Sunday, November 25, 2007


'Black November' maybe, but not yet 'Black Wednesday'

Quite a few commentators are trying to stick the label of Black Wednesday on Labour's recent travails. The Economist, as always takes a more subtle approach. Discussing if Brown has experienced a 'Major moment', Bagehot points out that:

a)'Mr Brown has not presided over any cast-iron disasters or lethal scandals. This was a dark week, but it was no Black Wednesday.'

b)'Mr Cameron is not yet the inevitable prime minister that Mr Blair seemed soon after he became Labour leader in 1994'

c)'compared with Sir John, Mr Brown has a big parliamentary majority and a relatively united party behind him.'

Bagehot concludes, without indicating that pigs might fly, that 'Mr Brown could still turn out to be a good prime minister'. At present the chances seem ever so slightly against such an outcome. I note however, that at least some remedial action is in hand. Nicholas Watt tells us that Gordon will widen his coterie of intimate advisers from Balls, Miliband and Alexander, to include the wise old 'greybeards', Straw and Hoon. He'll need their advice, as Rawnsley points out today, by becoming such a dominant PM he has nobody to deflect the flak. Cameron is not wasting his time going for the monkey, Darling, he's going for the Organ grinder's jugular.

All those years bending every fibre of his being to become prime minister- manipulating, neutralising, feuding, plotting- and now he's finding out he no longer has the luxury of blaming Blair. Rawnsley is not the only commentator to note that Gordon just hates criticism- that's why his hand was shaking on the Despatch Box- this prodigious alpha plus student was only used to fielding bouquets, not brickbats. So far, the Blairites- and I understand many are gleeful, despite their party's plight- can conclude Gordon has not been a patch at handling the pressure of the job compared with his predecessor.

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