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well  the Labour party (nominally the more left wing of the British parties< sort of like the Democrats are in the U.S.) has several internal factions. The Brown faction is slightly to the left of the old Blair faction.  the two factions are the largest two in the party, and for the 1997 election they joined together in a show of unity to ensure the public saw them as electable. There was anagreement that at some point Blair would retire and hand over to Brown. In Browns factions view this hand-over happened about five years after it had been supposedly agreed. Four of those five years were spent in Internal party warfare, the two sides leaking information and spinning the outcome to the newspapers. The atmosphere was heavily poisoned between the two factions.

When Blair finally retired, Brown got the post, but the Blair faction has never supported him as fully as he fealt he deserved. the poison has increased.

In the last year a Journalist made a request under the freedom of information act for a copy of MPs expenses, the courts agreed, and Parliament agreed that they would hand them over in six months after removing some personally identifiable information. It was thought that this period would be used to remove some of the more embarassing details. then there were rumours that someone was hawking a copy of the unedited files around the newspapers. The paper that finally brought the disk started drip-feeding the data out. first picking on the home secretary, and some porn films here husband had ordered on his sattelite TV, that had appeared on the reciept and been claimed for. from then on there has been daily drips of details of MP's expenses, several of whom have come out looking as money grasping. People are especially annoyed, as it appears that while MPs were keeping their pay rises down and using this as justification of "we're all in this together" to keep government worker pay rises down, it turns out they were taking huge expense increases instead. (There are numerous reasons being touted about as to why this particular paper has done this, from the buisneslike increased circulation, to the more conspiracy minded but absolutely unsubstantiated one that the owners think that neither part is anti-europe enough, and so is trying to drive up the UKIP vote)

During this whole period, Brown has ended up looking spectacularly inefectual, and just not leadership material.  In any other party there would be a short sharp leadership election, and Brown would either be reinforced or out on his ear. but the constitution prevents this, needing membership votes, spread over 40 days. If the rest of the cabinet jumps ship, he'd end up having to resign, if enough MPs do the same situation occurrs, both would end up with a general election.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, there's the "something more going on" I was looking for.

I'm still not sold on the expense accounts things.  


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is changing the face of British politics. It is about the only thing in a long time that has engaged the ordinary public in political debate.  People have not stopped talking about it.  the outrage at their tax money being spent on MPs 'luxuries' seems to know no bounds.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 03:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's happening now is almost an exact replay of the end of the Tory years with Major. The Tories also went down in a flurry of carefully timed sleaze, and Major never quite had the charisma that Thatcher did.

By this time Blair had done his deal with the City and with Murdoch, and was already a useful stooge. He was allowed to win and allowed to spend money, providing he didn't do anything out of line - such as trying to increase regulation or raise taxes.

It's just not credible that he would have had no say on financial policy, and that it was left entirely to Gordo, the BoA, the FSA and the rest. And the lasting legacy of the Blair/Broon years is the way they perpetuated and didn't try to limit the freebooting market thuggery which was started with Thatcher's Big Bang.

Gordo's instincts have always been slightly to the left of Blair's, and in spite of more than ten years of indoctrination he's been showing worrying signs of breaking free and allowing some of the old Labour class consciousness to resurface.

It's interesting that the expenses scandal surfaced in time for these elections, but also - coincidentally - almost immediately after the first serious tax increase for the rich for a very long time indeed.

So we have the party imploding because of in-fighting, and the Blairites are presumably hoping they can replace Gordo with one of their own soon.

But this was triggered by some very handily placed and timely external pressures which will guarantee that tax increases and regulation - for the rich - are less likely than they would have been under Gordo's hypothetical second term.

Is this too paranoid? The Barclay Brothers, who own the Torygraph, are known for their Euro-Skeptic UKIP sympathies. But they'll put up with Cameron if they have to, as long as it means a move to the right, and a move away from Europe.

Meanwhile the Faily Wail, which has been banging the expenses drum almost as hard as the Torgraph, is owned by an n-th generation petty lordling who isn't known for his euro-socialist sympathies.

The truth is that if you can run a dirt-dishing media campaign of this sort, you can herd voters around like farm animals.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paranoid?  It's the most rational explanation I have heard.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:18:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Meanwhile the Faily Wail, which has been banging the expenses drum almost as hard as the Torgraph, is owned by an n-th generation petty lordling who isn't known for his euro-socialist sympathies.

This dosen't stop him claiming to live in France for (UK)tax purposes.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This comment is good for a diary...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to the more conspiracy minded but absolutely unsubstantiated one

LOL...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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