HOW REAL IS THE BROWN BOUNCE?
Gordon Brown’s much trumpeted poll lead of 10% is hype. Many analysts see it as nearer 3%, and within that, Brown is facing a number of threats not least a potential rebellion from within his own party over the EUSR Constitution. His Scottish power base too without which Labour has no majority at Westminster is looking vulnerable with SNP support at an all time high. That’s before you look at the potential effect of the BNP which is opening up in 500 Constituencies this year, and who took around 10% from labour at Sedgefield.
The Americans see Brown as full-on pro-European, and are happy for Murdoch to be running a big push in his media empire in the UK for a referendum on the EUSR Constition. There is no way that Brown will be hunting an early general election. Until he has resolved many of these issues, let alone Iraq, he is decidedly vulnerable.
The talk of elections, and the pumping out of frothy polling is partly the media running the Brown Bounce narrative, but Brown too finds it concenient to exaggerate the strength of his postion as it keeps dissent down within his own party, works up the media and keeps Conservatives on the back foot to some extent. But Cameron has weathered the worst of these early Brown weeks, and the options for him are suddenly starting to expand, and this week Cameron took a calculated risk by pushing Redwood out into the media.
Redwood is doing well. His release onto the airwaves has startled Labour’s media strategists, who imagined that after the drubbing handed out to all previous policies that smacked of euroscepticism, Cameron would have kept Redwood’s intelligent policy proposals hidden away from view. Redwood will expose many of Gordon Brown’s week areas such as Pensions, Regulation and lack of infrastructural investment…in fact Brown’s significant lack of funds after increasing government spending from £375 billion in 2001 to £555 billion a year now.
INSIDE THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
If Cameron’s doing reasonably well or as well as could be expected at this stage, and Brown’s position is far weaker than it first appears, it is Cameron’s position within his own Party which is still somewhat mysterious.
Ken Clarke holds no surpises and is totally disloyal to Cameron on all European issues. He is an embarrassment and occasionally a real drag, but overall people know what he is all about, find it a bit curious, but don’t see him as a major threat to Cameron.
The person who seems to be Cameron’s right hand man, fighting the main battle against the EUSR Constitution is Hague. Hague is a puzzle as he always sounds full-on eurosceptic, but a bit like with Brown’s bounce in the polls, those who examine the detail of what he is saying find him less than convincing.
IS HAGUE TOO VAGUE?
He either doesn’t know what is contained in the Constitution, or he is deliberately acting out a role of non-comprehension. See www.eureferendum.blogspot.co.uk – extract –
‘This might even be William Hague’s problem. His presentation on the treaty in “plain English” is now up on the Conservative website in which he refers to the proposed permanent president chairing the “Council of Ministers”, rather than the European Council. One wonders if, like so many, he does not understand the difference.’
In addition, as explained by Richard North on the EU Referendum site, Hague is pairing up with the europhile Timothy Kirkhope MEP, leader of the Conservative delegation to the EU parliament to resurrect an alternative Treaty, which stands no chance in practice at all of getting through and past the other EU countries. quote from eu referendum –
‘Hague’s view is that a treaty that handed powers back to member states and made the EU more accountable and democratic would offer “a tremendous opportunity to tackle some of the real problems the EU currently faces”.
The trouble is that, although presented as something new, this is simply a rehash of something which Kirkhope produced in 2005 and is about as relevant now as it was then. .’
If Cameron’s euroscepticism is genuine and it seems that it is much stronger than it was expected to be, is Cameron well or badly served by William Hague? Hague messed or compromised on the EPP withdrawal. He has a long history of sounding eurosceptic with his rhetoric, while the details of his proposals and his actions are usually far more sympthetic to the obliteration of the nation-states. Hague is probably the same Bildeberger as he was in 2001 when he promised to ‘keep the £ for one Parliament’ i.e. get rid of it.
Cameron like Thatcher is surrounded at the top of the Party, it seems by a bunch of europhiles who could cause him great difficulty if he tries to put up a real fight against the EUSR Constitution. This is one reason why Cameron’s leadership has not been clear cut as to what it is really about. If Hague was not such a ‘wet’, or if Cameron were to broaden his support base within the Party, it might help Cameron take up a stronger stance.