28 July 2008
Will Brown be pushed out of office?
Will Britain have a new Prime Minister soon? No, says your friendly old Exile, as Gordon Brown will remain in office until the election which is due in 2010. There is a lot of talk of palace coups at the moment, but there are several good reasons why we should conclude that it is merely hot air.
The first is that what people are rejecting is not Gordon Brown per se, but the whole Nu-Labour experiment. That much should be obvious from the decline in working class turnout and support for Nu-Labour at every election since 1997. That has now accelerated, hence all the talk about a coup, but as Peter Kellner pointed out yesterday, the polls do not show any possibility of a surge in support for the government if it were headed by someone else.
To make matter worse, who would the replacement be? The most likely candidate would be David Miliband, a Primrose Hill pretty boy who has been variously described as looking like "a pillock on his gap year" and "a trainee manager at the Grand Hotel in Brighton". The problem is that Miliband and all the rest are tarred with the brush that gave Britain the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, and not one of those putative replacements has ever even hinted that he believes in nationalisation, re-industrialisation and stronger trades' unions. The middle class are not going to return to the party that refuses to end those wars, and the working class are now sick of being treated as voting fodder.
Funnily enough, Brown is probably the only man who can actually prevent an electoral meltdown. He could cajole the cabinet into withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq, and that would bolster his position with the liberal middle class. At the same time, he could quickly dust off some policies that would be popular with the traditional Labour voters - what they are doesn't matter, just so long as some unskilled and semi-skilled jobs are created out of the process.
Gordon Brown could do that because he has about him the air of a Labour Man, and Labour voters would most likely return to the fold if he started speaking the language that they want to hear. However, he won't, because in spite of his Labour air, he is a Nu-Labour man to the core.
So, since there is nobody to replace Brown in Downing Street, and since Brown is unwilling to produce the policies that are needed to prevent a meltdown, he will remain at the helm until the general election puts him and everyone else out of their misery.