by David Broder
Today’s Daily Mail front page screams “Rats desert sinking ship”, as ministers and MPs abandon the spiraling Brown government even before likely disastrous results in Thursday’s local and European elections. This morning there was further bad news for the Prime Minister when his factional opponent Hazel Blears – recently attacked by Brown for her role in the expenses scandal , in retort to her criticisms of his YouTube appearances – cut loose from the Cabinet, promising “to return to the grassroots, to political activism, to the cut and thrust of political debate”.
Blears’ move follows yesterday’s announcements by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes, former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and Tom Watson, a Brown ally who was at the centre of the botched summer 2006 “Curry House coup” against Tony Blair. Each of these had their different motivations for leaving government or leaving Parliament – some of them without significant animosity towards the beleaguered Prime Minister – but it all adds to the sense that the government cannot stumble on much longer. Yesterday The Times – and today The Guardian – called on the Cabinet to get rid of Gordon Brown.
Sooner or later, Brown will fall, even if he does manage to cling on to power right up until May 2010, the latest date to which he can postpone the General Election. Clearly there is no serious prospect of him continuing to lead the party after such a defeat. Some on the left believe that this collapse will present new opportunities in the Labour Party, arguing that the turmoil which will follow Labour’s defeat will lead to factional “re-alignment” in the party and therefore an opening-up of debate in its ranks which we should participate in. So what signs are there of a space for the left to operate in Labour? Continue reading “what chance a ‘left’ revival in the labour party?”