It’s over: get used to it

Terrific column by Martin Kettle.

Yesterday’s Guardian poll shot an arrow through the heart of the Labour party. It says that Labour is on course to lose the next election. It says that Gordon Brown hasn’t got what it takes to turn things around. It implies that no one else in the Labour party has, either. It crystallises everything anxious Labour activists have been saying to themselves on the eve of the party conference in Manchester – and then it adds some. It is hard to think of a more pivotal political opinion poll in recent times…

It’s a very perceptive piece — and I’m not saying that just because Kettle agrees with me. Here’s how it concludes:

Perceived likability unlocks electability. One of the reasons Blair dominated British politics for so long was that, where personality was concerned, he had it. It is equally clear that one of Cameron’s great strengths is that he has it too. The message of the poll is that the voters have sized Brown up and don’t like what they see. It may be miserably demeaning that modern politics has come to this. But if Brown hasn’t got it, how does he acquire it? And if he can’t acquire it, who else has Labour got?

Answer: nobody.