Clever but Dull


” I see no shits”

There have been rumours again that as soon as a General Election is announced (probably May 2010) David Cameron will be challenging  Gordon Brown to a Presidential-style live TV debate. That does not seem like a great move. WWF it ain’t but Gordon “the Undertaker” Brown  has nothing to lose and “Pretty Boy” Cameron has nothing to prove. The best that the Conservatives can hope for is that New Labour keeps Brown in place as Leader and Prime Minister. The two falls and submission will come naturally – with no choreography.

Gordon Brown has that permanent “my piles are playing me up again”  look which, coupled to the Louis Vuittonesque bags under his eyes makes him a Conservative PR man’s wet dream.

Remember the reception that Brown received when Tony Blair “reluctantly” (but somehow joyously) left office. He was in a queue of one. Some muttering from the good-looking ones like Frank “Dead” Field but otherwise, the country was by then ready for the honest-to-goodness hard-working style of the Ex-Chancellor who had so skilfully inherited Ken Clark’s Conservative legacy and ran with it until the big desk beckoned – when he was already running out of steam 

The apparently spin-free Brown was a real breath of fresh air but the Cheshire Cat grin of Blair was hanging (and still hangs) in the Downing Street mist – a reminder that the moronic floating-voter always votes for the man and not the Party.

 Oops, I forgot, we haven’t yet voted for this one and now it looks as if we never will!

Brown’s image was uber-statesmanlike for a couple of months. Visits to floods in the West Country, Grab’n’Shake sessions with foreign dignitaries at No 10 and then –  Vince Cable: 

“The House has noticed the Prime Minister’s remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean.”


“Creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos”

In those two sentences, the neo-Dickensian Vince Cable – up until then widely regarded as clever but dull became the darling of ….well…..everyone. Gordon Brown has never recovered. That was the day that we all realised that it would be OK to poke fun at Brown – and we haven’t looked back since.

Then Brown made us remember the other attribute that we like to see in our leaders. Luck. He does not have any! He does not shape events – he observes them.

The Credit Crunch, oil price rises, food price rises all seemed to arrive simultaneously –  like three buses that we weren’t really waiting for or expecting. As if that was not enough, speculation began about an early snap-election. That was the time when Labour was ahead of the Conservatives in the polls but , unknown to the Labour Party, Brown had already “peaked” and his approval rating was well on the slide. The duck only had a slight limp at that stage but nevertheless, it was already a quite pronounced limp.

We all thought that the final straw was the 1% drop in income tax but Brown had yet another straw up his sleeve! Then, an announcement was made that the lowest tax band would be abolished. That decision would leave 5.3 million poor people worse off. Brown was seen to be attempting to screw his own supporters! The Conservatives could hardly contain themselves!

The Gordon Brown preferred mode of transport was of  the “lurching from crisis to an even bigger one”  variety. The Long Limp to oblivion had begun and is still continuing – the only difference is that Gordon Brown has now lost so much of his initial confidence that he is now afraid to take any decisions – all that is left is the straighter-back-than-necessay pseudo-Churchillian posturing. Decisions are dealt with through the medium of the meeting, committee, inquiry or Royal Commision

What used to be an occasional rustle in the long grass as policies, laws and plans were kicked into it, has become a clearly visible rubbish tip of half-formed and half-baked ideas.

If you Google “Gordon Brown Leadership”. you will obtain about 1,500,00 hits. So everyone’s an expert but Brown’s move from 11 Downing Street to 10 Downing Street prompted the need for a complete change in leadership. Well, we certainly got that.

Mr. Brown is  criticised by an increasingly hostile press for getting caught up in day-to-day political decision-making and micro-management. All of a sudden, Mr. Blair’s ‘flashy’ style seemed to embody everything Gordon Brown was lacking – a strong political vision focused on a few key areas. Whereas a leader should have his eyes fixed firmly on the economic and political horizon, Brown has his eyes focussed on his feet – i.e. on today. He cannot share his leader’s vision with us because a vision is about the future whereas he lives , thinks and manages in the present.

A recent  article in TIME Magazine  commented that being a details man was “not a bad attribute in a Finance Minister” but “a weakness in a national leader whose job it is to discern and articulate the bigger picture” 

Labour is now lower in the opinion polls than it has been for more than 25 years and has suffered greatly in the local and Euro elections.

According to a YouGov poll  61% of voters think that Mr. Brown is a liability to Labour, compared to 21% when he came to power.

There is little doubt that Gordon Brown is a thoroughly decent man and that he means well. But is he a Leader who can take this almost terminally damaged country any further into the 21st Century with the promise of long sunny days  – not filled just with imaginary “green shoots” but with a shiny new green fully functioning economic jungle?


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