Mike Smithson asks an interesting and legitimate question: what kind of result today in Crewe would mean that Gordon Brown will not lead Labour into the next general election?
What about coming more than twenty percentage points behind the Conservatives or coming third behind the LibDems? Can Brown really survive either or both these humiliations? No, but then again neither scenario is likely. Much more likely that Labour contain their defeat within single digits, and that the LibDems suffer the kind of squeeze suggested in recent polling.
In a way that’s Labour’s problem: having already installed a Leader and a PM without voting, they need a really loud and clear excuse for doing it again. The near certainty of losing the next general election would be one such excuse, but the public doesn’t really think that far in advance. So that doesn’t seem to be big enough. Boris Johnson was a loud enough excuse alright, but Labour did its best to downplay it, and they seem to have convinced themselves that they can live with that.
So now they have set the bar real high for the kind of circumstances that will justify ousting their leader: certain defeat won’t do; Boris won’t do; what must happen so that Labour find the courage to help themselves?