Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mass poll shows Labour wipeout across country

If the latest figures are to be believed, and I believe them, then at the next election Gordon Brown will lead Labour into a bloodbath so severe that it would take the party a decade to recover.

Eight cabinet ministers, including the Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary, would be swept away in the rout as the Tories marched into Downing Street with a majority of 146, says the poll, conducted for and exclusively revealed to The Observer. Seats that have been Labour since the First World War would fall.

The sheer scale of the humiliation is almost as bad as that endured by the Tories in 1997, suggesting it could take Labour a similar time to claw its way back to power. The party would be virtually extinguished in southern England and left with only its hardcore redoubts in northern England, the Welsh valleys and deprived inner-city areas.

The stark findings from the survey of almost 35,000 voters across 238 seats, published on the PoliticsHome website today, are likely to fuel the stalled insurrection against Brown. A third of potential Labour voters in marginal seats would be more likely to back the party if he were replaced.

I don't find these figures remotely surprising. New Labour has long ago stopped standing for anything. But that is also the reason why I don't think a change of leader is going to help Labour in anything but a superficial manner.

Sure, we can get in David Miliband as opposed to Brown and, I suppose, for a couple of weeks that might give the press something new to talk about and might help to stop the rot for a short period. But the truth is that parties have to be for something, and when Glasgow East are voting against a Labour administration, then you really are badly out of sorts with your base.

New Labour has found itself most identified with the Iraq war and the detention of terrorist suspects. Don't get me wrong, the achievements of New Labour over the past decade has been very good, even if their negatives have been spectacularly bad.

But, since the election of Brown, the party has lacked any distinctive reason to be in power.

I don't know what their objective is and I am a lifelong Labour supporter.

Gordon has never bothered to articulate it and I secretly think that one of the reasons that Miliband might not challenge Brown is because he knows that whoever leads Labour into the next election is facing a pasting.

However, the predicted defeat would be so debilitating, that Miliband might find it impossible to be elected afterwards, which presents him with a dilemma.
While the Foreign Secretary would survive the rout, his power base would be decimated, making it much harder for him to get elected in a party likely to have shifted to the left: cabinet allies James Purnell and John Hutton would have gone, along with senior Blairites Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke. Jacqui Smith, Ruth Kelly, John Denham, Des Browne, Geoff Hoon and Jack Straw are projected to lose their seats.
I personally don't care whether Brown or Miliband or Mickey Mouse leads the next Labour administration, all I ask is that they lead an administration which represents Labour values and not one which spends all of it's time trying to appease the readers of the Daily bloody Mail.

I don't think that's too much to ask.

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