Labour Falters

I am usually loath to comment on the domestic politics of countries other than my own but, considering the more general implications of the story, I felt that the ongoing problems being encountered by Britain’s Labour Party were worth a mention:

June 7 (Bloomberg) — Gordon Brown’s Labour Party was bracing for defeat in elections for the European Parliament as more lawmakers from Britain’s ruling party called on the prime minister to step down.

“Can we get unity under the current leadership? I don’t think we can,” Charles Falconer, the former lord chancellor in charge of the judiciary, said on the BBC’s “Politics Show” in London today. “We need to debate that issue. And that may require a change in leader.”

Six ministers left Brown’s Cabinet last week, one calling for him to resign, as Labour trailed Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in voting for local government officials in England. With less than a year before the next general election, Labour lawmakers are questioning whether Brown is the man to lead them.

“A majority of Labour MPs, whether they are prepared to express it or not, feel he needs to go,” Siobhain McDonagh said on Sky News.

The rebellion so far is short of the level needed to force Brown into a leadership contest. Unless Brown quits, 70 of Labour’s 350 members of Parliament would have to publicly call for him to go before the party would consider replacing him.

Labour has been running into problems for some time now. First, Tony Blair, the man who put Labour in the driver’s seat, was forced to resign. Blair’s decline was partly a result of his support for what is in the United Kingdom an even less popular war than it is here, partly because of his health problems, partly because of the ambitions of the man who was to succeed him, Gordon Brown, and partly, I suspect, because of a rising level of dissatisfaction among Britons.

Since then Labour’s problems have been many. Not only do they own the UK’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan but they own Britain’s economic woes as well, much in the way Republicans are blamed for both of these here.

Labour has been rocked by a scandal involving the abuse of official expenses by MP’s.

Just a few days ago Labour took major losses in local elections, cabinet ministers have resigned, and, despite his pledges to fight on, Gordon Brown’s days as prime minister are clearly numbered.

Undoubtedly the inference that some will draw from all of this is the vileness of Labour but I don’t think that’s the right conclusion to draw. I have no doubt that the Tories in their turn will be equally vile. As Ambrose Bierce put it a conservative is “a statesman enamored of existing evils, as opposed to a Liberal, who wants to replace them with others.”

No, I think the more proper conclusion to draw is that there is no substitute for good governance. Not party. Not ideology. Not purity of heart or courage or anything else. No party has a permanent lock on power or any right to power. Ultimately, in a representative democracy when any party fails to govern prudently, it will lose power. He who has ears let him hear!

UPDATE (James Joyner): I agree completely.  See my New Atlanticist post “Britain’s Brown on Borrowed Time.”

FILED UNDER: General, , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. G.A.Phillips says:

    Next, the Obama regime. Please vote NO CONFIDENCE,And bring hope, and change back to America!!!

  2. John Burgess says:

    I wonder if British parties simply have a finite lifespan in leadership. It seems to me that no matter the party, X years go by and it’s time for a replacement. Thatcher-Major gets dumped for Labour; Blair-Brown is about to get dumped for whom? Conservatives? Likely not Lib-Dem, but who knows?

  3. An Interested Party says:

    Next, the Obama regime. Please vote NO CONFIDENCE,And bring hope, and change back to America!!!

    I suspect that is more hope and change than you’ll actually be getting anytime soon…

  4. Eric Florack says:

    I wonder if British parties simply have a finite lifespan in leadership. It seems to me that no matter the party, X years go by and it’s time for a replacement.

    That’s because they both subscribe to a big government policy, and eventually fall victim to it’s liabilities, including corruption. There’s no longer even any argument, for example, about the principles involved with government dictating healthcare, and increasing taxes to cover it all. Rather than arguing the principles… the cause of the illness… they’re arguing over symptoms and the reax to them.

    And of course our current government wants us to be more like them. Ponder that. Just roll it around for a few minutes.

  5. Christopher says:

    Wow, Dave the Liberal invoking Jesus to emphasize his point! Too unreal.

    First of all, how is it you came to the conclusion that people blame republicans for the economic woes? Who ever said that, and where is the argument of why they would be to blame? Obama was elected because the economy happened to fall apart on the R’s watch, due to housing woes caused by government (government!) agencies. The same agencies liberals ran and fomented, and litigiously strengthened through “fair lending practices” that Rs were powerless (or too accommodating) to stop.

    Britain’s economy is in the dumps and its leaders in trouble because of the same socialistic policies Obama and libs are now instituting here. Where are the liberals on this site that will say they are in support of such policies? What specific plan is it that Obama and the liberals have (other than unprecedented spending-mostly pork barrel) that will some how pull us out of the economic morass? And if R’s were voted out of office because of excessive spending, how much more do you liberals now hate Obama for planning to add 4 TIMES THE DEBT than was added under Bush?

    Unfriggingreal.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    And of course our current government wants us to be more like them. Ponder that. Just roll it around for a few minutes.

    Well, looking at the actions of Republicans over the past 8 years, they seem to subscribe to a big government policy (they just don’t want to pay for it)…roll that around for a few minutes…

    First of all, how is it you came to the conclusion that people blame republicans for the economic woes?

    Umm…you answered your own question…

    …the economy happened to fall apart on the R’s watch…

    Finally,

    And if R’s were voted out of office because of excessive spending…

    …and an incompetent president, a botched occupation of Iraq, a disastrous response to Katrina, and a fistful of corrupt Congressmen (Delay, Ney, Cunningham, etc.)…

  7. G.A.Phillips says:

    I suspect that is more hope and change than you’ll actually be getting anytime soon…

    ya I know 🙁 but I’m used to barely making it, or not, I’m worried about the rest of you guys some of you are not ready to be poor.

  8. Eric Florack says:

    Well, looking at the actions of Republicans over the past 8 years, they seem to subscribe to a big government policy (they just don’t want to pay for it)…roll that around for a few minutes…

    Some do. Yet, these are not conservatives, but centrists. Liberal Lite, in other words.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well, looking at the actions of Republicans over the past 8 years, they seem to subscribe to a big government policy (they just don’t want to pay for it)…roll that around for a few minutes…

    An Buddy, this logic is not relative or constructive.We now must pay for more things then anything most could have dreamed of so quickly, and so costly it has never been done by a great measure in human history, we must, we no longer have a choice in the matter.

    Big government is anti American in so many ways, and should never be something to be used as a explanation or rational for creating titanic government in the land of freedom and prosperity.

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    ******…and an incompetent president, a botched occupation of Iraq, a disastrous response to Katrina, and a fistful of corrupt Congressmen (Delay, Ney, Cunningham, etc.)…******

    Mistakes are made in all wars and occupations, always have been and always will.

    And come on with the occupation nonsense, every other county in the history of the world would just stomp you to a pulp, take you over, and make you pay them.

    The reasons for Katrina was a hell of a lot more peoples fault then Bush’s who asked “let me know what need”.Hell I watched the news for five days before it hit as they told those people to run for their lives.

    A fistful lol, you need to check the democrat locker room.

    ect.

  11. An Interested Party says:

    An Buddy, this logic is not relative or constructive.

    I pointed that out because it is hardly an effective criticism to accuse the Dems of being the “big government” party when the GOP has practiced much of the same…

    Mistakes are made…

    That excuse didn’t work for Nixon and much like “stuff happens” I doubt it’ll work in this case either…

    And come on with the occupation nonsense…

    Nonsense? Whether anyone agrees with what we did in Iraq or not, what else is it other than an occupation? What would you call it, a visitation?

    The reasons for Katrina was a hell of a lot more peoples fault then Bush’s…

    Ahh, but he didn’t do himself any favors in how he responded and I’ll bet all those images from New Orleans did more to hurt him and the GOP than they helped…

    A fistful lol, you need to check the democrat locker room.

    No one can deny that the Dems can be just as corrupt as the GOP, but, so far, they haven’t been made to pay a political price for it…and, with the opposition in such a pathetic state, who knows when they will lose votes and seats because of it…

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    Nonsense? Whether anyone agrees with what we did in Iraq or not, what else is it other than an occupation? What would you call it, a visitation?

    It’s they contention in the way it’s used and why, like torture…
    I would call it regretful obligation but pronely not for the reasons you do…..

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    who knows when they will lose votes and seats because of it…

    Oh I’m willing to bet the 9 dollars I got left for the next two weeks on it being 2010, but it’s already to late to do much good……

  14. An Interested Party says:

    I would call it regretful obligation…

    Well, Colin Powell did say that if you break it, you own it…here’s a hint, maybe we should do less breaking…

    Oh I’m willing to bet the 9 dollars I got left for the next two weeks on it being 2010…

    Anybody else willing to take that bet…

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well, Colin Powell did say that if you break it, you own it…here’s a hint, maybe we should do less breaking…

    If only you could get our dictator, oops I mean our president to apply that logic to his agenda…….

  16. An Interested Party says:

    You should know that you are losing an argument (like liberals back in 2004) when you refer to the opposition president as a “dictator”…it didn’t work for them and it won’t work for you…at this point, probably the only thing that can defeat the president is himself…certainly it won’t be arguments that present him as a “dictator”…

  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    You should know that you are losing an argument (like liberals back in 2004) when you refer to the opposition president as a “dictator”…it didn’t work for them and it won’t work for you…at this point, probably the only thing that can defeat the president is himself…certainly it won’t be arguments that present him as a “dictator”.

    lol, I can’t lose the argument if I’m right only be it will only look that way. He is my president too, and ill make all the fun of him I want. But you are right sort of, the only way to beet the donkey’s is to dismantle
    their ideology of corruption one manure brick at a time, and the best way is too put each of said bricks out in the daylight.

    And An please forgive me being a wise ass punk it is the only viable communication skills I got from my liberal upbringing, but I’m trying to gain others:)

    But then again using the liberals main weapon against them is so much fun……..

  18. An Interested Party says:

    And An please forgive me being a wise ass punk it is the only viable communication skills I got from my liberal upbringing…

    So did that upbringing also teach you to be juvenile and incoherent?

    But then again using the liberals main weapon against them is so much fun…

    Well your effectiveness is questionable, as you often shoot blanks…