James Forsyth

Can Brown change?

Can Brown change?
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When Gordon Brown was enjoying his honeymoon nine short months ago, you would have got long odds on the Tories winning London and being twenty points ahead of Labour in the national vote share at the local elections. But a combination of Brown’s missteps—most notably his trip to Iraq during the Tory conference, the election that never was and the 10p tax debacle, David Cameron and George Osborne’s political judgement and Boris’s unique skills have brought us to this point.

The question now is can Brown recover or is he fatally wounded? It is hard to see how Brown can turn this round. Over the last few months as things have gone from bad to worse for him he has appeared to have had little idea of how to fix things.

Brown central is determined to show that the Prime Minister is not panicking in the face of these results. But some panic might actually do Labour’s chances some good. They need to grasp just how bad things are; Labour’s worst result for forty years in Brown’s first electoral test appears to confirm the descriptions of his political failings made by the Blairites before he took over.

In his political career to date, Brown has not been known for his ability to change. But he must change his approach if he is to get out of this rut. If he does not, then these results will be a harbinger of what is to come in the general election.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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