The hot topic of the weekend is whether anyone in the Labour Party will take a crack at the Labour leadership. People are tending to look at the problem in a one-dimensional way – from the viewpoint that Labour’s support is collapsing, and Labour MPs are likely to want to save their seats with a new leader. But other factors from other more lateral sources are just as likely to affect the outcome of the Labour Party’s future.
The Sunday Irish Times has run a leader, for example pointing out how crucial the British Conservatives are in the story. I wrote this blog entry on Political Betting, which I’ve cut and pasted below, which gives the background. David Cameron and William Hague are promising to freeze Britain’s Lisbon ratification, and hold a referendum, if they win power before Lisbon is enforced.
This is putting enormous pressure on the EU to accelerate the Irish ratification any way they can. It is in turn also putting them under pressure to keep Gordon Brown at the helm of the Labour Party as long as they can, at least until Lisbon is secure.
Didn’t you know that the Irish Times reads my blog, Brian SJ? Neither did I.
Cameron’s promise puts time pressure on the Lisbon Treaty. The EU has to get it in the bag before Cameron has a chance to carry out his promise. If the Irish won’t vote for the Treaty in a referendum, it seems highly likely that the EU will push through an Irish Parliamentary ratification, without any more referenda, or at least ignoring their results.
While they are planning how they will close the door on any possible Cameron effect, they will keep Gordon Brown in place if they possibly can, to ensure Lisbon is not threatened by a sudden breakthrough in the Labour Party of the Bennites or Gisela Stuart, Graham Stringer, Frank Field, Kate Hoey etc. As far as the EU is concerned, an EU bird in the hand looks a lot safer than a couple in the bush.
If for example any of the above apart from the Bennites were to seize the Labour leadership, the Party’s fortunes in the polls would improve dramatically, and Cameron’s easy win with a majority of 160 and rising would not be quite so certain. This develpment must surely be attractive to Labour MPs.
The interests of the EU are in direct conflict with these interests and maybe also the beliefs of Labour MPs. These are the forces building in the background around the Brown premiership. The question is – will the Labour Party be sacrificed to save the Lisbon Treaty, or will Labour MPs decide in preference to save their own skins?
One thing is sure. If Labour MPs allow the EU to decide their future for them, as they did when they acceded to the Brown takeover, they will be as rare as rocking horse shit come 2010. It comes down to a decision of their part to take control of their own futures, and the future of Britain as regards the Lisbon Treaty, not to mention the future of Europe.
Iain Dale uncharacteristically has run a post on this today. See HERE.
UPDATE – Also from Iain Dale’s blog, John Prescott is to the fore defending Gordon Brown’s premiership, even going so far as to write a blog post on Labour Home.
And Richard North on Eureferendum reports rapidly growing anti-Lisbon sentiment in Ireland HERE.