Thursday, January 29, 2009

Green Shoots Of An Early Election?

Beleaguered Brown is scurrying off to plot a New World Order with his pals at the sinister-sounding Davos but will the men in grey suits be waiting for him when he returns after Black Wednesday's mauling? 

The deluded prime minister was left battered and blubbering, with confidence draining away from both his Party and the country. 

Calling a general election is the gift of a prime minister only when thing are going well. When they are not - when there's a crisis of confidence from both within the Party, coupled with a crisis of confidence in what's best for the county - it's a double edged sword and the men in grey suits come from the back door and the front. 

If there was 'peace crimes' tribunal Brown would be in the dock. Time and again he repeated the mantra that the country was well placed to weather the storm. 

The IMF put paid to that, confirming the UK slump was the worst in the developed world, forecasting the country will suffer a worse recession than any other advanced economy. 

Brown is either suffering from blind incompetence or he's been telling porkies. He needs to spend more time with his family for the sake of his and the nation's health. Grey suits or white coats? It makes no difference in bankrupt Britain.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) waded in saying the country would be saddled with government debt for more than 20 years. The IMF and IFS warnings scupper Brown's plans to borrow billions more. 

Brown gets a mauling from Cameron over the despatch box. For once the soundbites are broadcast on TV evening news. None of them in Brown's favour.

It could only get worse. The Tory Heathrow rethink motion was defeated by just 19 votes, eight of them a bail-out from the DUP, in a rerun of the pork-barrel politics of the 42 days debacle

Backbench rebels were reportedly hauled in to be confronted with a blubbering Brown, yet 28 of them still had the courage to vote for the Tory motion. That's a sizeable revolt with the noble cause of Heathrow coupled with the fear of losing their marginal seats. 

Sky News Jon Craig claims a "tearful and dewy eyed" prime minister called the backbenchers into his office one by one and pleaded with them to back the government.

Claiming that losing the vote will be bad for the government and the Party is emotional blackmail. Once again the Heathrow issue was used as a test of Brown's leadership, putting cheap party politics above the best interests of the country.

Government spinners point out that the IMF forecast is just one indicator and anyone can cherry pick statistics. But this is the IMF - one of the big global finance institutions set up to monitor world markets and hand over cash with strings attached. The Heathrow vote too was spun as a government victory. It got very close to a humiliating defeat. 

Another day and another gloomy poll for the government, with the Tories increasing their lead and winning back the crucial C2 voters who deserted the Tories in their droves for the New Labour promised land.

The battle over the date of the next election is a battle between political strategists looking for damage limitation and politicians clinging onto power until the bitter end in the vain hope that things will get better come spring 2010. The economic forecasts have now put paid to that. 

Brown will try to cling on by his finger nails but he's taken a huge battering. Even his last hope to ride on the back of Obamamania with a London visit by the Great One in April is now uncertain. Brown may be forced to cut and run. 

The windows of opportunity for calling an election come and go. Call an election soon and there's a slim chance New Labour can hang on to some English seats with a hung parliament. 

Miss the boat and leave it too late - again - and there will be a wipe out, leaving the Tories to claim the prize of a sizeable majority and a national government. 

With a mixture of a lack of confidence and political self-interest, this time the decision may be out of Brown's hands. 

Picture: MarceloRuiz

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