Not until after the General Election, then: the latest attempt to unseat Pa Broon appears to have failed to achieve lift off. Some of the statements of support were clearly lukewarm, and one or two missing, but the result is that Brown soldiers on, and “Buff” Hoon is likely to find that, within the Palace of Westminster, he has garnered all the popularity of a turd in a swimming pool.
But, barring a spectacular reversal in popularity, defeat at that election looks certain – unless a number of things happen to turn events to Labour’s advantage. Brown continuing to get the better of Young Dave at PMQs is a minor part of that: more significant would be the ability of Team Brown to expose and rubbish Tory manifesto pledges, and exploit any lack of consistency in their approach – something that Big Al has been banging on about for some time, and he’s back on board.
What could also ride to Labour’s rescue is the economy: if recovery from recession is confirmed for the last quarter of 2009, then swing voters may decide to stick with the devil they know, just as “Basildon Man” did in 1992. Of course, were there a General Election sooner rather than later, there would be little chance of any economic upturn saving Labour – hence Cameron wanting a poll right now.
And finally: the outcome of the General Election is not just about Labour turning events in their favour, but the Tories keeping out of trouble. The forthcoming campaign, with two former red-top journos in the background, is going to be as dirty as any in the past. If anyone has a skeleton in their cupboard, they should leave the stage right now.