Saturday, November 24, 2007


Ken or Roy: Who is Right About Gordon?

I listened to Ken Clarke and Roy Hattersley this morning, debating on the Today Programme. Ken said Gordon was like a 'wounded bull' whose 'trembling hand' incompetence had been revealed. He was now almost inevitably headed for the 'John Major' exit from the political stage. You could tell Ken was not displeased about any of this.

Roy disagreed stridently, claiming the most recent mistakes could in no way be placed at the door of Number 10. Gordon, was no wounded bull but a person completely dedicated to serving the nation and aggrieved that things had gone wrong. There was plenty of time for him to recover and win the next election. As for the 'trembling hand'? Further evidence of how much he cared and that Nick Robinson, who had focused on this feature of Gordon's appearance at the Despatch Box, was 'more pleased with himself than anyone should be allowed to be.'

Well, who is right? The Guardian poll today, revealing that Labour was back down to its rating before Blair left at a mere 31 points, meaning that the whole of the Brown Bounce effect has been dissipated. On the other hand, the Conservatives have managed to lose three points-down from 40%- only one point less than Labour, so they had not exploited Labour's mistakes as they perhaps should have done.

The Lib Dems, on the other hand, are three points up at 23, suggesting that if they had as much press coverage as the big parties, they would possibly equal their ratings or get close to it. And as for Roy's comment about Nick, anyone with the vanity required to appear in the dreadful Radio 4 'Personality Test', should be vary wary indeed of accusing anyone of excessive hubris.

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