June 13, 2009
The last two weeks or so have been especially testing for British premier Gordon Brown. First, the MP expenses scandal rocked the “mother of all parliaments”. Last week, backstabbing was the order of the day, no less than six cabinet members giving up their positions and provoking a huge reshuffle. By Monday night the storm was over, as the Labour backbenchers rallied around their embattled premier.
This is bad news for British Conservatives and their charismatic leader David Cameron who had hoped the crisis would bring about early elections. Gordon Brown´s refusal to take the blame for poor Labour performances in town hall and euro-parliamentary elections has prevented such an outcome.
From a meta-political point of view, Gordon Brown´s stance is justified. Britain is in the grip of the most serious recession since the end of World War II. Changing administrations in such circumstances could prove downright counterproductive. Brussels should also be pleased that Gordon Brown is still in charge at 10 Downing Street : David Cameron seems to be an entrenched euro-sceptic, who if brought to power this year, could blow the Lisbon Treaty out of the water. Furthermore, his party had announced plans to abandon its traditional alliance with the EPP, thus provoking an ugly political split of the European center-right.
In staying on, premier Brown “not only saved the world” (sic !) from economic meltdown, but it seems he might rescue the European Union´s integration agenda, as well. This is no mean feat for a leader routinely portrayed by the press and some of his own colleagues as uninspiring and lacking in charisma…Florian Pantazi