” Gaffe-prone? Me? Not at all. By the way, why do you hold your hands like this when you sing Mammy?”
Gordon Brown waited 10 years for a crack at the top job. During that time, the United Kingdom enjoyed the fruits and prudence of Ken Clarke’s final Conservative budget. The posturing Iron Chancellor gave no nod either in Ken’s direction or even in the direction of the Global Economy. Both had made him look good and deserved his acknowledgement but the Global Economy would not come to prominence in his mind until the country was beginning to “benefit” from his personal brand of “overdraft” budgeting style. Then it was a case of “Nowt to do with me mate, there’s a Global recession.”
Those 10 years also saw Brown set-up his own “virtual” government at the Treasury as he waited for Blair to hand over the reins of power. He craved a shot at being Prime Minister to such an extent that it became an obsession which yesterday finally ended as abdication – and about time too.
He could have “walked” yesterday but has managed to squeeze another four months as leader (and possibly Prime Minister). He is not exercising his constitutional duty, he is hanging on at all costs.
Both his tenures as Chancellor and as Prime Minister have ended in failure and today he probably feels that extremely keenly. History will judge his tenure at no 10 Downing Street as that of an unelected interim administrator and not as the great statesman that he undoubtedly imagines himself to be.
There will be no “Brownists” as there are “Thatcherites” and “Blairites”. Brown will soon be forgotten as a hastily scribbled footnote in the pages of our political history. Sadly, he has become a figure of fun and caricature with a total lack of leadership qualities or public social skills. Those who know him personally say that he is urbane, witty , funny and extremely good company. That doesn’t matter because what we see is a clumsy social inept who would have difficulty in motivating a gaggle of orgasming American Cheerleaders.
It is sad to say but during the last few years the once-great Labour Party has had trouble finding a decent leader. Callaghan? Foot? Kinnock? Blair? Brown? Brown was the ultimate “wrong man in the wrong job”. Some may think of him as a delusional who thought that Blair’s famous “hand of history on my shoulder” was always meant for him.
He has not been helped by a Labour Party which under Blair became a pastiche of pseudo-Conservative thinking with the mad-aunt of Old Labour having been locked away in the attic. New Labour was embarrassed about its family background. The weak Callaghan did nothing to help the Unions when they were being butchered by Margaret Thatcher. That was the moment when Labour became observers and not shapers of events. Their current legacy is two shooting wars and a wrecked economy. Brown has been at the centre of both.
Whenever a modern Labour leader has attempted to be a co-shaper of events, there has been tragedy – as the frequent flights into Wootton Basset, broken British businesses and evicted families will testify.
As far as the latest General Election is concerned, the rather insipid result is as a result of insipid politics. Every Party has planted iteself in the Political centre, giving the electorate little choice. The Conservatives are afraid to appear too Right-wing. That has resulted in the creation of the Loony Right and the emergence of the BNP and UKIP. Had the Conservatives been honest and encouraged internal debate, voters would have seen that there are Conservatives who make the BNP look like left-wing pinko softies. However, that is not politically correct nowadays because everyone in mainstream politics has to be packaged as a moderate.
Likewise, New Labour was driven into the political centre by Blair and it has remained parked there ever since. By default, Brown sees himself and his party as champions of business as well as the unions. Friends to both management and worker. There is a saying that you cannot run with the hare and the hounds. Labour has been attempting that impossible trick and consequently, left the electorate totally confused. The question is “Who do you stand for, boys?” The answer is that all parties attempt to represent EVERYONE, the only difference being that the Socialists wear cheaper suits than the Conservatives and don’t have moats, trust-funds or offshore accounts. Liberals have dodgy haircuts.
There was a time when the Conservatives represented business and commerce, Labour was the party of the workers and the Liberals were……..well, liberal. Today, they are practically indistinguishable. Consequently, we the electors have to rely on the Punch and Judy exhibition that is the televised Political Debate in order to reach an electoral decision.
To add to our confusion, Brown never did tell us which way he was leading us because he did not seem to care. He just wanted to be Prime Minister and that is one fact of which we were all very conscious.
Blair had John Prescott riding shotgun. Brown has Harriet Harman. Blair knew that he needed a Prescott to keep the Unions sweet. Brown’s lack of leadership and personality means that he could only stand to have people around him who agreed with him – and woe betide anyone who gave him bad news. Like a banana republic dictator, he only wanted the good news, compliance, obedience and adoration.
He imagined himself as a world statesman. He deluded himself into thinking that he had saved the world. (Remember that famous Freudian slip in the House in December 2008 when he said “We have saved the world”? The Rochdale gaffe was by no means his first.)
Brown’s tetchiness belies his extreme vanity and enjoyment of the trappings of office. His self-image is of the great statesman looking far into the distance, an enigmatic face refusing to give-up his secret visions of a Socialist Utopia where all men are born equal and have the same opportunities and advantages in work, education and care. Student politics in an M&S suit.
Will we miss him? No.