Yesterday I took a look over the Guardian’s coverage of Gordon Brown’s diplomatic ministering to the world, and found it slightly wanting. So today, I felt inspired enough to venture further afield in my reading, taking in the varied delights of The Daily Mail and The Mirror over the course of the day.
First thing to catch my eye was Stephen Glover, making a remarkably tangled and bizarre argument why Brown shouldn’t call a snap election, based transparently in Tory self interest. How anyone could fail to spot it as a Tory attempt to goad Brown into calling an election is beyond me. Here is a choice selection of his thoughts:
On the one hand, we have a Brownite Labour Party whose true character is so far only dimly understood. Would it not be better for us to gain some sense of this unknown beast before being bounced into a General Election which Mr Brown would undoubtedly win for no better reason than that of novelty? Let him govern, let us see the colour of his money, before we are rushed into making a decision.
On the other hand, the Tory Party is imploding before our very eyes. Whether this is a temporary setback that will be put right, or whether the Tories are irredeemably hopeless, only time will tell. But just as I would argue that it is in the interests of this country for Labour to be tested before an election is called, so I would say that it is also in the public interest for the Tories to be given a chance to get their act together. A strong democracy should have a robust opposition that can challenge abuses of power. A Tory Party crushed and disoriented at an October election is not what we need.
I need hardly point out to anyone with a brain that the “lets see how they do before we have an election” principle is one which nobody would normally think of applying. One might just as well say (were the polls looking different):
We have a Cameronite Conservative Party whose true character is so far only dimly understood. Would it not be better for us to gain some sense of this unknown beast before being bounced into a General Election which Mr Cameron would undoubtedly win for no better reason than that of novelty? Let him govern, let us see the colour of his money, before we are rushed into making a decision.
Obviously, if you were to apply this idea to every election, then the result would be a Labour government in perpetuity (*shudder*). It is in the nature of elections that you only usually get to find out how a government does after it is elected.
Before I leave the Mail, I would also like to point out that they managed to write a whole front page article about the DNA database without mentioning the Lib Dems or their opposition to its alarming expansion, although at least Nick Clegg pops up in this article on their website.
Meanwhile the Mirror’s Kevin Maguire had managed to
be leaked ferret out this exclusive about a memo to Gordon Brown written by Philip Gould. The memo is gripping stuff, “sensational” if you speak tabloid, featuring as it does such revelatory opinions as:
The very difficult trick you have to pull off is to retain continuity while being emphatically an agent of change.
or indeed the scorching analysis that is:
This means that we need a bold election strategy designed to dramatically drive our vote up.
Funny, if I were Brown I would be tempted to go for a strategy to drive my vote into the ground…
Ultimately, Gould either doesn’t understand the mood for change in Britain, or this memo has been sanitised for the press. How else can you explain his assertion that:
This mood for change is not rational. It is an instinctive sense that eight or 12 years is long enough in power. This will be the key dynamic of the next election.
Meanwhile, general paranoia about the prospect of a snap election continued unabated by any actual *facts*. Take Iain Dale’s opinion, responding to Chris McLaughlin’s argument that the Labour party is in no state to fight an election:
I reckon this is a smokescreen, and that the argument about having no money is a spurious one. We all know that there are enough donors and trade unions out there who would bankroll an election if called upon. I’ve just done an interview with the Associated Press on this subject and as I was speaking I realised that I really couldn’t think of many arguments for Brown not to hold an autumn election.
Is there any aspect of reality that cannot be shrugged off by those determined to fuel this silly season drive for an election to write about?