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Tuesday 9 June 2009

The Morning After

Today is very much like yesterday: the world is still in more or less the same order, the laws of physics still apply, and Pa Broon is still resident in 10 Downing Street – despite all the speculation following local and European election results.

I said previously that things might be different if the Euro-elections delivered a real stinker for Labour. Well, they did, but clearly the stinker wasn’t big enough for a change of leadership. After all, there was speculation that the party could trail in fourth – but it didn’t. Yes, third was bad, but Labour kept in front of the Lib Dems, and at a future General Election, with a proper campaign, UKIP would not be able to stay with the major parties. Heck, the best they could do in Crewe and Nantwich last year was the occasional hire of a Routemaster bus, and a car with a megaphone on the roof. And they polled less than a thousand votes.

And thus the problem with the Euro-elections: where was the campaign? Apart from the usual “Election Communication” from the main parties, there was no visibility at all anywhere in the area – except, as I observed, UKIP posters. These mined the usual dog whistle subjects: claims of the cost of the EU, and the inference that the country is the subject of “unlimited immigration”. For an entity over which they expend an awful lot of hot air, mainstream politicians devote very little campaigning resource to the EU.

And that brings us back to the Tories. They too did little campaigning for the Euro-elections, but polled well – although short of 30% of the vote. What they intend to do with our EU membership, as discussed previously, is not clear. What they would do if victorious in the next General Election is similarly vague. And here is an opportunity that a supposedly united Labour Party should be seizing.

Tomorrow at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), David Cameron will stand up and denounce Pa Broon, telling everyone that he’s jolly angry (again) and that we should have an immediate General Election (again) so that he and his fellow jolly good chaps can run the country (again). On policy, as ever, there will be no word, and with good reason: the Tories don’t have any worth mentioning, at least not that they’re about to tell us just yet. If Labour really do have some fight left in them, then they might just put up a robust defence of their record, expose Brand Cameron for the empty sham it is, and challenge Young Dave to tell the electorate where the beef is.

That might happen. But then again, it might not.

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