Belmont Club

Gordon Brown on the ropes

The British newspapers are full of Gordon Brown’s latest setbacks. Fresh from Labour’s annihilation at the local government elections, Brown saw his party thrashed at the European Parliamentary elections. The Times Online reports “Gordon Brown suffered humiliation in the polls last night as the British National Party achieved its biggest electoral breakthrough.” The Daily Mail writes, “the UK Independence Party emerged as the big winner on a night when Labour support collapsed and the other main parties struggled to cash in. … The party, which wants Britain to withdraw from the European Union, picked up votes nationwide, improving on an already strong performance five years ago.” Even the left wing Guardian lamented “Labour suffers long, dark night of humiliation — Tories surge as BNP wins first Euro seats”. Even the Conservative’s David Cameron is finding that he may have to shift further to the right simply to remain in step with the European Electoral results. The Guardian howls in alarm:


The Tories’ success means that Cameron will face one of the toughest challenges of his leadership: taking the party out of the main centre-right EPP-ED grouping in Strasbourg and establishing a new pan-European Eurosceptic group. Under the EU parliament’s rules, the Tories must include MEPs from at least seven member countries to form a grouping.

Cameron has faced criticism from party grandees and former senior diplomats because his group will be dominated by socially conservative parties from eastern Europe. The two biggest parties that have pledged to join the new group are the ODS from the Czech Republic, whose founder, Vaclav Klaus, has questioned many current assumptions about climate change, and Poland’s Law and Justice party, whose founders have made homophobic statements. Hague yesterday defended Cameron’s decision to leave the EPP, a pledge the Tory leader made during the 2005 leadership contest.

Euractive explained how the British Conservatives are realigning within the EU political arena.

Just days ahead of the EU elections, Conservatives and Eurosceptics in the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland formed a new political alliance over the weekend. They vowed to fight against what they see as the growing federalisation of the European Union. …

A new anti-federalist group, made up of David Cameron’s British Conservatives, the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS) led by former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and the Law and Justice Party (PiS) of former Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczyński, was constituted on 30 May in Warsaw.

The new political group is expected to undermine the mainstream centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), which is widely expected to win the European elections, scheduled for 4-7 June, according to polls … The decision by Conservative leader David Cameron to establish the new group was criticised by the mainstream British press. Cameron leads opinion polls in Britain, where he is widely seen as the future prime minister, but he was blamed for fraternising with the PiS, which is seen as ultra-conservative and homophobic.


The British Left is laying their across the board collapse at the feet of Gordon “Obama Beach” Brown. James Purnell, one of the Cabinet Ministers who defied Brown and resigned, was ideologically unrepentent in his resignation letter.

We both love the Labour Party. I have worked for it for 20 years and you for far longer. We know we owe it everything and it owes us nothing. I owe it to our Party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may be. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more, not less likely. That would be disastrous for our country. This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy. It calls for a Government that measures itself by how it treats the poorest in society. Those are our values, not David Cameron’s.

Labour has seen its position go from dominance to a struggle for survival.  Despite a friendly press and decades of political correctness, their program might be described as having struck the iceberg of reality.  But Labour’s core activists believe they have a personality, not a policy problem. The chorus is Walk Away Please Go, but the tune is from The Song Remains The Same.  Finding an appropriate metaphor for Brown’s dilemma is hard. David Hannan  couldn’t make up his mind whether to characterize Brown in terms of the Terminator or Dr. Seuss.

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