Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gordon Brown's Pyrrhic Victory

So 36 Labour MPs voted against Gordon Brown’s government on the 42 days detention. It’s a few more than most commentators were predicting this morning; in fact it’s a shade over 10% of all Labour MPs. Interestingly only one Scottish Labour MP voted with the rebels, Katy Clark from North Ayrshire, I wonder why? The PM only won because he secured the votes of the nine DUP members. Surely there’s something very wrong in a system of horse-trading that allows this to happen? As most reports are saying, Brown must have given them something very substantial.

Most reports are saying Gordon won and of course they’re technically correct but it’s a pyrrhic victory and one that will haunt him forever more. No matter how they try to spin it a sizable lump of Labour MPs defied their leader, the whips and the intensity of the parliamentary machine. How’s this going to play out in the coming weeks and months? Well it cannot play any other way than to continue to undermine the clunking fist – because clearly it doesn’t clunk quite enough.

Leadership skills, as I’ve said many times before, are something that Brown just does not have and what this underlines is just how much leadership is a state of mind. Brown will find it difficult to resolve their defiance as anything other than a personal slight upon him - upon his leadership. They’ll be no celebrating in No.10 tonight; it will just make a sad man even sadder. For the country this is not good.

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