James Forsyth

Labour is heading back to the dark days of August

Labour is heading back to the dark days of August
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James Kirkup and Andrew Porter’s guide to the moods of Gordon Brown, the Cabinet and Labour MPs is absolutely essential reading. They write that Labour MPs are increasingly convinced that the next election is lost, cabinet is becoming increasingly fractious and that Brown is heading back to his dark place, he has apparently had to give up exercising on a treadmill because of the strain it puts on his knees.

The apology debate is still raging according to Kirkup and Porter:

“The truth is, nobody saw this coming and we all got it wrong, Gordon included," says one minister close to Downing Street. "He's going to have to level with people and say so, or we'll never be listened to."

I think the minister is right: if Brown doesn’t make it clear that he realises he should have done things differently, he’s not going to be listened to on what to do now.

PS Perhaps the most interesting quote in the piece comes from, an unsurprisingly anonymous, cabinet minister. It suggests, how shall we put it, a certain detachment from the public mood. 

“"I characterise most people as the 'worried well'. Of course they're worried when they read all about the problems with the banks, and they see there are issues with unemployment.

"However, there needs to be a more realistic outlook. Even if eight per cent of the population were out of work, there would be 92 per cent in work. There are large parts of the country that it won't affect massively.

"People will actually be better off this year in many ways. Of course, we do have to empathise with people and do our best for those who do actually lose their jobs, but at the moment the perception and reality of this recession are quite different."

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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