Things have been rather busy of late politically in the UK. Back in June – unsurprisingly – Gordon Brown took over the reigns at 10 Downing Street, just after the voters gave Tony Blair his last bloody nose in the local elections in May. Brown is playing a very clever game and you can’t help admiring his political nous. He is trying to come across as the prime minister who will reach to all and is even getting Conservative MPs to work for him in an advisory capacity. He is trying to look like the only choice as prime minister and at the moment it is working. If he calls a snap general election for about a month’s time, it will not be a question of whether Labour will win, it is about how big the majority will be. David Cameron is not seen as a prime minister in waiting. He has tried to model himself on Tony Blair too much, and as I have already stated, the electorate gave Blair a bloody nose before he left office, he was that popular. Brown recently invited Margaret Thatcher around for a visit to Number 10. He has stated he is a conviction politician, just like Thatcher. Let’s not forget he spent a large portion of his career trying to destroy the Thatcher government, and there are many in his party who will be celebrating when Lady Thatcher dies. Yes, that’s right, I know of councillors here in Hull who plan to do such that, but as the electorate look back at the Thatcher years with a pleasant nostalgia, Brown is demonstrating his political skills by associating with her. Cameron is showing his political naivete by modelling himself on Blair.
One Conservative MP – Quentin Davies – ‘crossed the floor of the House of Commons’ and joined the Labour Party as soon as Brown became prime minister. He is now a Labour MP and his new party are searching for a safe seat for him to stand in. There are rumours one or two more Conservatives will do the same very shortly. Labour has just held its annual conference this week and the Conservative conference will start in a couple of days. Any defections on the eve of a conference will be particularly embarrassing for David Cameron when a large percentage of his own party – myself included – are getting critical of his leadership. If Brown does call a snap election those defectors will have to found seats very quickly, but all of this has happened before. Prime ministerial advisers will have a word with a long standing and ageing MP and convince him that life in the House of Lords will not be that bad. They will then stand down and make room for one of the defectors just in time for their name to be put on the ballot paper. I’m sure some of this manoeuvring is going on right now.
I personally think that when parliament reconvenes, Brown will announce an election for November 1. Then the frenetic activity will commence. I love elections, but after over ten years in opposition, the thought of another five years is depressing. I will go out and work for a friend of mine who hopes to be elected – and there is a chance he will succeed – but the national picture is gloomy.
So that is the picture here in the UK. I will keep you up-to-date as and when there are developments