Monday, 21 July 2008

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Tell you what, let's just forget about the good news for now.

When I heard the latest crime figures I really thought this could be a turning point for Gordon Brown and his team of floundering flounderers. The downward trend from the mid-90s when Labour took over is really quite impressive; the risk of being a victim of crime down from 40% in 1995 to 24% in 2006, with overall crime levels falling 42% over the same period. "Popular" crimes that affect many families in the UK such as burglary and car theft are down a whopping 59% and 61% respectively. Notwithstanding small rises in more serious crimes, such as murder and knife crime (not that we couldn't have guessed that was coming), these are a seriously praiseworthy set of figures.

This would be Labour's time to make hay while the crime-figure sun shone. But what's that? What's that I hear from Labour's press office? Resounding silence. Labour couldn't have made less of this news if they tried. As the Guardian's heading on Polly Toynbee's opinion column proclaimed - "Labour does one thing really well - burying good news". Toynbee goes on to highlight numerous occasions where Labour have failed to capitalise on old-school Tory cock-up and scandal, including the ongoing MPs' expenses debacle.

Is this inability to crack a glimpse of a smile, in response to what should have been one of Labour's top headlines in recent years, a sign of an old man on his deathbed? I had hoped and hoped that Brown had the capacity to turn things around (and I think he does), but it is clear it is never going to happen. Now, nothing short of a labour revolution is going to give Labour a majority in the next general election.

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