If you have ever watched the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, the current political scene should appear quite familiar. Picture Dave C. and Georgie-o strolling blissfully through the landscape on a 28% lead (14th September 2008, IPS0S-MORI), as a pale faced man (zombie) lumbers towards them.
Gordon was recently raised from the dead, having lain in the detritus of his own failed policies and incompetent regulation of the financial sector. Despite the deep layer of failed policies covering his tomb, safely keeping him down, he was suddenly re-animated by the myth of world leadership. Now, with the Lord of Darkness at his side (since the 3rd October) he and his Darling have closed the gap on the Tories.
He has also secured his position within his own party. The disputes I highlighted in August, have faded away, as has Bananas Miliband. Brown’s newfound identity has given him renewed confidence and purpose. With the public focusing on short-term action, and less on blame for continued failure or the long-term costs, he now markets himself as the experienced economic guardian of the UK, thus developing a viable election platform. Labour now seems less like a pack of sluggish George A. Romero zombies and more like a creature from 28 days later or I Am Legend. [Click 'read more' to continue]
However, there appears limited room for further revival, and lots for decline. Recession is on the way, and this will hurt the people as well as Gordon’s chances. The European Election in June is unlikely to be a strong point, and (just like the shopping mall scene in Dawn of the Dead) provides room to undermine his leadership: both from outside and within. More importantly, regardless of his recent jump, he remains an unpopular figure lacking in electoral magnetism. Some see him as a safe bet now, but they may still hope he is out of Number 10 when the sun (and government deficit) rises.
Finally, there may be one other problem, radicalisation. The ‘strange death of Labour’ may not yet be upon us, but the seeds of destruction for ‘New Labour’ are well planted. The recent pre-budget report shows the first signs of this shift back to old-fashioned socialism. This process will only accelerate as tired MPs call for change, and wrongfully blame Capitalism for causing the economic woes.
Overall, a Conservative victory still seems likely. However, as in all horror sagas, nothing is certain; the ugly head of socialism and the fist of big government may yet jump out... Booo! I am scared - are you?