A Wave Of Political Disaster For Gordon Brown
A wave of political change has been sweeping across the continent of Europe. In country after country, the politics of liberal, high tax, big government have been falling like dominos. It started in Germany with the election of Angela Merkel. It visited France with the victory of Nicholas Sarkozy. It was in evidence in Italy with an historic rout of the Communists and the Greens in parliamentary elections. Then, it hit England last week when the Labor Party suffered its worst local election results in 40 years.
In fact, in contests for more than 4,000 local seats across England, Conservatives captured 44 percent of the vote, compared to 25 percent for the Liberal Democrats and just 24 percent for the Labor Party. The election result was so bad for Labor that Boris Johnson became the first Conservative Party member ever elected mayor of London. Overall, it was an election that Prime Minister, Gordon Brown admitted was “bad and disappointing”. Certainly, the prospects in the next general election for the Labor Party are now looking grim.
Meanwhile, a new BBC public opinion poll suggests even more trouble ahead for United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In the poll, Tory leader David Cameron is seen as more effective than Brown or Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Indeed, 68% said Conservative David Cameron was an asset to his party, compared with 43% for Clegg and just 42% for Gordon Brown. In fact, in the poll only 32% thought Brown could be trusted to run the country’s economy.
In general, the problem for the Labor Party and Gordon Brown include an ongoing perception by the public of government incompetence. The latest issue is the governments 10p tax controversy which in effect increased taxes on the nations poor while providing small tax relief to higher income individuals. The 10p tax issue was a crucial factor in Labor’s recent defeat at the polls. The truth is that the 10p tax controversy has acted to damage the Party’s core base of voter support. This is evident from a BBC voting analysis that indicates that Labor’s vote fell most heavily in its traditional voter strongholds.
Of course, the 10p tax controversy is only the latest in a series of government competence issues that have impacted the Labor Party since Gordon Brown took office after the resignation of Tony Blair last year. Consider that for months, government competence controversies have become front page news in the United Kingdom. In fact, scenes from the Northern Rock banking crisis even made world headlines. Thousands of people lining up to withdraw savings were reminiscent of the worst financial crises of the last century and Brown was criticized in the United Kingdom for making the Northern Rock banking situation even worse.
As Prime Minister, Brown changed the process for dealing with financial turmoil by involving the Bank Of England, the Financial Services authority, and the Treasury. In effect, the Northern Rock crisis became a United Kingdom government bailout. Since Brown’s first action as Prime Minister was to grant the Bank Of England independence, the bailout arrangement for Northern Rock demonstrated that the Bank Of England was not really independent at all.
Next, the Labor government disclosed that it somehow managed to lose financial data on 25 million people. Two disks that were not encrypted were put in the regular mail and disappeared. The lost data contained personal details about families with children, including names, dates of birth, addresses, bank account information, and insurance records.
All of this controversy was preceded by weeks of government preparation for the possibility of an early national election that Gordon Brown suddenly backed away from. The result was that Brown looked politically indecisive and lacked an election mandate.
The popularity of Labor is on the decline in the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is in political trouble. His Labor Government continues to make serious management mistakes and its competence has been called into question. Meanwhile a conservative wave of political change is already sweeping across the continent of Europe. In the next general election, it may well turn into a political wave of disaster for the Labor Party and United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown.