Thursday, June 4, 2009

Big Day in the UK

Today, all across the UK, voters are going to the polls to select their local councillors and members of the UK delegation to the European Parliament.  Labour is expected to take a drubbing; most polls place them third and there are some out there that predict Labour could fall as far fourth in the balloting.  On the right, the UK Independence and the British National Party are expected to do well, and from the left they Greens are expected to poll well.

However, the elections hold more significance than just the composition of local councils.  By tomorrow afternoon we may know if Gordon Brown can continue as Prime Minister until the next general election.  Brown had hoped to use the election results as something of a springboard for restarting his government in preparation for the run-up to the General Election.

Events have foiled Brown's plans.  The Cabinet is in chaos and ministers are resigning.  Two prominent female ministers, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Communities Minister Hazel Blears resigned this week; Blears in rather spectacular fashin.  Chancellor of the Exchequer Alsistar Darling is also rumored to be leaving the cabinet after the election.  Backbench rebels are circulating plans online for a coup against the Prime Minister.  All of this leads to speculation about Brown's future.  Some even wonder if he will be around come Monday.  

What will happen is that after the election results are finalized on Friday Afternoon, the scale of Labour's defeat is clear, Brown will try to reshuffle his cabinet.  If Brown is unable to place his controversial ally Ed Balls in as Chancellor then the Cabinet will fall apart and I think the rebels will be able to gain enough support to force Brown out in favor of Health Secretary Alan Johnson.  I believe this will force an election no later than early autumn

The Labour government is on electoral hospice.  The only question is if Labour can hang on for another year.  Even if Brown hangs on, I can't see this government being able to hang on for another year.  I get the feeling new government will be in place before the year is out.

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