Yesterday British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a speech to members of his party promising “a new settlement for new times”.
But the Prime Minister knows that for his leadership, time might be running out. His Labour Party are now 22 points behind the Conservatives and unless they improve their position, the next election will be won by the leader of the Opposition, David Cameron.
Gordon Brown’s speech was aimed at those within Labour who think the only way their party can win again is for him to go as soon as possible.
How did it come to this? When Mr Brown came into office 14 months ago, he was riding high in opinion polls and had a secure place in his party. His serious, no-nonsense approach was seen as a refreshing change from Mr Blair’s slick and prepared style.
Mr Brown’s honeymoon came to an end this time last year. There were hints that he might try to capitalise on his lead in the polls by calling a snap election. The Prime Minister allowed speculation to build for several weeks before finally ruling out an autumn election.
The delay allowed the Prime Minister’s opponents to call him indecisive and even cowardly.
There followed unpopular changes to the tax system, which left some poorer voters worse off. This led to an embarrassing U-turn that further eroded Mr Brown’s image as a safe pair of hands to run the economy.
And then we have the growing financial crisis that has already caused one UK bank to be nationalised and another, HBOS, to be taken over.
Some of his opponents say Mr Brown must shoulder some of the blame for recent events, since he was Chancellor for 10 years under Tony Blair.
Yesterday the Prime Minister accepted that his first year in power might have gone better, saying, “Where I've made mistakes I'll put my hand up and try to put them right”.
But he insisted that his long experience meant he was best placed to handle the financial crisis.
Perhaps speaking of Mr Cameron, the Prime Minister said, “This is no time for a novice”.
The Prime Minister’s impassioned speech has impressed many supporters, but it is not clear if it will be enough to quieten the dissent within his party.
a new settlement for new times
put my hand up
time might be running out
riding high in opinion polls
safe pair of hands
shoulder some of the blame
This is no time for a novice
quieten the dissent