Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Running on rails

So, it's happened. Brown is Prime Minister; Blair is off the scene; Cherie has had her final pop at the press; and it's time for politics to resume. But is it yet? For the last year or so we have effectively known what was going to happen: Brown would be unopposed for the leadership, either literally or to all intents and purposes and the ensuing positive coverage would result in a bounce of some degree and the media eclipse of the Tories.
Nothing that has happened over the past six months has deviated sufficiently from the script to raise eyebrows. Yesterday’s defection of Quentin Davies was a definite surprise, though it’s already looking like a bad bargain for the Labour Party. The rumours of another defection tomorrow may be more serious (though the name on everyone’s lips, John Bercow, has issued a strong denial), as far as Labour are concerned, it would be better coming from the Lib Dems, to prove Gord’s wide appeal.

So has the phony war finished? Do we need to track through the obligatory honeymoon bit, where Brown pretends to be humble and we pretend to believe him? What we need is the first stand-up fight of the new era, the first policy area that causes real debate both between and within parties. For someone who has expended a lot of effort deriding Cameron’s lack of policies it is strange that we have heard none of his own.

Can anyone name me a Brownite policy, evidence of his desire to be the face of ‘Change’? Vague and exhortatory promises to bring peace to the Middle East through the wonders of post-neo-classical endogenous growth theorem aside, all we have so far is his rejection of a referendum for the EU Treaty.

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