As regular readers will recall, I’ve thought from the outset that David Cameron’s ascendancy spelled big trouble for New Labour if they continue with the plan of anointing Gordon Brown as Tony Blair’s successor. Last week’s catastrophic by-election defeat in Dunfermline has really underlined that. Andrew Rawnsley writes about the fallout in today’s Observer…
The difference on this occasion is that bad news for Blair is not good news for Brown. It has been repeatedly said that the byelection was in the Chancellor’s backyard. Actually, it is more like his living room. The Chancellor’s Scottish home is in the seat. If he ever has a problem which needs the attention of his constituency MP, he will now have to ring a Lib Dem to help sort it out. The Chancellor regards himself as the king of Scottish politics. His repeated interventions in the byelection were an investment of his personal political capital.
It is going too far to say that this was a referendum on Gordon Brown, but it has to be wounding. Worse, it raises the question that he most dreads: if he cannot secure a Labour victory in his native fiefdom, how attractive will Prime Minister Brown be to the rest of the United Kingdom? If he can’t woo them in Fife, what are his prospects of swinging it in southern England?
As I said, boredom is the problem. The British electorate has a longish attention span, but Labour are reaching the end of it. If they plump for Brown, they are doomed. Must see if I can put some money on this hunch.