Monday, 8 June 2009

People have spoken - now it's 'do or die' for Brown

Gordon Brown may have survived trial by Labour MPs, as seems to be the news emerging from this evening's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

But he has not yet saved himself from public opinion.

The media have spent today wallowing in the twin themes of the election of two BNP candidates as MEPs and further debate about Gordon Brown's leadership of the Labour party.

These may well be the most controversial outcomes for commentators, but ultimately they are side-shows.

The danger the media must avoid is that the overall message delivered by voters is overlooked.

The glaring message from yesterday is that people want less EU integration, not more. Overwhelming support was given to a wide range of parties representing all sides of the political spectrum that oppose the Lisbon Treaty.

The spotlight must now shift on to how Gordon Brown intends to deliver what people have clearly said they want.

Not only are Labour MPs, according to those coming out of tonight's meeting, asking how their party can reconnect with the public, and what policy changes are needed to achieve this.

But also millions of people will be watching closely in the coming days to detect whether, after the uproar against our political leaders that has built over recent weeks, Westminster is finally listening.

It's all about Lisbon

As we've said already, the only response that addresses all prevailing political problems is for Gordon Brown to immediately rescind Britain's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

The treaty is not only an issue that, more than any other - due to the conspicuously broken manifesto promises of a referendum - speaks to problems of trust between governors and the governed.

As we will show tomorrow, the treaty's emergence in October 2007 actually kick-started the disconnect between Gordon Brown and the public that has today grown to a critical condition.

But it also speaks directly to questions of the degradation of Parliament and consequent falling public faith in our democratic system - a trend that was exacerbated by the recent MPs' expenses scandal.

So tomorrow the story must shift on to what Brown is going to do at the looming EU summit on 18-19 June to deliver on the message of this election - and deliver convincingly enough to stand a chance of saving himself at the next general election.

To go to that summit and do anything other than rescind the Lisbon Treaty is unthinkable in terms of his own fate, the fate of the Labour party and the fate of public faith in our political system.

Having seemingly survived trial by Labour MPs, Brown has 10 days to rescue his future in the court of public opinion.

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