Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Define "Full Responsibility", If You Will

Does "full responsibility" include resigning as PM?

As Britain chugs towards balloting in the 2010 General election, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Labour Party will not win.

It's equally clear that David Cameron and the Conservative Party will not win a majority, despite being poised to win a sweeping majority less than one year ago.

This has introduced an overwhelming amount of uncertainty about the country's immediate political future.

But fear not, Britain: Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already promised to take "full responsibility" if his party loses the election.

"I'll have to take responsibility and I will take full responsibility if anything happens," Brown insisted.

And as it becomes apparent that the Tories will win a plurality in the May 6 election, Labour's focus has seemingly turned not to trying to win the election themselves, but in trying to stop the Conservatives from winning.

"People should act with their heads and not with their hearts to make sure they don't wake up ... with a Conservative MP and a Conservative government," insisted Peter Hain, Labour's Secretary for Wales.

Yet under Britain's framework of Constitutional convention, Brown will not be compelled to resign as Prime Minister should his party fail to win a plurality of seats, and can attempt to continue governing unless defeated by Parliament.

That is the easiest way for Labour to keep the Tories out.

Which leads one to wonder what, precisely, Prime Minister Brown means by taking "full responsibility".

One thing is already certain: Brown's party will hold him fully responsible.

Manish Sood, one of Labour's candidates, has already denounced Brown as the worst Prime Minister Britain has ever had.

Sood insisted that Brown "owes an apology to the people and the Queen".

"What he is doing is basically making things worse and worse," he continued. "At the end of the day if he can't do the job properly, he should give it to someone else. It is as simple as that."

This led the chairman of the North West Norfolk Labour association to turn on Sood -- the constituency's candidate.

"Manish has been divorced from this campaign for some time, but clearly determined to get as much attention for himself as possible," spat David Collis. "Despite having such a dreadful candidate, loyal Labour members will continue to put the case for Gordon Brown as the best man to take Britain forward."

If Sood's comments were merely meant to garner himself attention, it's certainly worked; Sood's comments have made headlines across the UK.

But this only deepens the question of Brown's definition of taking "full responsibility". Having been denounced by one of his own candidates as the worst British Prime Minister ever, will taking "full responsibility" mean, for Brown, resigning as Prime Minister on May 6?

Considering the sorry state of his party leadership, many observers will rightly question his ability to continue as Prime Minister.

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