29 April 2010

The day the political life of Gordon Brown came to an end

The first leaders' debate remains the defining moment of this campaign.  Yesterday was a car crash waiting to happen.  What came together in Rochdale yesterday lunchtime was the failure of Labour's media operation and further proof that Gordon Brown lacks the necessary skills required to lead the party, especially during an election.  The millions watching tonight, together with any voters he meets in future, will wonder what he is really thinking.

Brown's advisors and the those that provide his 'wrapping and packing' as he goes about the country have many questions to answer about Labour's shambolic campaign.  There has been no clearly defied strategy.  No central message that has hit home with the voters.

Take yesterday.  Why wasn't he told to switch his microphone off?  Who advised him to go back to the scene of the crime and have a yet to be revealed conversation with Gillian Duffy?  Why did he come out of her house grinning?  Didn't Brown know that the cameras were on during his interview with Jeremy Vine?  Would any of the any unfolding drama have happened if Sarah had been on the scene?

And all on the day when the party leaders should have been questioned about their failure to tell us how they plan to reduce the deficit.

It will take a herculean effort to put Labour's clattering train back on the rails.  The party does have a story to tell, especially tonight, but it's doubtful anyone will be listening now.  The 'Duffy incident' will overshadow the third leaders' debate.  And then what?  The wait for the weekend polls to find out if Labour's core vote has been eaten into.

It will be a calamity if Labour comes third a week today, which has to be a real possibility.  The cold reality is that the party may not be the 'official opposition' in the new parlaiment.

Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson were very much the stragetic thinkers behind the New Labour project.  Both of them may well find that when the polls close they have consigned to the history books what they once created.

Whatever happens during the next week one matter is certain, Gordon Brown will not be able to continue as Prime Minister or Labour leader after 6 May.


  1. I think you're wrong to say 'duffygate' will overshadow the 3rd debate.

    It is the third one, so people will be more aware of it, it is on BBC, so it is likely to be watched by many many people, and it is on the economy, the most important topic.

    Plus the last week of the campaign is the most volatile - think back to 1992......

  2. What I mean is that yesterday has determined the election result. Moreover, Brown cannot now survive whatever the result

  3. I suspect the lack of resources for fighting the election - Labour are bankrupt - may be behind their lacklustre campaigning and the latest cock-up. But Brown was well known to be hopeless with real electors - up until yesterday he had only met carefully selected placemen with prepared scripts.

  4. Ed P - it is not lack of resources, it is lack of ideas. Brown spent his three years in power fightiing his own party instead of developing a vision for taking the country forward.

    The Labour party are exhausted. The Economist gets it spot on:

    "Some hope that a hung parliament would usher in a refashioning of the centre-left: a Mandelsoned and Milibanded party would arise.

    "But it is better for the country that Labour has its looming nervous breakdown in opposition."