Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brown Looks into the Electoral Abyss

This morning's Telegraph front page article on the 10p tax debacle, by James Kirkup and Andrew Porter, carries this revealing sentence...
Labour whips see the vote as "a confidence issue," meaning a Government defeat could trigger a general election.

This is clearly a whips' tactic to bully recalcitrant Labour rebels to fall back into line. Many of them are in marginal seats, which would surely be lost if an election were called now. The rebels have a very tricky calculation to make, for if they support the abolition of the 10p rate they know that their electorates will hold it against them for a very long time. Conservative and LibDem opponents will already be drafting their leaflets.

The parliamentary arithmetic is fairly stark. More than 40 Labour MPs have already signed Frank Field's motion. If all of those carry through their threat and all opposition MPs turn up, the Government would suffer a hugely damaging defeat. And only a month later, they will suffer another one on the 42 days detention issue.

On top of this, Labour's local election results will hardly cheer up their beleagured MPs. The next month could well break Gordon Brown and his government

27 comments:

Colin said...

Oh I hope so, I do hope so. the sight of GB leaving Downing St with his tail between his legs would just be too delicious for words (writes Tony Blair).

Reality - it just won't happen. The Labour lobby fodder will rally round and keep this pathetic government afloat. Might lead to some fireworks at the party conference though!

This govt is beginning to have the gangrenous stench of failure that dogged the last days of teh major administration. I think their third term is likely to be their last for some time unless they replace GB as leader toute de suite.

bofl said...

i wonder how many 'rebels' will actually stick to their moral guns?
those in marginals will as usual make a fuss and then look at their own fat cat salaries and expenses........and then do what they are told......

Anonymous said...

nothing on Bob Spink, Iain? What is the Dale position on UKIP defectors?

Iain Wise said...

Nothing about Spink yet, Iain?

Anonymous said...

The problem with expecting Labour to do badly at the local elections is that many Labour supporters will turn out to vote and many Conservative supporters won't.

Andy D said...

I can't see it happening. Pragmatism will win over principles in this case.

It will be a case of damage limitation for the next few years for Labour. They have nothing to offer the country and no new ideas and are now governing for governings sake. It was always going to happen after 10 years in power, and Labout were naive to think that GB was anything new. (Face it, any ideas he had were 10years ago and all used up).

Even ironically the best thing for the left is a Tory victory at the moment. The two parties are too close, and some distance between them (which can only really come from Labour reverting to the left rather then Tory going right). If Labour reformed on the left, then that would probably be good for both parties and democracy as a whole.

Andy D said...

I can't see it happening. Pragmatism will win over principles in this case.

It will be a case of damage limitation for the next few years for Labour. They have nothing to offer the country and no new ideas and are now governing for governings sake. It was always going to happen after 10 years in power, and Labout were naive to think that GB was anything new. (Face it, any ideas he had were 10years ago and all used up).

Even ironically the best thing for the left is a Tory victory at the moment. The two parties are too close, and some distance between them (which can only really come from Labour reverting to the left rather then Tory going right). If Labour reformed on the left, then that would probably be good for both parties and democracy as a whole.

Chris Paul said...

Tories supported the cut of the standard rate of IT and linked removal of this unter tier.

Tories never introduced such a rate and redistributed wealth generally towards the upper deciles of the income and wealth distribution.

Tories have no credible story on this. At least the Labour Left, and Frank Field, and even the Lib Dems - against the change - have something to say on this one.

This unattributed "confidence motion" talk works on all kinds of levels. And the interpretation of this as meaning an immediate general election is very silly indeed.

Local election results in the NW are likely to be quite good for Labour in many places. And if Johnson were to win London - heaven forfend - then this would be a double edged gaffe prone victory of sorts that could rebound.

Andrew Allison said...

Labour MPs have two choices facing them. They either rebel and perhaps lose their seats earlier than 2010, or they tow the party line and keep their jobs for longer.

Unless they don't wish to put off the inevitable, I know which way they will vote.

Britain First said...

Brown stares into the electoral abyss, and what does he see staring back at him? Millions of angry British people, struggling to make ends meet in a country which has been oppressed, run down and trodden on by him and his coterie of condescending lefties.

Anonymous said...

Surely those in Marginal seats would do well to object to Gordon's poor tax?

asquith said...

I think for all our sakes clunking fist should lose. We saw the Tories clinging on pointlessly between 1992 and 1997, it would be bad for the country if Labour did the same. Let's say Camoron formed a minority government and followed generally liberal policies because he relied on Lib Dem support on a case by case basis.

And Bob Spink will be defeated by the official Conservative candidate :)

Click Refresh said...

Perhaps Brown - subconciously - actually wants to lose the 10p vote and so have to resign? He is obviously uncomfortable, to understate it, as PM, and looks more tortured every day. A quick, self-induced defenestration now would leave him free to pick up a sympathy position running some well-meaning international organisation, where he could indulge his love of ceaseless reviews and drawn-out decision-making.

Brown's rather sad declarations that every morning he gets up telling himself that being PM is the best job in the world seem to have mis-interpreted: They should better be read as a man trying to convince himnself of something, but failing to do so. A swift execution by means of the 10p vote would be an end to his palpable, self-induced misery.

Tim H said...

It shames us all that Gordon Brown should be looking “into the electoral abyss” this week; he and the rest of the nuLieBore regime should have been looking at the hang man’s noose years ago.

Little Black Sambo said...

Does Peter Oborne still think that Gordon is "unassailable"?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Martin Kettle in the Guardian yesterday surmised that Gordon Brown only got the 10p tax thing past Tony Blair by deliberate deception - lying about the number of taxpayers who would be affected. The whole tenor of the article suggests he's been talking to someone VERY close to Blair.

lola said...

The 10p issue has them knackered whatever happens. If it is abandoned the opposition will use that as a proxy for attacking the uselessness of all of Gordons tax measures. And in fact his whole Chancellorship. If they keep it and construct some dodgy tax credit or other benefit nonsense to neutralise it, it will just be seen as more pointless state driven pass the parcel money game. Why tax and hand it back? Unless you want to run the very minutiae of peoples lives? And the opposition can make hay with that.

Gordon won't resign. Afer all his scheming and plotting he cannot bring himself to admit that he is absolutely useless and not up to this, or any other, job. He was a useless Chancellor, made to look good by an excellent fiscal legacy, imported deflation thanks Thatcher/Reagan winning the Cold War, and massive house price inflation. His psyche won't allow it.

And this situation is materially different to the Major administration. Major is a fundamentally decent man with no obvious deceit in his soul. The economics in his time were good (The ERM deacle was a Good Thing economically, but politically disasterous). Gordon is basically deceitful. His whole personality as chancellor, and now more obviously that he is PM, was one of deceit. He knew he no-one with any common sense (i.e. most people) would swallow the sorts of measures he was contemplatimng and he therefore needed to hide everyone of them and lie and lie to parliament and the public at every opportunity. Consequently the economics are now dreadful, him having taxed and spent shed loads of productive capital badly.

But he won't go now unless an 'event' propels him out the door.

Personally I would love to see him go, tail bwteen his legs, as the completely inadequate failure he is. And, Gordon, just so as you know - I want my money back. You prat.

Auntie Flo' said...

Blimey, read this from the latest BBC Have Your Say on the abolition of the 10% tax band:


"Message to Cameron: I don't like you or your party but I dislike Labour far more.

To get my vote just remind me that Brown doubled my taxes at the very time I
could least afford them.

Then remind me I was ineligible for every single government payout after a lifetime of moderate employment.

Finally remind me that I queued with scruffy foreign nationals who were guided towards those handouts denied to me.

There are 2.2million of me, all with a vote if you want it Cameron.

T....., UK

lettersfromatory said...

The Labour government is falling apart and the sun is shining.

Love it.

Curly said...

I can hear the theme tune for the next election already

"Shakira-ing all over!"

JessTheDog said...

Empty rhetoric....everyone knows that, if the government lost the vote, they would certainly not call an election!

wrinkled weasel said...

"The next month could well break Gordon Brown and his government"

I see you are moving your tipping point closer to mine, and I know considerably less than you do.

Phil A said...

Re: ” if they support the abolition of the 10p rate they know that their electorates will hold it against them for a very long time”


It ought to be for longer than that.

Axing the 10p rate could directly help New-Labour fiddle the ‘Child Poverty’ figures, to help towards their target of cutting child poverty by half by 2010. Is that why he did it?

Tim H said...

"everyone knows that, if the government lost the vote, they would certainly not call an election!"

You’re right, Brown wouldn’t call an election. He would arrange for another terrorist incident and use it as an excuse to suspend democracy ‘for the duration of the emergency’ so as to keep hold of power.

After all, didn’t he look so in control and decisive after he took control after that Foot & Mouth leak he arranged after he took power?

If “Prescott is bulimic” can’t distract the media then blowing something up it’s got to be. Now, “Prescott spontaneously combusts” might have worked.

Reactionary Snob said...

Don't forget... they may lose the London Mayoral election, the Crewe & Nantwich bypass and, tellingly, the SNP may continue to push ahead in the Labour heartland (opinion polls last week said more were in favour of independence than the Union).

If these events all occur and the polls continue to look gloomy, they may have to get rid of him or call a general election?

robbinghood said...

I'm beginning to feel sorry for the winner of the next GE. Has the country ever been left in such a state? Two intractable wars, utterly hopeless public finances meaning inevitable bloody conflict with public sector unions, real possibility of catastrophic losses for the taxpayer resulting from Go'on's bailouts, energy dependency on dubious foreign regimes, balance of payments crisis with no viable solution, total political and financial sellout to Europe in the furtherance of Blair's 'career', real social problems wherever you look, devolution issues, etc, etc?
Who the fuck would want to be the cleaner after the Blair/Brown crock of shite?

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul said...

"This unattributed "confidence motion" talk works on all kinds of levels. And the interpretation of this as meaning an immediate general election is very silly indeed."

The constitutional requirement is that the loss of a confidence motion requires an election. Chris Paul, however, raises yet another point that the useless tories haven't noticed.

While trying to frighten nulab MPs with talk of a confidence motion, and therefore an election if the motion were lost, nulab spinners have also been telling the press that losing the deemed-to-be confidence motion would have no such effect. Another unilateral abuse of the British constitution.