Friday, July 25, 2008

Gordon Brown's Groundhog Day

It is fairly easy to identify those who have gained from the Glasgow East by election...

* Alex Salmond and the SNP for pulling off a triumph most of the so-called experts said wasn't possible.
* Scottish Conservatives for overtaking the LibDems

Some of the losers are pretty obvious too, the main ones being Gordon Brown and the Scottish Labour Party. However, there were two other big losers.

The wheels really seem to have come off the LibDem by election machine. To lose their deposit in a seat where they have been in third place with ten per cent of the vote is quite some achievement. Following on from Henley and Crewe, one is beginning to wonder what has happened to the golden touch of Chris Rennard. Someone on a previous thread put their finger on one of their problems by asking: 'Excuse me, but could you tell me where Nick Clegg is? Has he left politics?' Apart from last week's tax headlines, the LibDems are finding it very difficult to elbow their way into the news headlines. The sooner they get on with recruiting a new Director of Communications the better.

The other big loser from last night's result is the PoliticsHome Insider Panel, which proved again how spectacularly out of touch with the real word the Westminster Bubble is. More than 86 per cent believed a Labour win would happen. I admit that yesterday I joined the herd and voted that way too. I wonder if a similar panel of Scottish political insiders would have voted the same way. I suspect they would have.

Gordon Brown's comments this morning make you feel as if you're living your own political Groundhog Day. "The right man to deal with long term problems ... Blah .... Difficult decisions .... Blah .... Global economic crisis .... Blah... Listen to people's concerns... Blah. " The trouble is, we have heard it all before after Crewe and Henley. If he can't come up with a new line he's in even deeper trouble than we all think. Labour MPs must be tearing their hair out listening to him.

32 comments:

Rex said...

It's not the rest of the world,
It's "YOU GORDON BROWN"
Get it! Stupid!

Lola said...

I had a dream....

Humphries: "Now Mr. Brown, the Scots voters eem to ahve sent you and labour quite a clear message that your government and policies are no longer popular or approriate and even that the problems the country now faces are mostly down to you. What are you going to do?"

Brown: "Well, John, I think it's simpler than that. They want me to fuck off now, so I am."

Icarus said...

Iain the best result for the Lib Dems was an SNP victory. I was not even asked to telephone canvas. The Lib Dem voters knew what to do and did it - they switched. The Conservative share also went down though not as much - perhaps they are just not as bright.

Great result but I don't read anything into the Conservative 6% share and neither should you.

judith said...

Does anyone listen to him any more? I almost (well, almost, sort of, not really) feel sorry for the journos who are obliged to interview him - do you suppose they claim a 'boredom' bonus?

Anonymous said...

Brown was bound to say, as they are all saying, that he will listen. But he goes on to say that what people want is for him to get on with the job. That's listening all right. OK, he can't say the truth, that what people want is for him to get out of the job. But to include that remark at all in his list of platitudes shows just how deep his psychological flaws really are.

Andy D said...

It's more and more 'Broken record Brown' nowadays. A few tractor production figures, stuff about long-term decisions and child poverty. Oh, and don't forge 'listen and lead'...

The electorate have the senct of blood and fear in the air, and they won't stop now......

Oscar Miller said...

Gordon Brown waffling on at Warwick Uni announced he was proud that Labour had supported votes for women in the 1920s. Rather odd because it was Lloyd George who gave women the vote in the aftermath of 1WW in 1918 - and it was Baldwin's Conservative government that lowered the voting age for women to 21. Does gordo really know his history, or is this yet more bluster from the useless one?

Alex said...

Mr Brown also said: "I'm getting on with the job. My task is getting on with the job. It's exactly what people want me to do."

I'm not entirely sure that is what the people want him to do at all.

kinglear said...

Iain - I was speaking yesterday withan ex-Labour fundraiser. here in Scotland the anger is directed not so much against Westeminster ( it is percieved as irrelevant to us) but at the complete disregard that Labour has shown for decades in its heartlands.As my friend put it, " we won in 1997, and then they pissed it all away. They've betrayed us at every level. I'm going SNP" I assure you, if HE can do it, hundreds of thousands more will. He calso called the vote correctly - recount then small SNP majority.And by the way, my prediction of less than 20 Lib Dems in Parliamnet after the next election is looking safer and safer

Paul Donnelley said...

Mr Brown said: "I'm getting on with the job. My task is getting on with the job. It's exactly what people want me to do."

Who are these "people" who want him to carry on? And are there enough psychiatric hospitals open to help them? Or has Labour closed them all? Perhaps they are "care in the community" people...

yarnesfromhorsham said...

Would it be possible - in footballing parlance to give Broon a "free transfer" Hes clearly not up to First Division performance and there is of course a vacancy for a labour leader in the -Second Division/Scottish Parliamnet.

airshipman said...

What annoys me is how Gordo always bangs on about he and Labour are going to 'listen, reflect and understand' everytime they get a kicking and then proceed to manifestly ignore that promise!

wrinkled weasel said...

My favourite quote of the moment is from Jim Murphy,the Labour MP for Eastwood, and also the Europe Minister:

"There isn't a sense of gratitude from people"

jamben said...

On a lesser level, it was also a good night for the Tories here in Boston, Lincolnshire too.
http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk/news/VIDEO-Conservatives-win-byelection.4324966.jp

Anonymous said...

I listened to various idiot ministers weasel on TV and radio this morning. Their main line appears to be

1) The economy is bad because of the global circumstances
2) Gordon is the right man because he has a track record

I would like someone to ask - "OK, let's assume that the economy is bad because of global circumstances. Would you then admit that the period from 1997 to 2005 was good because of global circumstances. You cannot claim the former without the latter. IN WHICH CASE, why is Gordon the best person to deal with the present crisis? He doesnt have a track record, he had a lucky streak."

The Raven said...

Iain, I think you have to give The Pickles credit for what has happened to the LDs. Their machine only works when they get our backs up and we go on the offensive. It makes people feel sorry for them and makes the Tories seem like the nasty ones; despite all the evidence to the contrary. However, by 'love bombing' the LDs, we can effectively paint them as a harmless irrelevance, which makes them far less attractive to voters.

Anonymous said...

I have heard the Lib dems are looking at Peter Bingle? They reckon he is the man who can lead them out of their gloom!

Does anyone know Peter Bingle?

Alex said...

Iain - much as I like to wind up LD supporters too (why do they exist?, for instance)...

this was a tight two horse race. In tight two horse races, people vote tactically.

There would have been a few hundred LD and Con supporters voting for SNP.

copydude said...

Comments from locals indicate that Labour did not contest this election as in the past.

Some speak of 'the first time in memory' that a Labour canvasser did not appear on the doorstep.

The dire financial straits of the Labour Party suggests that they are not as able to defend seats and more surprises may not be such a surprise.

Possibly something the 'experts' should factor in to their predictions.

Cora said...

The answer to where's Clegg is: striding purposefully through Sheffield station looking a bit miffed late this morning!

Old Dominion Tory said...

Already the unions have issued their demands and, it won't surprise many that they want Brown to go further to the left (or, put another way, subject Britain to more of the great clunking fist of the State). If he does so, if he heads leftward, he'll take Labour over a cliff.

Johnny Norfolk said...

The Lib/Dems will now pay the price for getting into bed with Labour over the last 15 years. They need to be a true liberal party to survive not to the left of Labour. I thing Clegg is about 5 years to late to convince the voters that they have shifted.

Punxsutawney Phil said...

Can't be Groundhog Day - in the film Bill Murray actually kept re-living the nightmare until he improved and got it right( and became a world class pianist, ice sculptor,doctor and all round decent bloke whose popularity rating soared - he also managed to get Andie MacDowell into the bargain) - whereas Gordon doesn't !

Richard Gadsden said...

"To lose their deposit in a seat where they have been in third place with ten per cent of the vote is quite some achievement."

Last happened in South-East Staffordshire, 1996. Of course, that was the second-worst candidate in living memory.

[The worst was, of course, Alec Kellaway, who defected on eve of poll]

Chekov said...

Labour's unpopularity is doing untold damage to the Union, by default, because the SNP is viewed by Scots voters as the only realistic alternative. That is not something which Conservatives should be celebrating. It is time for the unionist parties in Scotland to look at the bigger picture and wake up to the menace that these separatists represent to our Kingdom. That means no more cuddling up to the SNP for the Tories. Surely with David Cameron attempting to bolster his regional, unionist profile by aligning with the Ulster Unionists, now is the time to start unambiguously opposing nationalism in Scotland? Otherwise the damage will be irreparable and the Union will be beyond fixing. Of course some cynics suggest that that is in the Conservatives best interests. As someone who belongs to a party which is about to enter into an understanding with the Tories, I hope to god that is not the case.

Dunelm Hamster said...

I'd be interested in an evaluation of Labour's options, going forward. If your core vote is very reluctant to come out and back you then cutting a deal with the Unions and shifting to the left may be a better option than ploughing into an electoral meltdown. It may be that a leftward lurch would guarantee Labour losing the next election, but it could be that many Labour MP's have already decided that's a foregone conclusion. In that case preserving the seats that can be held would be the best option. I wonder if many Labour MP's in marginals have already decided to look for 'fresh challenges' If so then the next priority, when a battle is lost, is to avoid it turning into a rout. A slight problem I see for the Tories is that it's difficult for them to do much more in the present circumstance. It may be true that 'Oppositions never win elections, Governments lose them' but I see a bit of a problem in that any policy initiative will simply be cloned by Labour, and any comment on the Economic front risks being shown to be fundementally wrong, as it's doubtful anyone has a firm grasp of the present situation.

Anonymous said...

he other big loser from last night's result is the PoliticsHome Insider Panel, which proved again how spectacularly out of touch with the real word the Westminster Bubble is.

PI's Panel predicted a "narrow Labour win". In the event it was a narrow SNP win. The margin is about 400-1000 votes, out of over 20,000.

That's not spectacularly out-of-touch, it's a wrong call based on very narrow margins.

And please, enough with the "Westminster bubble" bashing. 1) it's a cliché and 2) it includes you.

Anonymous said...

Look no further than the comments made this morning by First Minister Alex Salmond for the reasons why New Labour lost the by-election for Glasgow East; viz:-

"The theme that John Mason developed during the campaign was to send a message to Gordon Brown and to send it in clear and unmistakeable terms - that message is change your policy or change your job.

"This by-election was unique - this was a by-election which was a test of strength between the Labour London government led by Gordon Brown and an SNP government in Scotland doing its best for the Scottish people."

"That was a test of strength that the Labour party set the timing of. It was in their third safest seat in the whole of Scotland. That was the test of strength, and it was London Labour that was found wanting and the SNP in Scotland that emerged victorious. We now command the agenda in Scottish politics."

Mr Salmond said the test for his party was now how it used its political influence to benefit the people of Glasgow East, and of Scotland as a whole.

He added: "What we need for the people of the country is a change of policy. We need action - action against rising prices which are hitting family budgets, action against energy costs, action to inject more demand into the economy."

Anonymous said...

"scottish political insiders"..if you mean the media folk, then they're all labour supporters or members, so you're right they are in shock, all they can do now is try to minimise airtime for the winning candidate and his party leader and talk about 'labour loss' rather than 'SNP gain'..all the psychology of denial.

As for those suggestions about rallying to save the union from one of your commentors - why? What is worth saving? Is it just that you're desperate to hold on to the last vestiges of empire?

Let us go our separate ways and beome good neighbours....

Allan said...

Not quite sure how it was a good night for the Tories, the polled inder 1500 votes when the winner and runner up got over 10000 votes. The phrase very distant third comes readily to mind...

Anonymous said...

Nick Clegg, and even worse Lembit Opik........just two of the reasons why the Libido Dems are in dep s**t. Old Grope-it Opik's revolting behaviour has probably done them untold damage. Why would anyone ever take them seriously???? Then there's Mark Oaten.Charles Kennedy....what a bunch of losers!

Manj said...

The Lib Dems put nothing into this election and their vote is more likely to switch to the SNP in a constituency like this than the Conervative and Unionist vote. But don't let that get in the way of your opportunistic bashing...