James Forsyth

Polly Toynbee: Brown has failed totally and utterly, Labour must turn to Johnson

Polly Toynbee: Brown has failed totally and utterly, Labour must turn to Johnson
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Polly Toynbee, once a great Brown cheerleader, pulls no punches in her column calling for Labour to get rid of the Prime Minister. Here’s the nub of her argument:

“It's all over for Brown and Labour. The abyss awaits. As long as he remains leader, there is nothing that wretched Labour candidates can plausibly say on the doorstep at next month's European elections. They are struck dumb. Why should people vote for them? The horse manure bought on expenses is garnish for a decomposing government. The heart of the matter is the economy, and Brown's responsibility for the bubble years. He personally is to blame for Labour's failure to ensure that ordinary people on median incomes and poor people at the bottom received a bigger share in national growth: it turns out that they fell back and only the wealthy prospered. Labour made the rich richer and the poor poorer: growth for the few, not the many.

That is a failure so fundamental to Labour's purpose that the party can't go into the next election led by the man responsible. His other failings as leader pale beside this one monumental fact. While he is there, Labour cannot claim "fairness" or "social justice", so what is left to say? What is Labour's offer?

Gordon Brown has been tested and found in want of almost every attribute a leader needs.” Toynbee concludes that the Cabinet should force Brown to go straight after the June elections. She argues that Johnson should be appointed unopposed with the task of limiting the damage. It’ll be interesting to see how much follows this gets, whether it is lost in the expenses story or further weakens Brown’s already weak position. 

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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