06 November 2009

Brown’s near impossible task


The latest poll provides the backdrop for the speech Brown will make today to justify our continued presence in Afghanistan:

Only 5% of people think British troops are winning, and 57% of people think victory is not even possible, up from 48% in the previous poll. 35% of people think British troops should be withdrawn immediately, and a further 38% within the next year or so. This compares to 25% and 37% a week and a half ago.

With public support for the war rapidly draining away, Brown has to set out a clear and precise strategy as to why we are remaining in Afghanistan and demonstrate how this is going to achieved.

According to The Telegraph he will speak about a “conflict of necessity not choice” and that “we cannot, must not and will not walk away”.

Brown is helped that a political consensus still exists across the three main political parties, but is hindered by the continued dithering from Obama.  Both the UK and the US should be setting out an agreed strategy, but this is not going to happen:

Janet Napolitano, the US Homeland Security Secretary, insisted there could be no "rush to judgement" over a question that "deserves full consideration".

As discussed, Brown’s task is not made any easier by his ‘failure to demonstrate leadership on any matter outside his comfort zone and his inability to communicate’.

It remains doubtful that he convince an increasingly sceptical public at this stage.  Furthermore, the weakness of his position is that whatever he says could well be overtaken by ‘events’ on the ground in Afghanistan.

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