Scandals Haunt Brown

With the loss of computer discs containing private details of half the nation and a run on a British bank for the first time in 140 years, a police probe in illegal party fundraising is the last thing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown needed as the oppo

Scandals Haunt Brown
I don't think this will bring the government down, but I think it could bring Brown down," Anthony Seldon, Tony Blair's biographer, told Reuters Friday, November 30.

"He isn't secure in his program for the future and nor is he master of current events. If he doesn't recover before next May, the party will ask what the point of having him is."

Dubbed "Donorgate" by the media, the latest scandal to hit Brown revolves around more than 650,000 pounds ($1.3 million) of donations made to his Labour Party by a property developer who gave the money via intermediaries to avoid being identified.

There is no suggestion Brown, a former finance minister, is linked to the money. But senior members of his cabinet and inner circle are, and the police have been asked to investigate.

The latest affair threatens to eclipse those that have gone before and, although analysts do not predict anything so dramatic as the fall of the government, it could have repercussions for Brown's long-term electoral prospects.

"The wider issue is whether this is turning into Labour's equivalent of 'Black Wednesday' — a series of events that change the way that voters think about the government," said pollster and political analyst Peter Kellner, referring to a day in 1992 that scuppered the then Conservative government.

Riding high in the polls five months ago when he succeeded Tony Blair, Brown's popularity has slid in the past two months as his party has stumbled from one debacle to another.

Brown, 56, came to office pledging to restore trust in politics after Blair was tarnished by a debacle over "cash for honours" — the alleged granting of peerages and titles in exchange for donations.


As recently as last July, the first full month of Gordon Brown's premiership, Labour enjoyed a nine-point lead over the arch rival opposition Tories.

Two months ago Labour's lead was still 11 points. Now it is the Conservatives who are 11 points ahead, according to a YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph released Friday.

A massive 73 per cent think Brown should resign or be sacked from one or other post, demonstrating that the government was really in a freefall.

Asked more generally how well or badly they think ministers have managed a range of issues facing them, large majorities of voters are dismissive to the point of being contemptuous.

Almost as many, 78 per cent, accuse the government of mismanagement in handling immigration and asylum and more than 60 per cent take the same dim view of ministers' handling of the criminal justice system and the armed forces.

A clear majority, 52 per cent, said the government is incompetent and inefficient and "couldn't run a whelk stall."

Pollsters say the YouGov's latest findings are among the most devastating for any government in the history of opinion polling.

The Tories now have their largest lead over Labour since Margaret Thatcher's heyday in 1988.

Blair never sank so low and even John Major towards the end of his "ill-fated" administration frequently achieved more favorable ratings, the Telegraph said in an analysis.

The paper said the poll showed that a majority of voters may have fallen out of love permanently with the Brown government. .

"Seldom, if ever, can a Government's reputation have fallen so far so fast," the Telegraph commented in an editorial. & News Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Aralık 2007, 09:59