Does The Guardian supporting Labour depend on it’s leader?

Polly Toynbee really doesn’t like Gordon Brown and increasingly she is annoyed with the Labour Party; the ‘death-wish brigade’;

 In five months David Cameron will be prime minister and Gordon Brown will be toast. Remember him? The man who crashed his party. Remember them? The death-wish brigade that let him do it.

However, the commentary on the polls is a little counterintuitive. They are not spectacularly brilliant but they are stabilising around the 30% mark as the latest YouGov poll confirms. Having lost faith in the Parliamentary Labour Party to do anything Toynbee now tasks the unions with the changing of the guard;

 it’s time union leaders asked themselves if it’s in their members’ interests to see Labour crash out under Brown

However, the shift in the polls no longer makes the ‘self-interest’ argument as convincing. Indeed, the reverse could now apply with a change of leader sending the signal that the party is decrepit and divided. When the polls were down and Cabinet Ministers were resigning by the hour; then was the moment for Labour to change leader and signal a fresh start that way. Just possibly (not certainly) that new leader may have been given a few months grace before demand for a General Election became overwhelming, however, now if the leader is changed now it will, not unjustifiably, trigger immediate calls for a General Election and resentment at its denial.

It is therefore unclear who has the most explicit death-wish; Toynbee or Labour. However, Toynbee’s continued onslaught on Brown does seem to reflect a tension within the editorial towers of the Guardian between recognising the problems have and being interested in the ideas of David Cameron and the fact that significant sections of its readership who hold tight to an ingrained tribal loathing for the Conservative Party. Is it possible that if Brown were to be usurped this dilemma would be solved and The Guardian could more unequivocally support Labour?

Maybe, Martin Kettle describes what would be The Guardian’s dream come true when he argues that a ‘Grand Coalition’ of Labour and the Conservatives is improbable ‘only when you think about it’.  If something is improbable when thought about that should say alot; since there is no major extenuating circumstances I would rate the chances of such a occurence as close to 0%.

Such an outcome would not only rely on the right post-election make-up of Westminster but for the evolution of both parties to proceed in a totally counter-intuitive direction. Labour would have to remain essentially Blairite and the Conservative PPC’s, now become MP’s, would have to have a political DNA transplant. 

 At some stage in 2010 The Guardian will have to solve its dilemma; how it does will be fascinating.


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About darrellgoodliffe


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