By Dr. Abdul Ruff
Recently, at a concert put on at London’s Royal Opera House as part of his ‘ 60th birthday celebrations, Prince Charles said he wanted more children introduced to the arts. But UK premier Gordon Brown tries his art to stay on and continues to struggle to bring his limping Labour Party on to the rails. Recently in a way as to showcase emerging positive sings, Labour celebrated a surprise victory in the Glenrothes by-election in Scotland against SNP. In a result that seemed to take even party insiders by surprise, their candidate Lindsay Roy, a 59-year-old former head-teacher, coasted to victory with a huge majority. This was a remarkable result for Labour, against the odds, with a bigger majority than they dared to hope for. Just a few weeks ago it seemed likely Glenrothes would be the third safe seat Labour would lose under Brown’s leadership, with the poor performance sparking open calls for him to quit.
Up until the count began, the SNP were expressing confidence that they had achieved the 12.3% swing needed to overturn the 10,664 majority. The SNP bubble appears to have burst and this suggests that Labour’s recovery is gathering pace. It was then predicted that the SNP would capture the seat left vacant by the death of MP John McDougall but in end the result was not even close with Lindsay Roy winning by almost 7,000 votes. Roy said: “This is a triumph for the Labour Party in total. “It’s well recognized that we have had 10 years of unprecedented economic prosperity before the volatility in the markets and the voters recognize Gordon Brown is a man with Fife roots and he’s the man who has led us through some very difficult economic times.”
Labour’s terrible run prior to Glenrothes saw them thrashed in local elections and stripped of the London mayoralty, before losing a 7,000 majority at the hands of the Tories in Crewe and Nantwich in May. However, since then the Prime Minister has been boosted by his handling of the global financial crisis, slashing the Tories‘ poll lead and seemingly impressing voters in Glenrothes. The Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates both lost their £500 deposits having scored less than 5% of the vote. David Cameron said it was not a seat the Tories had hoped to win. It was a fight between Labour and the SNP – Gordon Brown threw everything at this seat and their majority still came down. The seat borders the PM’s Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath constituency, and Brown staked political capital by visiting it twice during the campaign – breaking the precedent that premiers stay away from by-elections. Brown’s wife Sarah was also deployed to help bring in support. A campaign fought by Labour was a scaremongering and negative campaign but was successful.
Gordon Brown has hailed Labour’s victory in the Glenrothes by-election as a vote of confidence for the Government’s response to the economic downturn. It is a huge personal boost for Gordon Brown – the party’s share of the vote was actually higher than in 2005. The Prime Minister said that people are prepared to support governments that will help people through the downturn and offer real help to people, adding, “They are less willing to support people who have no idea about how to solve the problems we have got.”
Conference in Manchester: Turning Point?
Gordon Brown, 57, has been facing mounting challenges to his premiership. Four rebel MPs left junior government jobs this month and 12 have called for a leadership contest. The prime minister was under pressure to reassert his authority over the party and bury talk of a leadership challenge. With a view to reassure his party of another new Labour Era, Brown delivered one of the most important speeches of his political career at the Labour Party conference in Manchester. The prime minister talked of his commitment to create a fairer society and that it was Labor’s “duty” to focus on the challenges facing the country and not the party’s internal disagreements. The theme running through the speech was fairness and he pledged to create “a Britain of fair chances for all and fair rules applied to all”. He repeated his plan to extend free nursery places for all two-year-olds over the next 10 years – and he pledged to enshrine in law Labour’s promise to end child poverty. His speech was seen to be crucial in reasserting his authority over Labour against a backdrop of calls from some backbenchers for him to step down.
Brown highlighted a £300m plan to offer free computers and internet access for more than a million children from low income families to boost their chances in the jobs market. And he said that in addition to free prescriptions for people with cancer, charges would also be waived for anyone suffering from a long-term illness. Brown also hailed Labour’s latest crackdowns on benefit cheats and crime. In a surprise move, Brown was introduced to delegates by wife Sarah. In a more personal conference address than normal, Brown said he had been “stung” by criticism of his decision to scrap the 10p tax rate and vowed he would never again be accused of not being on the side of “hard working families”. He also took a swipe at politicians who use their families to gain media coverage and launched an attack on the Conservatives, saying they could not be trusted to run the economy.
Gordon Brown‘s relatively successful Labor conference appears to have helped him in the polls after the conference, as Labour cut the Conservatives‘ lead by seven points. A poll carried out by ComRes for the Independent put the Tories down three points on August’s rating at 41 per cent. Labour has gained four per cent to 29 per cent, while the Liberal Democrats are up one point to 18 per cent. This represents a cut in the Tory lead from 19 to 12 points, reinforcing the perception that Brown received a bounce. In particular the prime minister’s jibe that the current economic crisis is global and “no time for a novice” appears to have resonated with voters.
Brown, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer under his predecessor Tony Blair, hopes his experience will tell over the 41-year-old Tory moderniser David Cameron who hopes to unseat him at the next general election. Brown has staked his claim to be the only man to steer Britain through tough economic times. Brown told delegates to loud applause that the Tories could not be trusted to run the economy and vowed Labour would not stop fighting for a “fair society”. He also pledged to scrap prescription charges for people in England with cancer from next year. The Labour Party has closed the gap on the main opposition Conservatives to single digits in the wake of its annual party conference, according to the latest poll released on Sept 26. Cameron has just a two-point lead when it comes to who is most competent to be prime minister, on 40 per cent compared to Brown’s 38 per cent. The ICM survey, to be published in The Guardian newspaper, put backing for Labour on 32 percent, a rise of three percentage points, while the Conservatives fell three points to 41 percent. The poll will make heartening reading for Labour supporters as previous surveys put the party as many as 20 points behind the Conservatives with a general election due no later than May 2010.
His comments were also seen as an attack on Tory leader David Cameron – but it was also seen by some pundits as a coded warning to would-be supporters of David Miliband, who has been at the centre of leadership bid speculation. After the speech an opinion was gathered that Gordon Brown is the right man for these times and that we can win the next election,” he said. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Brown’s was an “excellent speech”. But shadow chancellor George Osborne -who was singled out for criticism in the speech – said Brown had retreated to the left “to save his job”.
Duly encouraged by a recent victory in a by-poll for his Labour party, Gordon Brown is up for new image of himself and Labour, and pushed ahead a reform package to provide sops for the people to consider the labour in the next general election. The PM is expected to push for action on five fronts: co-operative monetary and fiscal policy; reform of the international financial system; use of IMF funds to shore up struggling economies and prevent “contagion”; recapitalization of banks to revive lending; and progress on a world trade deal.
The ongoing financial crisis contributed to the misfortunes of an already weakened Brown and much shattered Labour party. Gordon Brown has given the strongest hint yet that tax cuts could be used to kick-start the economy. He says determined to get all countries around the world trying to get their economies moving again and one way you can do that is by putting more money into the economy by tax cuts or by public spending rises. Brown gave a high-profile speech in the City of London to say that Britain, the US and Europe should join together to provide leadership in the creation of a “stronger and more just international order”.
While US present Bush upholds capitalist economic system, Brown hits out at ‘unbridled’ capitalism. Brown said developments around the world were raising “quite fundamental questions” about the relationship between the government and the markets. “The first financial crisis of the global age has now laid bare the weaknesses of unbridled free markets,” he added. Prime Minister Gordon Brown established a National Economic Council to coordinate economic policies across government and help people cope with the fallout from the financial crisis. “Britain is facing a period of immense economic challenges,” Brown’s office said in a statement. The National Economic Council will work to help people and businesses to deal with the current economic uncertainties. The council, chaired by Brown with finance minister Alistair Darling as his deputy, will meet often and take advice from experts on issues ranging from financial markets, global commodity prices, sustainable energy and barriers to business.
The government also established a regional economic council and appointed a network of British business leaders to support the government overseas. While maintaining that he was pro-business, the Prime Minister said certain “key ethics” were essential for a stronger economy. Brown said financial systems must reflect the values of “fairness, stewardship and co-operation” cherished by families and communities. “I admire the market’s ability to release the dynamism and enterprise of people and so this new Labour Government is pro-business and pro-markets and always will be,” he said, “But I also know that we do not live by markets alone. I have long understood that markets rely on values that they cannot generate themselves. Values as important as treating people fairly, acting responsibly, co-operating for the benefit of all.”
The British premier wants to create close bonds with European nations and USA. Speaking at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels, the British prime minister said that there needed to be international co-ordination in response to the world’s economic crisis. And reform of the banking system would be based on the principles of “transparency, integrity, responsibility, sound banking and global cooperation”. The informal EU summit on 06 Nov was called by President Bush to discuss the global financial crisis. The informal EU summit was called by President Bush to discuss the global financial crisis. The PM pushed for action on five fronts: co-operative monetary and fiscal policy; reform of the international financial system; use of IMF funds to shore up struggling economies and prevent “contagion”; recapitalisation of banks to revive lending; and progress on a world trade deal.
Brown wanted the emergency summit of world leaders in Washington in November to reach consensus on a new framework for the international financial system, featuring a reformed IMF which will act as a global early-warning system for financial problems. He said the meeting is a “decisive moment for the world economy” Brown added that he would be putting a number of proposals forward to world leaders regarding monetary and fiscal policy. Brown says European leaders have agreed a series of measures aimed at easing the global financial crisis – and preventing future collapses. The British prime minister speaking at a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels said that reform of the banking system would be based on the principles of “transparency, integrity, responsibility, sound banking and global cooperation”.
The Prime Minister said the alliance between Britain and the US – and more broadly between Europe and the US – can and must provide leadership, not in order to make the rules ourselves, but to lead the global effort to build a stronger and more just international order. He promised to work with US President-elect Barack Obama to build a new global society in which the markets are subjected to morality and ordinary people’s interests are put first. In his annual foreign policy speech to the Lord Mayor of London’s Guildhall banquet, Brown would say that the transatlantic relationship between Britain and Europe and the USA can be the driving force behind the creation of a new international order. The transatlantic relationship has been the engine of effective multilateralism for the past 50 years. As America stands at its own dawn of hope, so let that hope be fulfilled through a pact with the wider world to lead and shape the 21st century as the century of a truly global society. He believes the whole of Europe can work closely with America to meet the great challenges which will test our resolution and illuminate our convictions.
The Prime Minister said there needed to be international co-ordination in response to the world’s economic crisis. The Pre-Budget report is due in the coming weeks and Brown’s comments have raised speculation that Chancellor Alistair Darling will include tax cuts to ensure families have more cash in their pockets – and therefore more to spend. The Prime Minister’s remarks came as hostilities broke out between the Government and the Conservatives over the financial crisis. David Cameron’s Conservatives sought to lay the blame for the looming economic recession at the door of Brown. The Tory leader effectively ended what remained of the tentative political truce on the issue, arguing that the current financial crisis had exposed Brown’s policies as “a complete and utter failure”.
Opinion poll boost
Brown is quoted saying: “As you go into recession, you have got a choice: either you stand back, do nothing, let unemployment rise and let that unemployment benefit be spent, or in advance use that money to get companies to take on workers.” Earlier, Gordon’s handling of the financial crisis has failed to improve Labour‘s prospects at the next general election People seem unwilling to change their voting intentions despite a majority of respondents expressing admiration for Brown’s actions, which included mounting the first extensive bank bailout plan of any major economy. The Conservatives have repeatedly led Labour in the polls for weeks, with a general election due to take place by 2010. On Oct 18 an ICM survey report suggested that Brown could not boost the image of his party about his steps for anti-financial crisis. While most believe the Prime Minister has handled the situation well, only 13 per cent said they were more likely to vote Labour as a result.
However, Gordon Brown’s handling of the economic downturn provided a boost to his Labour Party‘s fortunes with a latest opinion poll putting him only six points behind the opposition Conservatives. The Populus poll for The Times put Labour at 35 percent, up 5 points from the previous month, while David Cameron’s Conservatives were down 4 points at 41 percent and the Liberal Democrats up one point at 16 percent. It also showed that 52 percent of those polled felt Brown was best equipped to deal with an economy heading toward recession compared with 32 percent for Cameron. However, 42 percent of respondents felt Cameron was still the best man to lead Britain after the next general election — which must be called by 2010 — with Brown on 35 percent.
Post-script: Luck Smiles?
Although the by-poll margin was down a third on that achieved at the 2005 general election, the win would be personal boost for Brown and expand his influence over the party and government. A party that has lost almost every hope gradually has found positive relief in the recent by-poll verdict. Only two months ago, Brown’s leadership was being openly questioned by members of his own party as Labour lost a string of by-elections and polls showed Cameron heading for a landslide general election victory. This in deed sounded very awkward for the Labour.
The poll boost follows a surprising victory for Labour a by-election in Glenrothes in Scotland and comes amid increasing speculation that Brown and finance minister Alistair Darling are preparing a tax cut and spending package to stimulate the economy. But his handling of the global financial crisis as well as the Manchester Conference, Brown has lifted his standing within his party, and with voters, despite economists’ warnings that Britain is on the brink of recession. Of course, David Cameron’s Conservatives would present his own package of measures which are expected to focus on helping small business retain employees by diverting cash from the benefits system.
UK, a close ally of USA and a reliable partner of terror agencies, including India, global terror wars, is of late is seen developing a sort of an independent course of polices, but only time will tell if they are real or just tactical diversion. Tony Blair lost his chair on 10 Downing Street for reasons like corruption and participation in terror wars.His Labour party which Gordon Brown has inherited is trying to overcome the harsh turbulent days. Brown may have now won international praise for taking the lead in the financial crisis, but his performance has yet to make any wave to improve his prospects at home. But someone said sit very aptly: Brown had “put clear red water between Labour and the Conservatives” and had put the Tories “back in their box”. Is that enough? The measure Brown would embark upon from now on would decide the fate of his future and the Labour Party.