This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Glasgow East: Things can ONLY get better?


I was wrong.

We were all wrong.

I thought Labour would narrowly sneak to victory in yesterday's by-election, but instead we narrowly lost to the Nationalists.

Another depressing - make that suicidal night - for the Party.

The only possible, positive spin I can put on it is that things can't get much worse than this. When you are this low in the polls and you suffer setback after setback, perhaps the only real direction is up.

Let's hope so.

One thing is clear though: the Labour Party is universally hated.

The campaign in Glasgow East was pretty good, the candidate, Margaret Curran was strong and Gordon Brown was hardly mentioned at all. Yet, the electorate rejected the Labour Party and voted for the SNP, sending a clear signal to the Party leadership that Labour has got to shift a gear.

We are now witnessing the hemorrhaging of Labour's core vote.

We lost the swing vote a long time ago as the local elections showed.

If we can not win Middle England (Crewe and Nantwich) and we can not win the aspirational South-East (Henley) and we can not win in our own back yard (Glasgow East), we have to ask ourselves where exactly can we win? What is the point of us?

It is not as simple as changing a leader or a Cabinet reshuffle either - which is what some Party hacks will be advocating this weekend. It is more important that as a Party we ask ourselves precisely what we stand for. If I struggle to articulate Labour's message, then no wonder voters in Glasgow East haven't a clue either and no wonder they are angry with the Government.

If the results of last night were repeated across the country in a General Election Labour would be thrown out of power for over a decade. And deservedly so.

But I agree with Gordon Brown that voters have not yet made their mind up when it comes to the Tories. Every day is a referendum on the government, but in a General Election it will really come down to a choice between two parties and I am still not yet convinced the public is sold on Cameron's New Look Tories. However, with every defeat, with every setback, with every gaffe ,we make their job a whole lot easier.

The rot has set so far in it may be impossible to stop. But, if we don't come up with something quick and I mean NOW (big ideas, big changes of direction, going for it full steam ahead) it is hard to see how we pull it around.

Labour is staring into the abyss and so far no one is pulling us back.

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