The Homburg factor (contd)

Today’s papers are full of absurdly feeble stories about the ‘crisis’ now afflicting the government. Nobody really knows anything — so there are lots of ‘analysis’ pieces which simply string together every factoid and unattributable quote that the hacks have managed to garner.

Yesterday, Martin Kettle wrote this:

So far, very few MPs have gone public about their lack of confidence in Brown. But, make no mistake, such views are now the norm among increasingly large numbers of consenting backbenchers in private. These backbenchers have finally been pummelled out of their comfort zone by the events of this spring. They now fear Labour cannot win the next general election under Brown’s leadership. They say and believe that he has to go. They do not believe either that Brown will change or that – even if he did – voters would any longer pay attention to it. The question that now consumes these MPs is not whether Gordon Brown will step down – but how and when…

What this conveniently overlooks is that these are the same Labour MPs who lacked the bottle to challenge Brown’s appropriation of the leadership less than 12 months ago. In that sense they’re all complicit in the unfolding disaster. Although Martin Kettle still thinks it unlikely, it’s possible that they will eventually find the nerve to unhorse Brown. But that won’t make any difference. The game’s over. The electorate is bored with them. And besides the British system only works by alternating power between elected dictatorships.

Footnote: Puzzled by the Homburg reference? See here. And, while we’re on the subject, it’s interesting that in his memoirs Lord Levy, Tony Blair’s bagman, quotes Blair as telling him that Brown lacked the political qualities needed to defeat David Cameron.