This ain’t easy


…but somebody has to say it.

I’ve been doing some Wiki-ing (as is my wont). Labour has come first or second in share-of-the-vote terms in every nationwide election in the UK since 1918 – that is, since universal manhood suffrage.

None of the evidence up to now demonstrates to me that the country feels generally that we are undergoing a major crisis of policy. Rather, what appears to be afflicting us is a crisis of leadership.

I’m going to say this very clearly. If Labour fails to come at least second in the European elections on 4th June, Gordon Brown must cease to be our party leader and prime minister.

I was previously of the opinion that, manifest though Gordon’s failings are, the party’s – and the country’s – best bet was to stick with him. But such a drubbing in the Euros as looks possible would go beyond mere “mid-term blues”, voters “letting off steam” or “giving the government a bloody nose”. It would be tantamount to a no-confidence vote in Gordon’s performance as a national leader.

I’m not even sure who I would favour to replace him; whoever it would be, there would almost certainly have to be a general election very, very shortly thereafter, definitely in a timescale defined by weeks rather than months. It may not be an election we could win: nevertheless, if our current leader takes us lower than since Asquith was Prime Minister, it will be something we just have to face.


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12 Responses to “This ain’t easy”

  1. manofkent86 Says:

    Very difficult call to make to be honest. We do seem to be rapidly declining into oblivion but I think I would need to be sure who would take over before I will join the chorus. I think if it were certain to be either David Milliband or Alan Johnson I would be more inclined. The words Harriet and Harman are inescapable for me when considering these issues.

  2. captainjako Says:

    Coming second would be doing very well indeed, considering some of the polls out there. I don’t think policy is a negligible factor, but agree that absence of leadership is the major problem right now. As the Man of Kent says, it’s a difficult decision to make. If Labour descended into a messy leadership competition (would we really want another coronation?) surely things could get even worse. And I think there are many of us who would be very noisily unhappy at the prospect of someone like Harman becoming leader. Additionally, is anyone willing to lead Labour to almost immediate defeat?

  3. captainjako Says:

    *almost certain.

  4. voteredgogreen Says:

    Policy is non-negligible to the extent that a) we have made the odd stinking decision which has attracted widespread opprobrium – insert pet issue here – and b) we’ve been drifting slightly, and have more been consolidating the achievements of the first two terms than pressing forward with an exciting programme. I stand by my fundamental point, that there is no major, fatal crisis with the whole structure of the government’s social or economic policy. There is afailure on an analagously-constituted area of leadership, however.
    I would be noisily unhappy at Leader Harman. However, I’m actually willing to say that she would be better – albeit slightly – than Brown. Brown is losing us even more support, and is leading the country and the party even more poorly, than would Brown. There, I’ve said it.

  5. captainjako Says:

    “However, I’m actually willing to say that she would be better – albeit slightly – than Brown”

    *shocked* Thiings are bad for Voteredgogreen to be saying this.

    What should the Paintbrush line be on Speaker Martin? I’m inclined to say he should go.

  6. voteredgogreen Says:

    It’s all relative.

    On the Speaker – surely this is purely a House of Commons matter? I’m not sure I can muster the energy to care who shouts “order” and wears tights.

  7. NHSWorker Says:

    Worked in the NHS 30 years mostly in poorly paid but highly responsible ie preventing people killing themselves type posts

    Voted Labour all my life until 2005, never again!

    After Iraq bloodbath, Torture and bailing out the rich, there is the small matter of Labour Party privatisation of the NHS.

    Most Health Workers hate Labour for Foundation Trust bullying management and selling out the NHS.

    The Conservatives are disgusting, we fought their privatisations for 18 years only to have Milburn,Hewitt and Johnson reintroduce the internal market and privatisation and the most bullying management, see Mid Staffs for the glories of Foundation Trusts Labours idea of social partners and accountable managements.

    The Conservatives are bad but Labour are now in my opinion worse, Thatcherite spivs
    I hope you go down big time, you sold us out and you will reap what you have sold…

    You have no idea the hatred for Labour Party inside the Health Workers and that is every constituency.

    You have destroyed your own partys internal democracy, you dont want to listen so you cannot hear, so that your own core supporters have no say, isolated and cut of from reality and working people you fumble from one bloody disaster to another

    Remember 1000,000 Iraqi Civilian dead.

  8. David Gardner Says:

    Two weeks ago, I wrote after the Gurka and McBride fiasc, that Gordon had demonstrated great leadership on the economy and on the international stage but was surrounded by an inward-looking tribalist clique that did not challenge, tried to close down debate and were driven often by politcal expediency or the next day’s headlines.

    Now, I am coming round to your view. Gordon has been on the back foot throughout this sorry expenses episode and not connecting with people’s concerns. We have done a great jon in Europe and our MEPs are a great team – but they are being let down, as is the whole Party, by the almost total absence of any campaign or any enthusiasm or leadership in the campaign.

    We can really put the Tories on the backfoot over europe (and their support for cuts in vital UK public services), but instead we appear to have gone into the bunker. I will not give up on our great party, while I might flinch at some policies and despise the arrogant command and control style of some, we are a party of vison, values and ethics with a great history and (albeit with a few errors) an excellent record. But all the public see is a Government drifting and full of self-serving remote MPs with their snouts in the trough. Of course that is vast simplification and generalisation ignoring many of great integrity that have only ever made genuine and proportionate claims and are totally motivated by public service, championing their communities and changing the world for the better.

    Gordon, we have just over two weeks to recapture the moral high ground, to start to reconnect with people and rebuild the trust enough at leats to hold our very poor 2004 tally of MEPs (good MEPs, too few of them!). We must suspend the cheats (and alleged cheats) pending the ivestigations, out all candidates through an ethics panel of independnt people as part of a re-endorsement process, provide parties an easy way to deslect if they wish and have a new Code of Ethics for all labour candidates at all levels.

    No more, do we want any public representatives standing as they are motivated by the money or the perks, or the ego trip of power. We cannot sstain the position where people just stay on as a councillor or anything else just because they become dependent on the allowances. Let us cean up the party now and make a fresh start.

    Let us be proud of our record (acknowledging a few mistakes), redefine our moral crusade and go out to win the arguments. Please, Gordon?

  9. captainjako Says:

    I prefer David Gardner’s comment to NHSWorker’s, but both make valid points

  10. manofkent86 Says:

    With respect to NHSWorker’s post, there seem to be a range of quite separate comments being made.

    NHS ‘privatisation’ [sic] – since its creation, the NHS has been reformed many times with a view to reducing inefficiencies caused by too great a centralisation. The latest reforms are not more drastic than any others. It is extremely disingenuous of you to speak on behalf of all NHS workers. Through my work I happen to know a very great number, many of whom campaign for the Labour Party. Most complain of bullying management and targets, however, every employed person I know makes similar complaints.

    Iraq war – I opposed the war, it was a mistake.

    Bailing out the rich? – assume this is a reference to actions taken to stabilise the banking system? Do not buy into the tabloid rubbish about ‘bailing out’ the banks. Every political system in the world has and would prevent a collapse of their banking system. Good luck to you if your bank goes into liquidation. If you think these policies only help the rich you are totally misguided.

    Internal party democracy – you are clearly not a Labour Party member, I am. I therefore believe this is more my business than yours.

    David Gardner – excellent post.

  11. I’ve started, so I’ll finish « Go Gordon, Go Says:

    […] Paintbrush – the group blog I sometimes use to spew my musings over the interfiche – I set Gordon Brown a failure criterion: I’m going to say this very clearly. If Labour fails to come at least second in the European […]

  12. *sigh* defending Gordon. Again. « Frank Owen’s Paintbrush Says:

    […] defending Gordon. Again. By voteredgogreen As a self-confessed Gordon-sceptic this may seem odd, but I am still occasionally able – nay, willing – to defend […]

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