James Forsyth

The column that should worry Gordon Brown

The column that should worry Gordon Brown
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Steve Richards is one of the most perceptive commentators on the left, he’s also generally inclined to give Gordon Brown a pretty fair shake. So, his piece for Open House detailing how impressive the Tory achievement last night was and how Labour has ‘no clear route’ towards salvaging its general election chances is all the more devastating. 

Here's how Richards starts:

There are no qualifications. The election results are dire for Labour and a triumph for the Conservatives. The Conservatives can claim much more credibly now that they are on course to win a substantial majority in a general election. David Cameron has managed to achieve this without the equivalent disaster of a Black Wednesday when Britain left the Exchange rate Mechanism, making the leap forward even more impressive. 

More worrying for Labour is that there is no clear route towards rebuilding an election winning coalition of support. Listen to the banalities from ministers today and you can see how they are struggling to cope with the tide that is sweeping over them "We will listen and lead" is the most common mantra. I doubt either that the ultra Blairites will have a more convincing prescription for success when they step forward to stir the pot at some point soon. Nor will a change of leader make any difference, and could make matters worse. There is no alternative leader with the titanic qualities required to win a fourth term. Anyway a second change of leader within a year would reinforce a sense of crisis. Look at what happened to the Tories as they played that game from 1997 onwards, moving from one unsuccessful leader to another.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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