Tuesday 9 June 2009

An objective assessment?

According to all the headlines, Gordon Brown lives to fight another day following last night's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Given the way that the meeting has been reported, I'm not so sure that his neck is as safe as suggested.

The assessment seems to have been based largely on the fact that the majority of the 30 or so people who expressed an opinion supported him, with the implicit assumption that if the majority of those who spoke backed him, then he enjoys the support of his party. Given that at least one of those who was present then ran to the media and gave them the story about who had spoken and what they said, I somehow doubt that his troubles are over.

I can fully understand why, faced with a difficult situation, the party avoided holding a vote on the issue. Any party manager would understand that holding any sort of vote of confidence in the leadership actually adds to the impression that things are bad, even if the result is overwhelming support. But not having any objective assessment inevitably leaves an open question over the true level of his support.

With some, at least, of his own party members apparently determined to work against him in a semi-public fashion, and no obvious financial upturn on the immediate horizon, I question whether it is really in the interest of anyone except the Tories for him to limp along for another year.

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