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One cabinet minister standing down was unlucky. A second looked worrying. But a third and the Labour Party seems to be falling to pieces before our eyes. How will they win a general election?

Last week, the Works and Pension Secretary, James Purnell decided it was time for him to stand down. No regrets. A stab in the back for leader Gordon Brown and the rest of the Cabinet as no-one saw it coming. Purnell is one of the first Cabinet Members to admit he has lost all faith in Brown. His resignation letter insisted the Prime Minster should step down if the party have any hope of surviving. To him, it wasn’t even a question of winning the general election; it’s a question of surviving.

With Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears also giving their resignation the Party went into the local elections with holes in the party. Blears had faced a difficult month. After the Telegraph revealed she was ‘flipping’ her ‘second home’ to make money and dodged paying over £13,000 in capital gains tax, Blears’ actions were described by Brown as ‘totally unacceptable’. The Communities Secretary was humiliated by Brown, who later supported both Geoff Hoon and James Purnell for similar offences. With public anger mounting, Blears quit. Wearing a badge inscribed ‘rocking the boat’ she insisted her actions were not to damage the PM, but to help him “reconnect with the people.”


With the Labour Party quickly losing hope in their leader, some members have begun a revolt, saying there is no chance in winning the next general election if they keep Brown. An email circulating, hopes to get over 50 signatures from MPs and backbenchers who insist Brown should step down. Within the Labour Party rules, a minimum of 72 signatures is required to force out their leader. Currently sources say they have a minimum of 50 but will Purnell leaving encourage more members to come forward?  Or will they sit tight and go down with the ship? Barry Sheerwood, Education Select Committee Chairman, has also insisted that that a secret vote is carried out, on whether Brown should stay. Members reassure their party claiming a new leader, favourite, Alan Johnson, can be appointed within 23 days. Adamant for a new leader, they feel this is the only way the party can survive. 

Brown’s leadership has been looking very weak since the revelations of the expenses row, that itself is only the tip of the iceberg. Re-shuffling has taken place and once again Brown reassures us that this team will tackle all the hot topics of the past month. Remaining loyal to Alistair Darling, Chancellor of Exchequer, we can only wait to see what happens next.

With the local and European elections result out, the mood in the Labour party must be grim. Polls pre-empting a fall proved true.

When the Telegraph revealed MPs expenses, day by day, it got worse. Claims were made for non-existent mortgages; profit was made in the property market and outrageous claims such as duck houses created a fuming public. MPs began to step down, speaker Michael Martin was forced out and it was a huge blow to all parties. However, Labour was hit the most. In recent polls from the Guardian, Tories support fell from 43 per cent to 37 per cent, whilst Labour support fell a further 6 per cent from their low 27 per cent. Wounds were beginning to re-open and issues such as the reform of the House of Lords, electoral reform and a written constitution were all back, facing heated debates. 

In comparison to David Cameron, Brown looked weak. Cameron’s harsh personality, saw MPs quickly sacked and apologies made to the public. On the other hand, we still haven’t even heard an apology from Brown. Not a great start, some would say. Now, whilst Cameron and two thirds of the general public demanding an early general election, once again Brown is letting us down. Why? For this there is a legitimate reason. Brown’s strongest point is economic policies. With years of experience as Chancellor of Exchequer, his policies to help the economy recover are well backed up. In contrast to the Tories who want to cut spending in health, education, defence and overseas aid, Brown feels he is the strongest person to take us through the crisis. So, although currently everything is against him, he still holds a glimmer of hope. And that’s why, if he makes it till next June, he hopes the economy will be back at number one on his to-do-list.


Another disadvantage the Labour party is facing is the broken promises of Tony Blair. When Blair came into power in 1997, he brought with him New Labour; supporting the poor and the working class. However this quickly faded and Labour lost a lot of support from people who had once been core supporters. Blair took Britain to war and acted as Bush’s poodle. The repercussions of that decision still flow among the British public and although Brown has promised a full investigation into the events, this will come after the general election.

To be frank, Labour is doomed. While Brown holds on tightly to his position as leader, the party support is quickly disappearing. Whether a new leader will be able to restore the party is the question on many members’ minds. As the public we can just sit tight and keep watching because if the next few days is anything like the last month, the storm is far from its end.


Since the landslide victory of 1997, Labour has become quite cosy at Number 10. They have swept Britain off their feet and governed the UK for three consecutive terms.
With the next general election on the horizon, the battle between Britain’s two dominant parties is turning into a vicious battle. As both play their best cards, it’s up to us to make the decision.

Labour’s impressive three-term advantage is now working against them, as the last decade saw previous leader, Tony Blair, make some hard-headed and controversial decisions. Taking Britain to war with Iraq, followed by ex-Chancellor Gordon Brown under-estimating the severity of the economic downturn has led to an escalating decline in the number of supporters for the party. The polls turned, and fresh-faced David Cameron won over a significant number of supporters for the Conservative Party. As Britain dug itself into a deep financial hole, voters lost hope. They now long for a faithful government; a party they can trust to rebuild economy.

Now time is against both parties to make a lasting impression on their voters. Labour and Conservative are neck-to-neck, and are willing to play dirty. But the underlying question is can Labour govern for a fourth term, or are we on the cusp of a swinging pendulum, bringing the Tories into power?

Before predicting the future, it is important to look back at the history. When the Conservative Party collapsed in the 1990s they gave Labour a new found hope and strength. Presenting themselves as new Labour they dominated Britain for 13 years. Re-inventing themselves won them a new generation of voters. However, all good things come to an end, and as the party became more successful, their popularity fell.


New Labour had abandoned the working class, the poor, and trade unions. Their new policies and harsh decisions quickly lost respect and support of electorate. The election of 2001 found Labour win with a 58 per cent electorate turnout, their lowest win since 1918.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, some may say, they have no chance in winning the election as a result of their actions and failure to deliver. Their setback in 2003 was also a big blow to the party’s support. Tony Blair, against his country’s wishes went to war with Iraq. Mocked as President Bush’s poodle, Britain lost its identity and ability to act alone. With vast amount of tax-payers money being poured into fuelling the war, Blair made Labour deeply unpopular and people are still waiting for answers. It is not surprising that Gordon Brown wishes to postpone the full inquiry into the Iraq war until after the elections. It is unknown to him what will come of the investigation and in a bid to retain the party’s future he insists on coming clean after the election. Whether this is a wise decision is questionable. Perhaps if Labour took responsibility for their mistakes people could move on and restore faith in the party. Without any remorseful or repenting action, they will not regain the trust from the country.


Since 2006 polls have indicated the Tories are in the lead. However, this may not be entirely down to voters genuinely supporting their values. Currently Britain is facing some of its toughest economic challenges and everyone is unhappy with the state of the economy. At times of struggle it’s natural to point the finger of blame at the managing government. If people are willing to risk whether the grass is greener on the other side, Labour will fail.

A pattern illustrated during the run-up to elections, show an economic boom gives the incumbent a great advantage. This said the Labour Party is automatically at a disadvantage. The housing bubble is at the root of the problem and the public need someone to blame. There is no doubt that the collapse of the house prices and increased difficulty on securing a loan wouldn’t have happened under the Tories, but Labour is in office. Blaming the current government just seems obvious.

Sounds like the Labour Party has been in a downward spiral for the past three years but polls indicated a Labour lead when Brown became Prime Minster. Tony Blair stepping down gave Labour another chance. However it wasn’t long before the electorate also gave up on Brown, who had made no significant impact to the country. But wait, this does not mean that the Conservative party have gained popularity. They oppose a fiscal stimulus, want to reduce spending in education, health, defence and overseas aid and are the most anti-European party alive. It doesn’t take an idiot to realise that these are arguably some of Britain’s most pressing issues. Although there is a huge focus on Cameron as an individual, the Tories need to understand they are missing a crucial element – their manifesto. The electorate might not like Brown very much at the moment, but Cameron’s pretty face won’t win the election. Will, come election-day, the electorate feel safer with Labour and give them one final chance?


Taking all factors into consideration, the budget is a big occasion. Considering the state of the economy this budget was huge and repercussions are still rippling through the media. Frankly it would have been the Alistair Darling’s ultimate saviour to plan his actions wisely on how to resolve the current crisis. However with severe criticism, he and Gordon Brown are looking defeated, worsening the already bad situation. His rather optimistic outlook has come across as stupidity and some of his decisions have severely aggravated the electorate. Higher taxes, immense government spending and a dangerous mounting debt look like a hopeless future. Forecasting a rapid economic recovery, Tories are now further in the lead with their more realistic approach of cutbacks.

Money and trust being a key issue, Darling and Brown have a challenging task ahead of them. From restoring faith on politics, forecasting the future of finance to dealing with the toxic issue of allowance for MPs, it is safe to say expenses scandals among politicians have jeopardised the Labour party. Jacqui Smith and Tony McNulty are few of the culprits who claimed unreasonable amount of tax-payers money to fund second homes. This will certainly give other parties an easier win among constituencies. However one tactic Alistair Darling will play is to use the Tories weakest point as his strength. In an attempt to contrast the actions of the Conservative government during the mass unemployment in the 1980s, Darling hopes his “Budget for Jobs” will restore faith in a majority of voters.

The polls indicate the Tories are in the lead. In the 21st century polls are accurate. The sampling process has greatly improved since the early 1980s. However inaccuracy exists and can root from parties believing they still hold core voters; supporters who will always vote for them. Historical reasons prove Labour did influence a large majority of Indians, Pakistanis and Afro-Caribbeans during the post-war immigration period of 1960s. Regardless of economic circumstances those migrants will always support Labour. Whether Labour still holds those voters’ respect is questionable and only post-election analysis will reveal who those details.

All aspects, large and small will affect the outcome of voting. Brains, beauty and brawn, let the battle commence.

Are you politically active? Do you feel informed about British politics? Do you feel like you influence the way this country is run?

I’m guessing very few of you will answer yes to any of those questions. The careless attitude is becoming more common within our society.

But believe it or not, politics at the moment is pretty hot. Who does what? What did they say?

The general election needs to occur before May 2010 and the largest two parties are fighting for a win. But with the contagious careless attitude spreading with anyone even turn up to vote.

The electorate turnout has been on the decline for over a decade now. People have given up, lost hope and simply can’t be bothered. But one law the Aussies have is compulsory voting. You have to turn up and vote. It’s part of living in the country. Similar to paying taxes, some would say it defeats the object of freedom of choice. But perhaps it would make people more active in politics. Maybe you would pay a little more attention to how the government proposes to run the country.

Saying all this, it seems so easy to encourage people to vote, but I’m not sure it would actually work. Forcing us to do something we really don’t care about. Maybe politicians should take a look in the mirror. How about they stop getting spin-doctors to sell their policies in the best light and cut straight to the point. Perhaps they need to recognise the difference between playground politics and governing a country. Then they may earn some respect and interact with the future generations. After all it’s them who will be voting the next prime minister!

October 2018
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