Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Quick and the Dead

So, it's pretty much been decided that Labour are done for. Brown is the new Major (hat-tip, Mr E), Crewe, London, 10p tax and the local election results are the various nails in the coffin. (The threatened hauliers protests don't look like being a PR bonus exactly, either.) Nothing to do then but wait out the next two years, bracing for the inevitable.

But as Tom Freeman points out at the end of this excellent post, two years is a long time. (Not "in politics", it's just a long time. Really. You know how bored you get waiting for photos to upload to facebook? It's way longer than that.) So what's going to happen before the next election? As I'm not a crowd, I don't know. But here are some options that, variously, would either be good to see, or are quite likely, or maybe both:
  • Labour works out what people actually want from government
Schools, houses, lawnordah, green, security, freedom, low-tax, cheap fuel? What does the nation cry out for? Not just looking for quick fixes but actually finding (say) three areas where it can make a positive change in two years, then doing it.
  • The Conservatives come under more scrutiny
As the presumptive government, the questions being asked of them should start to get harder, challenging for coherence, costing, consistency. Being "not-Labour" shouldn't be good enough.
  • Labour get some gumption
Nothing more depressing than two years of steady, Major-ite decline, stumbling from one crisis to the next. Finding some self-belief, blowing the trumpet a bit, and not going gently into that good night
  • Call an election before 2010.
Lacking gumption, there's no point in clinging to power for the sake of it. If Labour really believe their bolt's been shot, and that there's nothing for it but a recuperative spell in Opposition - bite the bullet. (The one they kept when they shot their bolt, presumably). I submit this is both unlikely and defeatist, but a loss now cannot be any worse than the loss after two years of shambling decay.

Whether Brown is taken out and shot, knifed in a dark alley, or left in his office with a double whisky and a revolver, Labour need to decide now how they're going to get the best possible result in the next election. Then they need to stop cringing and do it.

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