...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 2763: Now the Wings Have Fallen Off


No, not another QANTAS airliner; it's the Prime Monster and the Labour's Glasgow East by-election campaign.

(Probably NOT in the best of TASTE.)

Now we'll see whether the unnecessarily rushed timing of this by-election was strategic genius or MADNESS. With MPs off on their hols, will this be a case of removing them from the FEBRILE hothouse of the Westminster BUBBLE, putting it all behind them; or will it actually be letting the issue FESTER as they BROOD and DWELL on their misery, storing up disaster for when they return?

Feverish speculation over the weekend suggests the LATTER!

For all that there are many articles jovially reporting that a 22% swing would see all but two of the Cabinet – including the Prime Monster himself – unceremoniously ejected from Parliament, no one is SERIOUSLY expecting to see the Glasgow East result reproduced across the country in a General Election.

But then, no one was SERIOUSLY expecting the Labour to lose the seat that is widely reported as their "third safest in Scotland" or possibly their "twenty-fifth safest seat in the country".

What's going to happen? Well these are the possibilities:

Mr Frown returns from his holiday and announces that for the good of the country/the Labour/his sanity (*delete according to taste for hubris vs credibility) he will step down with immediate effect, leading to a short campaign that will see a new leader elected by the Autumn conference followed by a general election.

The Labour would still lose that election, but it would put a stop-loss on the number of seats that go as people would view the new leader with some sympathy and be slightly more forgiving of Mr Frown for his "doing the noble thing".

But it's not going to happen because Mr Frown does not want to stop being Prime Monster and indeed seems incapable of realising that he really SHOULD stop being Prime Monster.

The second option is that Mr Frown comes back from his holiday and announces that he's going to carry on much the same, only to find a half-a-dozen DAGGERS in his back "Et tu… Sooty…?" and the Cabinet replace him by force.

But THAT'S not going to happen either.

Former Deputy Prime Minister for TACT, Mr Prescott, suggests that this is because "none of them have anywhere near the skills and experience to run the country" That's not the reason, even though it happens to be true. It happens to be true about Mr Frown as well and it didn't stop HIM wanting the job.

No, the reason there won't be a putsch is because none of them want to be the patsy who replaces him. Or – more accurately – none of them want to be the one who replaces him YET. Neither the Sinister Minister nor Ms Harriet Harpy want to be tarred with the blame of leading the Labour into the election. They want someone else to carry the can when the Party goes down to inevitable defeat so that they can be the White Knight not the caretaker. That is why despite the old maxim of "never believe anything in politics until it's been officially denied" the fact that both of them have officially denied plotting against Mr Frown probably DOESN'T mean that they both actually ARE. Meanwhile Mr Millipede remains as Prince in Waiting Across the Water.

So the third and most likely possibility is that Mr Frown clings on to power by his chewed finger-nails hoping to be saved by an economic recovery that isn't going to come in time. In fact the economic reality is almost BESIDE THE POINT: just as the credit boom was suspended more on hope than on facts, so the credit crunch is more because people now know fear – fear that house prices will fall much further than they have (even though they are more likely to recover soon); fear that food and fuel prices will rise further than they have (even though the petrol price has actually eased very slightly). The Labour's death agonies will be dragged out over the course of eighteen horrible months and the defeat will be deeper and more profound, more in keeping with 1979 or the Conservatories losses of 1997 when the losers were out for a generation.

Also, since Mr Balloon has pretty much GOADED him to go to the country soon, that is another reason Mr Frown will do exactly the opposite. Of course, it's transparently, almost PAINFULLY obvious that Mr Balloon is using REVERSE-PSYCHOLOGY: the Conservatories WANT the Labour to carry on burying itself and so they urge an election NOW knowing that Mr Frown can't help but refuse.

Funnily enough they did EXACTLY this at their conference last year and Mr Frown fell for it then too!

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