"PLEASE STOP!" We Scream, He Continues Unabated

Early on Friday morning in Glasgow East, the worst fears of those sympathetic to the cause of the Labour party bore out. Despite the best intentions of the party machine to present it as a protest vote or a polite warning that the electorate is unhappy; it was simply one of the worst defeats in Labour's history. Granted it only lost by 365 votes, but this is compared with the nearly 8,000 vote majority it held the seat with at the last election. Glasgow East was Labour heartland, the 3rd safest seat in Scotland and the 26th safest seat in the country, yet it managed to lose 19% of the people who voted for it in 2005.

Gordon Brown said after that he is going to get on with running the country and that he believes that that is what the people want him to do. With that sentence you could be forgiven for thinking that you are reading an article from early May about the local elections, mid-May about the Crewe & Nantwich by-election or late June about the Henley by-election. The third successive by-election loss in as many months, the fourth set of bad results for Labour in three months; and Brown still has not changed his message.

Liberals and those on the left have asked, begged and finally demanded that Brown return their party to them. He has not, last week saw Blairtie James Purnell introduce welfare reforms that effectively makes the unemployed work for £1.50 per hour and outsources efforts to get people back into work to private companies. He also allowed, some would say encouraged, the press to report the reforms as "cutting off scroungers" rather than helping those with difficulty getting a job to enhance their employment prospects. Far from being the antidote to Blair's New Labour, Brown has ensured its continuation.

Polly Toynbee says that the Labour party has gone into cardiac arrest, the tragedy is that it has been in a comatose for months now; and it is beginning to seem like the plug will be pulled before it awakes. Unfortunately, the people who pull the plug are likely to be members of the party itself, whether it be deluded Blairites like John Hutton, who yesterday claimed that Labour must not change direction but instead maintain its course, or loyal backbenchers and supporters who have stood by their party despite its contemptible ineptness. Unless Gordon Brown stops them, Blairites will continue with their manifesto of authoritarian conservatism. This will end with a miserable defeat for Labour at the next general election or with what remains of Labour's support network completely abandoning the party.

I have previously used the analogy of a a ship adrift in the ocean with its captain acknowledging that it is lost but refusing to change course to describe the failings of Gordon Brown. Well to extend the analogy, Labour hit an iceberg with Glasgow East, and if it does not head for shore to make repairs pretty soon it is likely to sink; and this time it will be unsalvageable.

Different schools of thought from within and without the party try to pull it in different directions. If they are unable to reach agreement, they may just end up as vultures fighting for the remaining flesh on a dead carcass. I have said it many times, but for the sake of social liberalism I will continue to repeat it until the time that either my call is headed or that Labour is no more; to survive Labour must change direction. There is only one logical destination on its current path and that is annihilation.

I am no longer a Labour supporter and I have not been since 42-day detention was introduced, however, I crave for Labour to jettison New Labour and turn to the left so I can return. As much as my trust in the party has been destroyed, I still love Labour; and so do others. Should someone actually have the balls to take the reigns from Brown and move left, there will be thousands of people like me waiting to support it.

If this does not happen, I do wonder, and I believe that for the moment I am alone in thinking this, whether the conclusion of this sorry sequence of events will be a part of the Labour party actually splitting off to form a new party. For the moment Labour has yet still some chance of recovering from its current woes. However, no party has ever came back from the dismal position that Labour currently finds itself in, and I fear that the vultures are already circling.

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