Labour are crippled by an indecisiveness borne of an absense of moral fortitude. As the dying party drags itself inexorably toward euphanasia at the next general election – trailing a bloody slew of resinging ministers and humiliating polls – it seems incapable of shaking off Gordon Brown, the albatross who’s got his claws firmly gouged into their collective neck. Having been destroyed in the recent local and European elections (pushed into third place and taking record low vote shares in both; losing their last strongholds in the locals, and, in the Europeans, coming behind the Conservatives in Wales for the first time in nearly 100 years), Labour is staring into the abyss… and Gordon Brown stares implacably back.
Basking in the sycophantic praise of a specially selected audience of Labour activists yesterday, Brown almost managed to appear relaxed. Probably because, for once, his audience was telling him what he wanted to hear (‘You’re doing a great job, Gordon’, ‘We want you to stay on as Prime Minister’), as opposed to what he would normally hear, if only he ever bothered to listen (that he isn’t, and we don’t). As he tried to reaffirm why he still believes, against all the evidence, that he is uniquely placed to lead Britain out the very troubles he’s helped to heap upon us, he once again promised Parliamentary reform. Which begs the question as to how the electorate could possibly have any faith in any such proposals, when they know that the very reason Brown’s fractured party hasn’t already defenestrated him – i.e. his MPs’ fear of losing their own seats – exemplifies the cynical, self-serving culture that any Parliamentary reform needs to quell.
I’m thoroughly fed up of hearing Brown, with his hands over his ears, telling us what we want him to do, whilst the Labour party tells us what it wants. It’s about time both took the trouble to reflect upon what the electorate really want, and to call a general election.