So where has all the politics arrived? The public made its contribution, so that Labour achieved 16% of the vote in these European elections. They might console themselves that the Conservatives did well mainly by default, but 16% was also the percentage that the BNP achieved in Barnsley (Barnsley for goodness sake - the homeland of Arthur Scargill and his Socialist Labour Party!), and its vote was such that we have the shame of putting two of them into the European Parliament. The only really pro-European party now achieved a steady 14%, and that's a depressing statement too.
The action was over on Friday. It was in the hands of the cabinet to finish Gordon Brown, and it didn't. The Labour MPs were left without a means to challenge him without blood all over the floor and the necessity of an election. Looking into the abyss they are effectively huddling together.
There is no easy way to remove someone who does not voluntarily step down. Appeals that he stepped down were ignored. Gordon Brown made promises to Labour MPs but he's made them before. He will not stop spinning and briefing against perceived opponents, because he believes in little victories, and needs these means to that end, and he operates at close hand in the exercise of power. He preaches truth and says things that are known to be untrue. He paid his price to Mandelson, and to Darling and Miliband and still occupies the position he covets. I wonder whether he will even produce any constitutional reform that has the prospect of going through Parliament in time.
We are left with a government that hangs on for the sake of it, and that has people on its side speaking openly against it. From the women who were supposedly visual wallpaper to ex-ministers and MPs, the cat is out of the bag.
What saved Brown, then, was the necessity of an immediate General Election if he was replaced. That strength is also his weakness. In the end, a month or two left won't make a difference and then matters will change. They might not replace him now, but him leading the troops into the next General Election when he intends to remain as Prime Minister is going to be too much to face for many. When a General Election 'now' is not much different from a General Election 'then', someone new as a different, reforming, potential Prime Minister may be irresistible, and then Brown will have little defence. Perhaps then he will stand down, but more likely given his hubris it is then that the removal women may have to start cooking and visit him to do some wallpaper changing.
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