Gordon's Second Year - starting badly and going to get worse.
“We're all doomed,” a Cabinet minister says. “We might as well ring the removal vans to take us out of office.”
But one group is not about to take defeat lying down. The wealthy donors who have contributed to the Labour Party over the past ten years did not get rich by backing losers. They are used to hiring and firing people in their professional lives and they are unsentimental about their politics too...One potential leadership candidate claims that three of the party's longstanding backers have telephoned him to say that they would start giving again if Mr Brown stands down.
All this matters because the Labour Party is heading for financial meltdown... Labour has until Monday to submit its accounts to the Electoral Commission. It is touch and go whether the auditors will sign them off. The party could still ask for an extension, rather than be declared bankrupt.
According to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission, large individual gifts to the Labour Party have almost completely dried up. More than 90 per cent of donations in the first quarter of this year came from trade unions. Party sources say that there have been some contributions in the past few weeks - including around £250,000 from Sir Ronald Cohen, the venture capitalist. But attempts to renegotiate a series of multimillion-pound loans after the cash-for-peerages affair, are not going well. One wealthy man with a loan outstanding has made it clear that he does not want to be “taken for granted”.
“He's invested in something, he can see it going wrong, he wants to know how it's going to be put right,” a friend said. Even Lord Sainsbury of Turville, one of Labour's most loyal and generous benefactors throughout the Blair years, now makes loans rather than gifts. The trade unions would certainly bail the party out but Mr Brown would be reluctant to find himself beholden to the brothers.This puts the donors - or potential donors - in an extraordinarily powerful position.
It also puts the unions in a powerful position, much as Gordon will be reluctant to take their money he will have to, and with inflation rising they will want their members to be repaid with ever higher pay awards, and the public sector strikes are starting...