Lucky for some

Every dog has its day

Cameron and friend Cameron and friend
Today Glenrothes seeped into our world. For, following the death of the sitting Labour MP, John MacDougall, the Glenrothes' constituency will have a by-election anytime in the near future. But where is Glenrothes? Well look for the county of Fife on the map, Glenrothes is roughly in the middle. Also, when is 'anytime in the near future?' Well that is the part of the problem, for the the real question is which side of the Labour Party Conference to hold the by-election? So another trip-wire is already strung out for both poor old Gordon Brown and the Labour Party. If the party does badly need he fall too?

Gordon's constituency neighbours Glenrothes and his home is close by. Whatever the outcome of the election he may have a job to make it seem that all is well. While a bad conference cannot spell the end of the party, the fate if its leader is a different matter altogether. The Labour Party's senior wonks and spin doctors will already be on their way home from the holiday to compute the options. And the components of this are -

# - a good conference

# - a bad conference

# - a good performance by Gordon

# - a bad performance by Gordon

# - a good result at Glenrothes

# - a bad result at Glenrothes

# - and the most awkward thing of them all to place is that delicate component called David Miliband.

If Clan Gordon cannot tweak the conference to suit their man then he has no business being Labour's leader; Gordon's performance, as we saw at the last conference, out-shone all the other speakers because of this. At the moment the betting man would say the best bet would be a by-election after the conference, if this be so then that puts pressure onto Miliband to be on his best behaviour throughout and a muted Miliband is not much of a campaign tool. Miliband's supporters would also have to tread with care and if they are as timid as their would-be-Leader will remain schtum. If we assume the result from Glenthroes is bad for Labour then Clan Gordon should be able to spin this as the fault of the Milibandistas and their trouble making. For if the wonks cannot do this then they have no business doing their jobs either.

But this is not the end of it, what about the Liberal Democrats? For they too have been doing badly. While both the scale and the nature of their problems are different from Labour's it is clear that their results from the London Mayoral Elections, Crewe and Nantwich, Henley and Glasgow East are poor. Here is a party that was told in 1983 by David Steel to "Go back to your constituencies and prepare for Government." Nick Clegg was a boy then and it would seem that at the rate of progress in preparation the first Liberal Democrat Prime Minister has yet to be born. Also if the clamour for a change in leader behind Brown increases, then expect Clegg to be in trouble too. He may be, unlike Brown, a 'new' Leader but is, like Brown, unpopular with the voters. The Labour Party, by virtue of the party rule book, may be stuck with Brown for a while yet. The LibDems are stuck with Clegg because he is so new; and stuck is stuck. I bet David Cameron cannot believe his luck.