In free fall without a parachute, unassisted suicide, accelerating the wrong way down a motorway – the death metaphors are flowing in a dark torrent of despair from Labour MPs. What made Gordon Brown hurl himself on that row of Gurkha kukri knives? Drowning at 19% behind in the latest polls, few think the party will come up for air a third time. That YouTube grinning death's head is now a worldwide comic hit, while in the flesh the man looks more battered and hunted with each passing day. He suffers from tone deafness to everything.
"I don't regret anything I've done!" Gordon Brown declared at the press conference this week where he was abused for his economic policy by the impudent Polish prime minister, a man himself on his knees to the IMF. That's what happens when the mantle of authority slips. Whose bright idea was it to put out a chirpy press release this week promising a crackdown on rogue wheelclampers, echoing John Major's dying cones hotline?
Forced to retreat twice this week from his unilateral YouTube proclamation, the worst is yet to come on MPs' expenses when more shockers will emerge. All parties will be shamed, but the government will be hardest hit: some ministers will be disgraced – and Labour avarice is always more shocking.
Self-destructive and bungled tactical ploys mark the Brown era: the attempt to secure 42-day detention without trial was the most cynical. But in the end what damages him most is the blame he bears for not only allowing, but celebrating, the great bubble in house prices, City bonuses and wild excess while many warned a bust would come.
Labour faces such a cataclysmic defeat it could be out of power for many years. Ask the Tories how long it takes to climb back from the abyss. All Labour seats with a majority of under 8,000 are in peril. The Lib Dems may push Labour to third place in June, even to below 20%. Defeatism grips the party: the middle-aged say they've had a good innings, politics goes in cycles and to everything there is a season; half their attention is directed towards a pretty comfortable semi-retirement. The thrusters concentrate on the battle in opposition over the leadership and the nature of the party itself. The young can't imagine quite how bad it will feel.
This inert fatalism won't do. Rumblings about removing Brown are wishful thinking in a party too listless to act. The dream scenario is that grey suits tell him to go, he obliges, and that nice Alan Johnson soothes the party through to at least a respectable defeat. Dream on. Brown won't go without assassination, Johnson is no killer (which is what makes him so nice), and many fear the bloody process would cost Labour its last shreds of credibility. Dire June may yet change that calculation: 100 extra Labour MPs fearing for their seats can concentrate minds wonderfully.
For now, David Blunkett is right that there are no ideas, no politics and no breath of life left. Where is the serious intellectual attack on the Conservatives? ... The crash has changed everything and it needs Labour answers.
Trouble is, there aren't any. Read the whole article HERE.