I was looking for a personal assistant and baggage handler on rentboy.com recently, and while chatting up the young men I heard many reasons why Gordon Brown is headed for a bad election result– reasons that aren’t prominent in recent conversations between Yglesias, DeLong, and Krugman. Seven rock-hard reasons had my hustlers:
(a) incumbency fatigue — Labour have been in since 1997;
(b) scandal — the Labour MPs were revealed to have been cashing in on expenses for items that really, they shouldn’t have been charging to expenses;
(c) populist rage — bank bailouts to a much greater degree than here (purchase of Northern Rock) accompanied by big fat bonuses to banking executives;
(d) the Iraq war — the British think it’s much more obviously illegal than we do;
(e) the encroachment of surveillance culture under New Labour onto the life of the average Briton to an unprecedented degree;
(f) the, what the hell, this is Labour? factor — b, c, d, and e aren’t the kind of thing you want from your party of the people;
(g) Brown himself — an uncharismatic, grumpy Scot who — remember this, because Yglesias, DeLong and Krugman don’t — was never actually ratified in the premiership by a general election! This is not all that uncommon, but it’s not a sign of strength, either, and lots of people wanted him to call an election well before this to gain some legitimacy.
Interesting thoughts, and I thought I’d pass them along. Off to the steamroom!