Thursday, April 17, 2008


US visit plays to Brown's strong sides

Having sided with the 'fatalists' yesterday, today I come to praise Gordon rather than bury him. So far I think Brown's visit to the US has shown him in a much better light. OK, so ther clash with the Pope's visit was unfortunate but scarcely a reason to continue the kicking currently being meted out by the British media. I heard his performance on the Diane Sawyer US chatshow and thought he came over surprisingly well(Nicholas Watt, in the linked article thought the interview 'stilted') . He lacks the elan and brio of Blair who tempermentally shines in the spotlight, but his answers were sincere, managed passably at being humorous. Moreover, I thought his slightly over ther top flattery of all things American was suited to the US way: Americans just love visitors to praise 'God's Own Country' and Gordon has laid it on with a trowel.

As some have pointed out, Brown has a long history of admiration for the USA, taking annual holidays to the east coast and moving easily with leading US intellectuals of left and right. I also thought his speech to the UN where he bollocked Mugabe in the clearest possible terms, was effective. His naturally stern manner was well suited to the occassion and it was good to hear him express himself clearly for once, not stutteringly hedge everything with reservations. Almost certainly his visit will go under-reported and the UK media will exploit and expand the smallest hic-cup, but so far I think his visit has shown him at his best. If only he could manage the same trick at home.

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