Saturday, December 15, 2007


The Question is Still Gordon's Character

I think Patrick Wintour is on the money when he writes:

'The Conservative strategy is to hit Brown as hard as possible for as long as possible until he is so damaged he cannot recover. Once Brown is broken, the government is broken.'

Gordon's startling decline has been documented in this blog and by zilliions of articles and editorials. But it is Brown's suitability to lead the nation that lies at the centre of the current Tory case against the government. I was interested in the views of Tom Bower yesterday, where he reprises some observations from his biography of our PM who claims to owe so much to his clergyman father:

i)'By refusing to admit responsibility, blaming others for his own mistakes, pursuing vendettas and protecting wrongdoers, Gordon Brown has not only ignored his father's parable-'to find goodness in everyone'- but compounded doubts about his virtues.'

ii)'Casting aside such insider reports about the prime minister's abusive language, grudges, and reliance on cronies, his admirers are perplexed that the son of the manse consistently ignores the fundamental Christian value of truthfulness. Was there, they ask, an aspect of life in the Rev Brown's manse fuelling his son's refusal to accept blame and blindness towards the dishonesty of his cronies'?

iii)i>'A university student by the age of 16, and scarred soon after by the threat of blindness caused by a rugby accident, Brown missed the natural progression from teenager to adult. His sober life was compounded by the legacy of rebukes at home'.

iv)'Treasury officials routinely complained about Brown's refusal to listen to criticism or warnings. For years, his stonewalling was blamed on stubborness or lack of trust. The Northern Rock saga suggests another explanation: namely, Brown doesn't understand financial complexities.'

Wintour suggests the recent week has seen some of the damage limited and a fight-back in progress. But he also mentions the 'serious concerns' high up in the government of a 'malfunctioning Downing St', with poor party structures and a PM trying to do too much and thus making mistakes. If Gordon can make it to Christmas mistake free, he has a chance to start the New Year with some chance of redemption. But on the basis of the past few weeks this would represent quite an achievement.

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