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Several MPs, ministers, and political commentators appear to want Gordon Brown to resign as leader of the Labour Party. God knows why: These lefties seem to think that sacking Brown would be good for Labour when, in reality, it would be anything but.
Labour cannot win the next election. Barring the hugely unexpected, Labour is now by far the most damaged political party, and the Conservatives are well into an inexorable resurgence. The political wind in the country, stirred up by Big Bad Blair, is now circling Downing Street and will huff, puff, and blow down Labour’s house with surety.
Labour’s popularity is in its boots as it is, and whilst Mr Brown is hardly boosting it, it is most certainly the party which is damaged now, not the leadership, and it cannot win the next election until it has undergone a Cameronesque detoxification. And,as Carol Voderman will tell you, you can’t detoxify when under the pressure of Government.
As if that weren’t enough, governments undoubtedly live and die through economic cycles. Few governments could hope to survive the present economic downturn, and both Labour and Brown – who have previously sung so enthusiastically about how they control the economy – have dug their own graves. Taking credit for the upward economic stroke has now left their popularity careering head-first down the slippery slope of economic downturn.
Of course, Brown’s fervent support for the merger of HBOS and Lloyds TSB this week is a further mistake: He’s backing a process which he doesn’t entirely control, and any regulatory hurdles the process stumbles at will be painted as Brown losing his influence. There’s a reason why back-room deals and discussions should stay in the back room.
But still, he shouldn’t resign. Labour failing under Brown is infinitely better for the Party than Labour failing under two leaders. Labour can’t win the next general election, but with a new leader, a lick of paint, and some enthusiastic party unity, they can purge themselves back into power reasonably quickly – and that’s where minds should be focussed.
To elect another leader now and yet still lose the next election will damage the Party far more: Failure under one leader can be painted as the failure of a bad apple, fail under two consecutive leaders and the country thinks whole orchard is rotten. Allegiance is switched to pears.
Of course, such is the nature of politics, few Labour MPs genuinely care about the long-term future of the party. The career politicians in marginal seats would desperately like to keep their jobs at the next election, and see Brown as damaging the Party. They want to chuck him out to give themselves a flicker of hope of avoiding their P45 for another Parliamentary term. Frankly, they’d stand a better chance if they crossed the floor.
This Labour government is undoubtedly moribund. There are no heroes in the wings waiting to swoop in a resuscitate their chances. The only sensible thing to hope for now is a dignified death, in the hope that the rebirth can be swift.
Brown simply must not go.