Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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
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