"There was something of stolid resignation about them all, as if they walked half in another world between lines of nameless guards to a certain and familiar doom."
Thus H.P. Lovecraft on the Gardner family in "The Colour Out Of Space" - but not a bad description for the Parliamentary Labour Party either. How long ago it seems that they were itching to get rid of Tony Blair - yet it was less than two years ago that he bowed out with yet another magnificent conference speech.
I was listening to the 9 am R5 phone-in yesterday morning, when they asked the question 'What's your message for Gordon Brown ?'. By 9.45 they were pleading for a GB supporter to ring in, having had nothing but negative comments. The first GB supporter turned up at 10.15 - and even he wasn't exactly ecstatic.
Not that they were by any means Cameronians. I heard "he'll probably be just as bad" more than once. It's the old disconnection, alienation, decoupling - call it what you will, but I've been going on about it since 2003. British culture has been hollowed out, tribal loyalties are fast vanishing, and interesting times will soon be upon us.
The scales seem to have fallen from Poll Pot's eyes :
" ... it was an autopilot compilation of the dullest parts of every speech he has made, mantra after clunking mantra, pacing up and down to the same old tropes. With oil and food prices rising by the day, his party in ruins, his future in jeopardy and the country about to fall to the Tories, out came the same old figures: a hundred new airports in China, a million new cars in India, globalisation, environmental technology, the manufacture of iPods. In time of economic meltdown, his boast that world-beating "Britain can be the best in the global economy" sounds not aspirational but delusional."
I can't help feeling she's being a little inconsistent. Our claims to global excellence have been a pile of nagombi for 20 years, and as for the same old figures - well how does Polly open ?
Unemployed claimants have been halved; hundreds more have left incapacity benefit to take jobs; of 11 new schools, five are rated "excellent"; apprenticeships have soared, and tax credits make a vast difference to people's lives.In other words Polly's same-old same-old, rather than Gordon's. As usual, the comments are where the real meat is. But she sees the PLP as everyone else does :
"never underestimate the weak will to live of this limp party. Spinelessness vies with nihilistic despair, mindless managerialism competes with fear of a total implosion. Jousting for position, none may want to follow another's lead ... so, agonising and indecisive, the party may stagger on for 22 months to its inevitable perdition"I'm reminded a little of the decision the Tories had to take on May 10 1940. Chamberlain was already mortally wounded by the Norway debate (in more ways than one - he died of cancer within a year - my mother said that he died of a broken heart. I've often wondered if my mother developing terminal cancer within six months of being mugged wasn't the same thing) when the Germans invaded Holland, Belgium and France. As Churchill wrote :
At about ten o’clock Sir Kingsley Wood came to see me, having just been with the Prime Minister. He told me that Mr Chamberlain was inclined to feel that the great battle which had broken upon us made it necessary for him to remain at his post. Kingsley Wood had told him that, on the contrary, the new crisis made it all the more necessary to have a National Government, which alone could confront it, and he added that Mr Chamberlain had accepted this view.It's obvious that the Labour Party's best hope is for GB to quit. Where is their Kingsley Wood ?