Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2009

2 Big Stories

This morning’s two big stories are being combined by most of the newspapers: the European election results and what they mean for Gordon Brown’s leadership of the Labour party.
From the Guardian:
European elections: Brown faces leadership battle amid Labour meltdown and BNP success

Gordon Brown today faces a make-or-break challenge to his leadership after Labour looked set to slump to just 16% of the national vote in the European elections and the far-right British National party won two new seats.

In a devastating result for the prime minister, Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, was elected to the European parliament, his party securing 132,094 votes. There were boos from the crowd as the result was read out.

Earlier, Andrew Brons, the party’s candidate in Yorkshire and the Humber, was elected to the EU parliament – the first time the far-right party had ever secured a seat.

The party won 10% of the vote – more than 120,000 votes – in Yorkshire and the Humber.

In Wales, the Conservatives topped the polls for the first time since 1918 when Labour lost 12% of the vote.

The results brought fresh peril for the beleaguered prime minister as Labour was pushed into fourth and sometimes fifth place across whole swaths of the country.

And from the Times:
Only a new leader will bring unity to Labour
Lord Falconer speculates on whether a new Labour leader would revive the party’s fortunes. (Dear Charlie, nope – Labour is dead in the water, but you can dream…)

None of this ensures we would win the next election. We would have to fight for that and for trust. But we would have renewed, at a time when politics could not seem more disengaged from the public. We would have listened, and we would have acted. We would be for the future. More of the same is no longer tenable.

While there is no constitutional requirement to have a general election after selecting another leader, there would be significant political pressure. But if there were important steps going on to clean up politics, for example, or initiate progress on parliamentary reform and change supported by other parties, then there would be a proper basis for waiting. It would depend on the new situation, and when the change occurred.

Would we go to the country under the shadow of the expenses scandal? It would certainly play its part. But as a party we would have shown our understanding of the need for profound change by choosing a new leader and adopting the direction given by that new leader.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Costigan Quist on the secret to UKIP’s success
Ahead of last night’s results, Costigan gave three (non expense-related) reasons why UKIP would do well at the polls.

Paul Walter brought us: Pirates set to win two seats in European Parliament.

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3 Comments

  • Andrew Duffield 8th Jun '09 - 10:50am

    A dark day indeed.
    Without doubt, the BNP’s success is fundamentally due to the failure of mainstream politicians to understand and articulate the fact that economic wealth derives from people and that immigration creates wealth.

    This abject failure – manifesting itself in the deadweight taxation of productive endeavour, persistent poverty beneath a widening wealth gap and ignorant sloganising such as “British Jobs for British Workers” – is the unwitting root of the most heinous evil humanity has ever seen, now rising again across Europe and taking succour from the effects of our inept economic system.

    A system which genuinely values the unfettered and untaxed movement of capital and of labour – and which fairly recovers and redistributes all residual unearned wealth – remains key to peace, prosperity and a future free of fascism.

    If our party does not re-discover and re-articulate this socio-economic truth – and soon, for no-one else will – then we are truly lost.

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