Tuesday 27 May 2008

Hillary ready to concede?

According to two separate sources, Hillary Clinton is currently preparing her concession speech.

Hopelessly behind Barack Obama following a series of disappointing results in a campaign which was supposedly due to conclude in her favour back in February, Ms Rodham/Clinton has remained in the contest in the hope of persuading a majority of the unelected (and unaccountable) superdelegates over to her cause at the Democrat convention in Denver.

However accusations from several senior Democrats that her continuation in a lost contest is causing only further division in an already fraught contest, jeopardising the party’s chances at the Presidential race in November, have not helped her cause. It also seems that her gaffe last week, in which she suggested that a reason fro her to remain in the contest was in case of Obama’s assassination, appears to have proved the final nail in her campaign coffin.

It now appears that Hillary will return to New York to prepare for a run either in 2016 (if Obama wins the Presidency), or 2012 (if he is unsuccessful).

More details to follow.

Friday 23 May 2008

A leadership challenge to Brown?

News just in – following Labour’s dismal collapse in the Crewe and Natwich by-election, Graham Stringer MP has called for a leadership challenge to Gordon Brown to prevent a "disastrous" election in 2010.

"Is it more damaging for the party to change the leader or cross our fingers and hope that things get better?" the Manchester MP told BBC Online.

Alan Simpson MP has also weighed in, warning Brown that he has until the end of the year to turn things around, or face deposition.

This development follows soundings from within Westminster that either Charles Clarke or Alan Milburn, both uber-Blairites with Cabinet experience, could make a stalking horse challenge to encourage a more heavyweight challenger such as David Miliband, Alan Johnson or even Brown’s first lieutenant Ed Balls, to enter the fray.

This blogger has consistently held that Brown would be safe, at least until the next election, on the basis that seventy MPs would need to sign a motion calling for a challenge – a considerable hurdle deliberately placed to reduce damaging contests – and the fact that Labour would look ridiculous deposing its leader less than a year after unanimously electing him.

However, with tumbling polls and this latest humiliating by-election defeat, it’s no wonder that Labour MPs with less than secure majorities are beginning to get tetchy.

This could get messy…

Friday 16 May 2008

Fixed term Parliaments due to fail at Second Reading

You’ve just got to love them, don’t you? Possibly taking advantage of Gordon Brown’s willingness to return many of the executive powers so freely exercised by his predecessor, the Liberal Democrats have tabled a Bill to remove the sitting Prime Minister’s right to call an election at any point within his term, and replacing this with fixed four-year term Parliaments.

Strange that the Dim Lebs of all people should have decided they oppose the current system – if Brown had stuck to his guns and called the election last Autumn, it would have most likely spelt electoral meltdown for the Yellow Streak, led by the hopelessly ineffectual and charisma-free Menzies Campbell. Now with the more voter friendly (though as yet, barely more effective) Nick Clegg at the helm, Britain’s fourth party may at least plug the gaps and live to fight another election.

The Conservative Party have not altogether ruled out looking at fixed-term elections in the future, but have highlighted that early elections are at times appropriate. For example, “in the case of a prime minister who says he's going to serve a full third term and then doesn't I think it's appropriate to hold an election, because the people voted for one thing and then got something completely different" suggested Teresa May.

Yet the current system is “unfair and inefficient” said the party’s Justice spokesman, David Howarth. Unfair possibly, since this clearly gives the Government party the opportunity to assess the electoral winds for the most favourable time, but inefficient? The UK has not proportionally had any greater or fewer elections than any other democratic state in the EU since the Second World War, save the dual-election year of 1976 – and given the strikes and civil strife taking place that year, this was surely such an example of where a renewed mandate was necessary.

The likelihood of this Bill to pass to Third Reading is pretty remote in any case, but you would think that a party with aspirations of Government would have higher priorities at this time.