David Cameron is right; the Glasgow East by-election is about Britain’s broken society. Although the oft-quoted statistics about poverty levels, life expectancy and educational failure in the constituency are shocking, more damaging for Labour, and for politics generally, is that the people of Glasgow East have been so badly let down by its representatives and leaders.
Despite expensive social programmes and soaring public spending the situation has worsened, not improved since 1997. The failure to mend our broken society (not just in Glasgow East, but in an increasing number of parts of Britain) is a shocking indictment of a government that just doesn’t understand what has gone wrong (or won’t accept it) and as a result, it doesn’t know how to put it right. Like many of the problems we face in Britain, Gordon Brown and Labour believe the answer lies in spending more and more money.
The result in Glasgow may end the debate over the future of Gordon Brown, but more importantly it should start a serious debate about how we tackle the problems that afflict large parts of our society which is increasingly racked with division and dogged by a lack of hope.