Monday, October 08, 2007
Why Didn't Gordon Consult Kenny Rogers?
'You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.'
Apparently England's valiant national rugby team have a talismanic song, familiar to all who enjoy a punt: The Gambler by Kenny Rogers.
This song they belt out before making their menacing appearance on the field. Oh boy, why didn't Gordon do the same and listen to its wisdom? Seems to me he didn't 'know when to fold 'em' having held 'em for far too long thus allowing the pot to become dangerously big. He should have 'walked away' much earlier and instead of choosing 'when to run', was forced into it.
He does not want for advice this morning, much of post hoc. Lance Price in The Guardian urges him to lose his 'sense of inadequacy' which drives him to seek his own mandate rather than the one he inherited from Tony Blair; Tim Montgomerie, in the same place, exults in his 'Ratner Moment' in which he trashed his own brand; while Martin Kettle thinks he shoul;d have avoided the cosily spun interview with Marr and freely admitted his misjudgement in an open press conference. Kettle concludes that even when trying to rescue his miscalculations he has continued to think tactically rather than strategically.
I suspect Jackie Ashley is on the money when she thinks he can 'survive being called a coward':
The accusation of cowardice won't, I predict, be very damaging. Deciding whether or not to call an election against unpromising polls is not, in most people's view, a matter of courage but of sensible political calculation. Brown has taken, and will take, enough tough decisions for those outside the Westminster bubble to judge him strong enough to weather real storms. "Frit" and "bottled it" will be charges made by chortling Tories and Blairite hacks, but they should beware: too much sniggering may be enjoyable, but doesn't necessarily impress the public.
More damaging she thinks is the possible accusation of a devious manipulation of election arrangements, especially that ill-advised Basra jaunt. Brown really did promise to be different to his predecessor; most of us knew he was not but now a much wider audience might have picked it up too. The upside is that Brown has over two years in which to make amends, to govern successfully and banish the memories of a truly, truly Black Saturday.
PS(1.0p.m.) have just heard Brown taking Kettle's advice and facing the press to deliver a robust 'mea culpa'. Not wholly convincing, of course, but a decent and very necessary stab at damage limitation.
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