And I’m not talking about Strachan.
First, an introduction. I’m a political scientist specializing in voting behavior, electoral systems, turnout, and methodology. While American, I’ve worked at two European universities in the past 8+ years, so my contributions will necessarily be comparative in nature. I’ve also been a Seattle Mariners fan since 1977. One of the few benefits (aside from seeing a lot of baseball in the Kingdome) is being well conditioned to losing, a character strength that aids in my equally consistent support for the Democratic Party and progressive politics.
While I aspire to draw comparative links between politics on both sides of the Atlantic, I also aspire to greatness. The latter hasn’t exactly played out as planned, so I offer no guarantees on the former. Over the next few days, I’ll comment on British politics. Of course, intra-party regicide doesn’t have a patch on the Sotomayor nomination, it does make for good, wholesome, family fun.
The Guardian yesterday called for Gordon Brown to step aside as party leader. I agree. When you lose support of The Guardian, and you’re haemorrhaging cabinet ministers (and volunteers for promotion into the cabinet appear to be in short supply), you’re toast. He’s lost the plot (assuming he ever had one). While Labor would seem to be my natural political home on this island, and I could tolerate Tony Blair’s kinder, gentler brand of Thatcherism out of political expediency, Brown should have represented, at least, a modest step back towards the progressive inclinations of old Labor. He hasn’t. If anything, he’s drifted further to the right than Blair, while simultaneously lacking the charismatic, witty, foppish charm of the former PM (read: electability). As it stands, if I were able to vote in the 2010 election (an outside possibility), I would struggle to support Labor.
Ideology aside, a Labor government is preferable to that offered by the Tories. Of course, nobody can divine what David Cameron’s Conservatives stand for, least of all Cameron himself, smart money places the Tories to the right of the present right-of-center government. Current polls predict Labor getting hammered in the next general election (to be held no later than June 2010). Both Ipsos/MORI and Populous/Times estimate support for Labor at 18%, with the Tories at 40% or 41%. While this puts the latter just within the margin of error of the Thatcher-Major years, it estimates Labor support 10 full points below their electoral disaster in 1983 (when the party manifesto was only semi jokingly called the “longest suicide note in history”). Labor 1983 made Mondale 1984 look like electoral genius. Labor 2010 under Brown would recast 1983 as an electoral golden age. Of course, uncertainty is introduced in dropping Brown, and calling an election sooner than June 2010 would be a political necessity. However, there is no uncertainty about the party’s chances if they retain Brown.