Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gordon Gets The Glaswegian Kiss

With the Labour Party in disarray in Scotland, riddled with sleaze allegations, the people of Glasgow East have sent a clear message to Westminster. Brown is now down and out in Glasgow East.

They are fed up with Brown and his cronies who have no place in the hearts and minds of the people of this area. 

This is much more than a disastrous result for New Labour. It should mark the end for Brown. Glasgow East was a solid Labour stronghold where the Party runs in the blood of the people. Even with a lack-lustre candidate from the SNP in John Mason, Labour couldn't pull it off. 

The SNP majority was 365, an incredible 22.54% swing against Labour on a turnout of 42.25%. In 2005, Labour recorded a majority of 13,507 over the SNP on a turnout of 48%. This SNP victory and Labour's utter humiliation will go down in political history.

New Labour's recent attempts to spin evidence of a Brown bounce has evaporated. If you can't win in Glasgow East, with no Conservative or LibDem opposition to speak of, you can't win anywhere. 

And it's also a well-deserved and stunning victory for Alex Salmond who played his charisma card by fielding a boring SNP candidate who wouldn't take the limelight away from him and the SNP movement. 

But, like the turn towards the Conservatives in England, this was more a vote by people fed-up with Brown and New Labour rather than a vote for the other parties. 

The brutal fact is that Brown once again bottled it. He had a golden opportunity to pull a rabbit out of the hat ahead of the by-election. Back-bench true Labour MPs like Cruddas and McDonnell were showing him the way and shouting it from the newspapers. 

Just one big popular policy announcement would have done it. A cabinet reshuffle to clear out the dead wood would have done it. A clear announcement over troop withdrawal from Iraq, while not directly relevant to voters in Glasgow East, would have galvanised the Party and kick-started the campaign. But nothing happened. 

In the end, the arrogance of the New Labour Westminster elite was their downfall. They may have hijacked the Labour Party but they cannot highjack the people of Glasgow East.

Now a humiliated Brown will be forced to go cap in hand to the unions at the National Policy Forum to plead for cash to keep the Party afloat. 

With the devastating result of Glasgow East still fresh in everyone's minds, the unions will drive a hard bargain, if indeed they want to continue to prop up Brown and his New Labour gang at all, ahead of September's Labour Party conference.

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