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Friday 1 May 2009

Rook to King Four?

During the course of defending the attempt by the deeply unpleasant James Goldsmith to put them out of business, the management at Private Eye brought in a new legal team. Their new lawyer examined the case, and concluded “We appear to be in check. But is it check mate?”

It’s a thought that the team of the medium term, prudent, steadfast defender of the colour Broon may have as they survey the damage from a bruising week. True, some of the more excitable observers of the Westminster Village got a little ahead of themselves, and the expenses votes yesterday afternoon were notable more for keeping MPs at Westminster after 1800 hours on a Thursday than much else, but the mood around Labour members right now is not good.

The judgment problem, as I considered earlier this week, remains. Also, the need to set out the stall for upcoming elections is becoming urgent, with the European polls as early as next month. Why should it be so difficult to show some vision?

The only opposition party showing any kind of nous is the Lib Dems: here, as I noted the other day, Nick Clegg has at last made himself heard. Moreover, his supporting cast has at its head the World’s Most Agreeable Politician (tm) Vince Cable, who can discuss economics with the confidence that comes from having been a real world economist.

The main opposition – the Tories – have done very little, except for routine shouting down of the Government and acts of blatant opportunism. They cannot, or will not, level with the electorate on their vision for the future: this should be no surprise to anyone who observed the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, where they turned the contest into “Yah boo Pa Broon”. That is, so far, all they can muster nationally: that is not good enough.

Brown and his team managed, by all accounts, rather well with the banking crisis and the G20. So it should not be beyond them to get a grip, get organised, point themselves towards the sound of gunfire, and face down the slippery Cameron and his fellow opportunists.

The alternative is to knock over the king and concede the game.

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