Anthony Barnett is always shrewd on the state of British politics. Yesterday, in the heat of Labour’s electoral disaster, he wrote a succinct account at Our Kingdom of why Brown can’t win the next election which I suspect will hold up to scrutiny over time. The point about New Labour’s orientation towards the US rather than the EU is particularly telling.
Here’s an extract:
Brown can’t win because the moment of genuine popularity of his first three months of office, when he appeared to be different from Blair, is long gone. That positioning has been shot to pieces not least by himself. From now on he has to fight on his record of continuity. But already the voters have given this the two-fingers. Their verdict could only be reversed by a brilliant economic revival. This seems inconceivable. The heart of New Labour’s strategy was the embrace of globalisation as the deliverer of wealth plus Gordon’s supposedly robust and prudent management of the economy leading to unrivalled stability as well as growth. Today the UK faces the prospect of an economic downturn, a collapse of the housing market and the inflation of staple commodities. This is the harvest of backing the US model over that of the EU, which Brown orchestrated. At the same time the explosion of the super-wealthy, which is one consequence of this strategy, has fatally undermined Labour’s claim to be the party of fairness that is central to its appeal. Brown is doomed.