Monday, February 18, 2008
Darling the Pawn whom Brown cannot Sacrifice Just Yet
Brown has a record of freezing a little under pressure and putting off what needs to be done or just avoiding it in a bit of a funk; critics cite 1992 when he avoided standing for the leadership; or two years later when he bottled out of fighting Tony Blair or indeed, in October last year when he pulled back from that snap election. So procrastinating over the Rock was in character, as was meekly obeying his master's voice for Darling. Seldom can a senior minister have been so outrageously dull as this man: handsome(though with funny eyebrows), clever, and apparently articulate, he fails to raise the slightest frisson in anyone over anything.
I wouldn't be too surprised either if Gordon was responsible for forcing those two damaging U turns by his Chancellor over Capital Gains Tax and the taxing of non doms. Each time Darling looked feeble, apologetic and a bit pathetic for a senior Cabinet member. Maybe Gordon took the wind on both issues, judged its direction and tugged on the strings he has attached to his neighbour and fellow Scot so that he could take the flak. Preston suggests Darling is being set up as the long term fall guy- if the economy goes pear-shaped before 2009, he can sack Alistair who'll take the blame and then appoint Ed Balls- the man with the lowest blink rate in politics- as our putative saviour. So he's alright for now as sacking right now him would really sink Brown's ship. I just hope the nationalisation of the Rock won't turn today into a future 'Black Sunday' or 'Black Monday' for Labour.
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