Alex Massie

The Importance of Kicking Gordon

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Defeat for Gordon Brown on 42 Days yesterday would have been catastrophic. But, as I suggested, victory hasn't done him much good either. The Spectator samples press reaction:

"Desperate Brown scrapes through" says the Guardian, quoting Dianne Abbott saying it was a “grubby bazaar”. Just how grubby is shown by the Daily Mail which names those concessions. “Winner or Loser?” asks The Independent’s front page and editorial argues for the latter (“A victory that only exposes Mr Brown’s weakness”). The Mirror’s spread says simply “Day of Shame”. The Times’ leader says simply “Westminster for Sale” saying this horse trading will only further lower the public’s opinion of British politics.

All true. In The Times Matthew Parris has an excellent suggestion:

David Cameron should now think very hard about putting down a motion of no confidence in the Government, precipitating an early debate next week. Strong arguments against doing so will be urged: it would give the Parliamentary Labour Party a cause to rally unanimously around; it would be resoundingly defeated; and some might call that an own goal. But with a government majority of 66, the Tories are never going to win a confidence debate. The time to call one is a moment when mood and argument, if not arithmetic, is with them. Now is that moment.

In political legend it would attach to June 2008 the appropriate dark significance - and portent of things to come.

Also all true. Another reason for calling a no confidence debate? It would be terrific fun.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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