The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

What Should Labour Do?

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 2, 2009 @ 00:42

Don't do it, Gordon! On second thoughts...

Don't do it, Gordon! On second thoughts...

I originally titled this post “What Should Brown Do?” – but then, in light of my first piece of advice, I decided it would be a very short post…

In my previous article, I said that Labour are finished at the next election. But is there anything they can do to mitigate their failure? The answer is, of course, yes. If they want to. I’m starting to get the sense that Labour are looking forward to a historic defeat at the polls in 2010.

But if there is someone still in there, still thinking, I’m sure they could do with a bit of advice. This is what I would be recommending if I were a senior Labour strategist…

1. Brown has to go. It’s obvious to everyone that Brown cannot win an election. The polling is consistent, spreading back years, that Labour do worse with Brown in charge. Perhaps at first Brown looked like he could be a winner, but that came on the back of the celebration of seeing Blair gone, and Brown appealed to the populist instincts of the right-wing press over super casinos; and then was seen to be dealing with terrorism and domestic strife (foot and mouth) very effectively.

But now? Brown looks tired, sounds completely insincere whenever he opens his mouth, and has no credibility left on any policy. He needs to step aside immediately, for “health reasons”.

2. Labour’s anointed successor will come from the Cabinet. I understand this is because, under Labour rules, the Cabinet gets to choose from amongst its number who it would like to be leader. This leader needs to assure the country they are an interim figure – in charge merely to act as Prime Minister while the Labour Party deals with an internal leadership election.

3. The Labour election will generate a storm of publicity during the normally quieter summer months, allowing Labour to dominate the airwaves and win the media battle. Cameron will be edged out in the face of a genuine, democratic, contest between the Labour candidates.

4. In the meantime, our interim Prime Minister will acknowledge to the country that it has been too long since an election; and in light of the controversy over expenses, will admit that this Parliament and the government have lost their authority to govern. With that in mind, the interim Prime Minister will announce that all legislative activity will be suspended – and the government put into neutral – pending a General Election to be held on October 22 2009 (or thereabouts). The only legislation the interim Prime Minister may wish to pass is the proposed reforms on expenses by Sir Christopher Kelly – and then a Bill to limit all future Parliaments to no more than four years.

5. The Labour leadership election would conclude some time in early to mid August. The new Labour leader would not become Prime Minister; instead the new leader would begin the process of formulating policy and a manifesto, ready for endorsement at the party conference in September. The other parties would do likewise. In the meantime, our interim Prime Minister steadies the ship, but tries to stay out of the political fray. They have to remember that they have no genuine legitimacy to govern, having lost the confidence of the public, and worse, have never faced a General Election.

6. The party conference season would rally the troops, and then dovetail into the General Election proper. By October 22, the country would have a newly elected Parliament, and a chance to start again with fresh mandates for whatever reform the electorate choose to endorse. If any.

To me, this seems a very sensible way to get ourselves out of the hole we’re currently in. As we saw again today, the government is listless, all of a sudden deciding it is going to abandon the Royal Mail part-privatisation after all.

We can’t go on like this, lurching from crisis to crisis, week by week. This time is simply dead time, all going to waste, all simply filling the gap until the next election, when it could be being used by a fresh, newly mandated government to pursue its agenda.

Now, I don’t actually think this will save Labour from defeat. But I think it could be good enough to reduce the Conservative majority to below 30, possibly even single figures. And if things go really well, it could force a hung Parliament.

Now that really would be exciting!

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