made Labour's scapegoat for the expenses scandal. I can't really see why he was so furious - at best his expenses claim was outside the spirit of things and at worst, downright illegal. Using taxpayers money to buy a flat for his daughter to live in for nothing, and then selling that flat to his daughter for a vastly reduced amount has got to be wrong in anyone's book. One less rotten MP has got to be a good thing and in my book, he's lucky not to be in prison.

But now we've had the by-election and Labour got hammered. Which isn't particularly unusual when it comes to a by-election, the governing party always gets trounced. But this one just feels different. More than ever it feels like a dress rehearsal for the real thing.

I particularly enjoyed Gordon Brown's reaction after the by-election "It's disappointing, but I don't think any party can take a great deal of cheer from this."

Really Gordon? Really? Because I have to say, on the news, the Tories looked quite cheerful.

Gordon Brown is making an absolute dog's arse of the Labour Party and is showing himself to be totally and utterly out of touch with pretty much everyone in the whole country. He seems to be driven by only one motive and that is to cling to power for as long as is humanly possible, no matter what. He does not possess the humility to let go and his party does not seem to possess the strength to make him. His quest of power for power's sake is shredding any credibility that Labour has left.

I can't help thinking about the General Election in under a year. Gordon Brown's death grip on power is currently making a Tory landslide a frightening inevitability. David Cameron doesn't have to do or say a damn thing between now and then - Gordon Brown is winning the election for him all on his own.

After John Major, I thought the Tories would be finished as a political force, particularly after the energy and enthusiasm of Tony Blair. It's taken them 12 years to reinvesnt themselves to the point where they are vaguely electable again. But David Cameron doesn't have the charisma of a young Tony Blair - David Cameron's main character trait, his number one reason for voter popularity is that he isn't Gordon Brown.

If the Tories get in next year, it saddens me to say you can pretty much forget about Labour as a political force for quite some time. I just hope that someone picks up the slack on the Left or we're in for some frightening times.


Hips Unhinged Ltd said...

Have you ever read or seen J.B. Priestley's play 'Topside'? It was written during WWII but is still incredibly apt today. In it, he describes his theory that society is run by what he names Topsiders - people who believe in absolutely nothing but attaining and retaining power. He talks about his disillusionment with politics because both the Conservatives and Labour are Topsiders, and it's still very true. Gordon Brown is quite clearly a Topsider, but so too is David Brown; he doesn't have the integrity to risk his near-certain election by actually proposing some policies which will inevitably piss someone off. And even the Lib Dems can only afford to suggest slightly risque ideas like proportional representation because they know in their heart of hearts that it won't make a blind bit of difference. If they got even the slightest whiff of a chance of election - a whiff which was handed to them on a plate with the dawn of the credit crunch but they wasted due to Nick Clegg's olfactory problems - they'd be back to the safe bets in a trice.

It's the same everywhere, unfortunately. Only Obama is still going for radical proposals but they're always heavily diluted in the end (which is more the fault of the reticence of most Americans to change their minds or lifestyles) and he can only get away with it because the previous president was so awful that just about any change is good. And it's still early in his term - come re-election months, he'll tone it right down and put his desire to remain president above any altruism for his country every time.

Unfortunately, that's human nature. While politicians may start out as well-meaning people, in the end, power corrupts and it's more addictive than heroin. Either we accept that, or we have a revolution and go for communism. And frankly, like the politicians of our country, I'm going to go for the safe option on this one.

Chez Guevara said...

OK, so what's the answer? How do we get back to Abe Lincoln's Gettysburgian government 'of the people, by the people, for the people?'

Hips Unhinged Ltd said...

Simple. Make me world leader. Admittedly, it's less 'government of the people, by the people, for the people' and more 'merciless, tyrannical domination of the people, by Little Zoe, for Little Zoe's Swimming Pool of Gold Doubloons' but it's close enough.

tafkass said...

Despite the swing against Labour, the Conservative vote in Norwich was actually down from last time, which explains Brown's "nothing to smile about" comment. Gibbo was apparently a much-loved constituency MP, and Labour voters stayed away in droves in protest at his treatment; I don't think they're all voting BNP now or anything. You can be fairly sure that Labour will take the seat back, if not at the next election then at the subsequent one.

Labour bigwigs are, I'm sure, resigned to losing the general election next year. That's probably the only reason why Gordon Brown is still in power - to carry the can. Nobody with any political ambition in the Labour party would want to be leader right now with an inevitable defeat looming; better to blame it on the old guard, clear them out and start with something of a clean state. And it's actually not a bad election to lose, if there is such a thing; tax rises and spending cuts are inevitable in the next 5 years and will make people resent the (probably Conservative) government deeply, no matter how much the Tories protest that it was Labour who got the country into the mess in the first place.