Friday, 25 July 2008

Glasgow by-election bad for Labour and LibDems

A lot of bloggers, especially the political anoraks, are writing about last night's humiliating defeat for Labour in the Glasgow East by-election. I'll just add my two-penneth...

Yesterday the general consensus was that Labour would just scrape home, the reality that occurred was a swing of over 22% to the victorious SNP. So what conclusions can be drawn? Most attention in the media seems to be directed toward the future of Gordon Brown's premiership and remember it was only just over a year ago he took over the top job with no party election. If there was a move to oust him who could take over I wonder, there are no obvious candidates on the horizon. Let us say, for arguments sake, Brown was moved aside and Jack Straw took the reins (this is all hypothetical of course). It would be almost impossible for yet another person to become prime minister without getting a mandate from the electorate and with Labour's present low standing in the polls and worsening economic situation who on earth in their right mind, Jack Straw or anyone else, would take this particular poisoned chalice. So what can Brown do other than soldier on in the forlorn hope that things will be better for him in 2010.

Interestingly, as with 'Crewe and Nantwich', it almost looks as if the constituency voters have decided to go for the candidate with the best chance of winning to ensure Labour get a drubbing. This has meant a straight transfer from Labour to Tory at C & N and Labour to the SNP in Glasgow. The very poor results for the LibDems and their leader Nick Clegg have been somewhat masked by the disasters for Labour. Is the fact that the LibDems are dropping below the radar due to Mr Clegg or his party being once again squeezed out of Westminster as has happened before. Certainly they have been in the doldrums since the time Charles Kennedy was pushed aside; like it not the fortunes of a political party are very much related to who their leader is regardless of particular policies. At the moment their economics spokesman Vince Cable is far and away their most effective parliamentarian and has had a 'proper job' in his earlier life as well.

Our political system can never be perfect of course and so now we are faced with a limp along disheartened government for what could be nearly two years. Whether it's all or partly Brown's fault is debatable as regards our economic plight but without doubt for the working person house prices, essential monthly outgoings and continuity of employment prospects are the things that matter most and will significantly affect the result of the next general election. The bad news for Labour of course is that all these things are almost certain to worsen over the months ahead.

As I have said before on this blog Gordon Brown used to have luck on his side and got the plaudits he didn't fully merit. Now he gets the blame for everything even for those things way outside his control. Yes sometimes it's a rough old business, politics.

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