Sunday, January 28, 2007
Professor claims Labour losing the North
Elcock illustrate's Labour's lost ground.
Professor Howard Elcock of Northumbria University is reported in today's Sunday Sun setting out how the Labour Party has hemorrhaged local council seats in the North of England since Tony Blair's election in 1997. In the last ten years the party has lost a third of it's seats in the region and is now reduced to just 740 councillors from the 1058 they had at the outset of Blair's regime.
Elcock a renowned transport expert gives the Iraq War and the cash-for-honours fiasco as the latest reasons for the wholesale loss of electoral support for the party, which has traditionally relied on the votes of Northerners who often voted exactly the same way as their fathers did (more often a case of moral bullying than anything else.)
Whilst the Conservative and the Lib-Dem parties have picked up former Labour seats in almost equal numbers, it is still difficult to predict whether or not David Cameron is making a sufficient breakthrough in Labour heartlands such as this to enable the rebuilding of a radical Conservative base. Professor Elcock believes that people will simply vote for the party that promises to make them better off, I'm not so sure.
David Cameron is not in a position (yet) to promise tax cuts from an incoming Conservative government and Professor Elcock predicts a strengthening of support for Labour when Gordon Brown is installed as a more 'tradtional' leader. There is one large problem for both Brown and Cameron as we face the next election - the economy. The Chancellor's handling has been reasonably good so far, but he has a multitude of problems facing him right now and they will magnify as we approach the election. Inflation is now growing past his targets, interests rates are higher than for some time and will continue to increase, government borrowing and the national debt continue to rise leaving either a Brown or a Cameron government with little room for manoeuvre.
If David Cameron can find some imaginative ways to sort out the economic mess then perhaps the Premiership will certainly be his to win, if Brown cannot find answers to the borrow and spend conundrum then he most certainly will enjoy a very short term as Prime Minister!
Born in 1956
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