So the local elections were a hearty kicking for Labour. So the Tories are now riding pretty high. Is Brown going to be able to get up from this and avoid defeat at the next election? I'm pretty sure he can't, and I've got two reasons why that is.
The first is that he is going to be ever more beset by siren voices like this one from James Macintyre on the Independent's Open House blog
So, one or two of us were indeed very wrong about the London maroyal election, having underestimated the extent to which real, electoral politics can be influenced by a right-of-centre rampant media pack at Westminster.
In other words, nothing's really wrong, it's all the fault of the media. This was precisely the line taken by the Labour Party in 1992. It's thoroughly wrong-headed. The media reflect public opinion far more than they shape it. It's perilous to forget that.
Much has already been said about recent history, with some prominent bloggers declaring Brown now much worse than John Major. The same circle of centrist and Tory bloggers - inevitably - warn Brown not to move to "the left", in advice which obscures the reality: that the PM's only true way out in the face of a universally hostile media (including the BBC, who long ago went with the flow) must be to alienate only one side of it - the right - as opposed to both, as he is at present. It is clearer than ever that Brown will never be embraced by that (dominant) side of the press, so again some of us ask: why not fight your way out of this disasterous mess with a bold, progressive agenda, true to your instincts and roots, instead of hopelessly remaining - like a battered wife - imprisoned by those who most enthusiastically attack you and are willing your demise?
In other words, hard-a-port and ho for clear red waters. It must be tempting to say the least for Brown to get a kind word from somewhere, but a hard turn to the left is as good a way as any for the Labour Party to lose power for a generation, rather than a term of Parliament. But, hey! Don't let me talk you out of it!
The second reason why Brown is doomed is perfectly captured by his first answer in PMQs today
Mr Brown was asked by a Conservative MP how long he thought he had got as prime minister - he hit back by accusing the Conservatives of ignoring issues of substance and listed Labour's achievements, to cheers from its MPs...
Mr Cameron returned Mr Brown's "salesmanship" accusation back, saying Mr Brown had "gone on American Idol with more make-up on than Barbara Cartland" - to laughter from MPs. He asked Mr Brown: "Why doesn't he give up the PR and start being a PM?"
Mr Brown highlighted what he said were Labour achievements on things like the minimum wage, record employment numbers and children being taken out of poverty before saying the choice was "between a Labour government that delivers and a Conservative Party that just talks".
Someone should ask Brown a question on sorghum yields, or tractor production in East Anglia next. Brown's problem is that he is increasingly a figure of fun, and even of pity - look at the number of times attacks on him cause laughter on all sides of the House. He seems unable to reply to questions with anything other than a litany of Labour's 'achievements'. And this pitiable Prime Minister is not going to be able to get himself out of this mess.
Labels: Brown, politics