Whilst a leadership challenge resulting in a Miliband victory could conceivably reverse this trend, 44 percent say that replacing Brown with “a younger, fresher, more charismatic alternative” would not improve Labour’s situation. The latest YouGov poll shows voting intentions favouring Brown over Miliband. (Amusingly, the Labour leader people would be most likely to vote for is… Tony Blair!)
A change of leadership would also fail to address underlying issues within the party or take into account future challenges, and without some mastery of economics and lots of luck, Miliband wouldn’t be able to turn around Britain’s economic prospects. This leads party pessimists to foresee disaster.
However, it is still much too early to confidently that the death of Labour and a fundamental realignment of British politics is upon us. Only a couple of years ago Geoffrey Wheatcroft published ‘The Strange Death of Tory England’ – something which has clearly failed to materialize under David Cameron’s leadership. John Major was also able to scrape back against the odds in 1992. With a change of direction, Conservative crisis, and/or economic revival Labour may yet make it to a 4th term; complacency is, as ever, ill advised.
Nonetheless, Labour is already to some degree dead. With New Labour, the traditional socialists saw their ultimate vision betrayed in favour of a compromise, a ‘Third Way’. Now all that is left to be seen is whether New Labour has run out of steam. The current evidence suggests that the reds are not quite out, but dangerously close.