UK General Election 2010 │ Labour’s turmoil

25 April 2010

After the second ‘prime ministerial’ debate last week, which according to most polls and reports ended in a draw between Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg, with Mr Brown trailing somewhat, Labour seems to be in a huge panic. If media reports are correct, then some senior Labour politicians have started to position themselves for a place in the post-election, post-Brown party. The electorate will take a dim view of a divided party itching to ditch its leader before the votes are counted. It shows that the party has lost the will to go on, and if it cannot even pretend to have a nerve, why should anyone trust it?

The TV debates have dealt a blow for Labour. Mr Brown is not telegenic, and he cannot answer questions directly or succinctly. He may well have all the figures and the correct analyses, but he cannot communicate them. He has been very unpopular, and most people have made their minds about Mr Brown. In many cases, TV viewers only look for the confirmation of opinions they already hold. The more prominence given to the TV debate, the more it hurts the Labour party, since Mr Brown has been more unpopular than the party he leads. The focus on the leaders has led to a closer identification between the personality and the party, and this probably has hurt Labour more than anyone else.

There is yet time for Labour to recover, or something really bad happens for the Tories or the Liberal Democrats. But as each day passes, such a prospect looks unlikelier. More pressure will be added on to Mr Brown and Labour. If the party cracks, then it could really result in a terrible, terrible night for Labour come 6 May.