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Counting on votes

Brian Taylor | 11:55 UK time, Monday, 1 June 2009

Welcome to election week.

Not much at stake. Local councils in England. European Parliament seats, 736 of them across the EU. And, just possibly, Gordon Brown's future.

Mr Brown declares that he isn't for ousting, regardless of what befalls his party on Thursday and subsequently.

He's the boy, he says, to tackle the economy and reform Westminster.

For myself, I think Mr Brown looks almost physically diminished as the cumulative effect of the past few weeks adds to earlier troubles.

Doesn't in itself mean he's finished and heading for an instant exit. For one thing, any replacement would almost certainly be forced to call an early election.

Anyone fancy leading Labour into that at the moment?

For another, although it seems unthinkable at the moment, the fury over expenses may wane eventually.

But, for now, calamity beckons.

Certainly, Team Brown know there is virtually nothing they can do until that incendiary public anger subsides.

They cannot deploy the customary tactic of diverting attention onto other topics.

Angry voters - and non-voters alike - simply won't be diverted.

Ministers can't get an audience for any other subject, let alone a reaction.

And, grumble those in Labour ranks, it's all so unfair.

This scandal has washed across the partisan divide, palpably affecting the Tory party.

Yet it appears from polls that it is Labour which is bearing the brunt of public anger.

Hey, welcome to government.

However, it would appear that the Tories are fretting that they may not be the automatic beneficiary of disaffection with Labour across the UK.

Hence their attack upon UKIP.

In Scotland, Labour's anxiety must be that they are overtaken in the Euro popular vote by the SNP - an outcome which, of course, would replicate the 2007 Holyrood result.

Remarkable to recall, isn't it, that the Euro result for the SNP last time out was so poor that John Swinney felt obliged to step down as party leader.

So quite a week.

Votes cast on Thursday. English locals declared on Friday. Bulk of Euro results available on Sunday evening, after polls close across the EU.

Final Scottish result next Monday - after the Western Isles joins in, having observed the Sabbath.

If you've got a spare 50 minutes, catch the BBC Radio Scotland Euro hustings at 6.10pm this Monday evening.

And of course watch out for the Euro results on BBC 2 next Sunday - including targeted coverage of Scotland from Glenn Campbell in studio and me at the Edinburgh count.

Plus the final Scottish picture on the Monday, also on BBC Scotland.


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