Monday, February 22, 2010


Gordon's Psyche Comes in for a (Deserved?) Battering

The furore over Gordon's character, not to say psyche, dominated the weekend news, which must please the Observer and Andrew Rawnsley a great deal. Readers of this blog will know I have never been a great fan of the moody Scot and Tom Bower's biography drew a picture more or less congruent with that displayed in Rawnsley's new book. Alastair Campbell, moreover, is alleged to have briefed about Brown's 'pathological flaws' early on in New Labour's rule, as a warning of what a Brown premiership might be like.

I recently posted favourably on Gordon's surprisingly effective interview with Piers Morgan but I'm not about to contradict myself. I think there is a Good Gordon and a Bad Gordon. Most people are complex and we all have different facets but in Brown's case the differences are poles apart. People who have met him say he is a witty, warm and empathetic person but there is so much evidence that he is also capable of furious temper tantrums that Number 10 should not seriously try to deny it. I was touched by Mandelson's sweetly implausible attempt to square the circle:

This is a "story of a man who is quite emotional, is quite passionate in what he believes and what he's doing. I don't think he so much bullies people as is very demanding of people. He's demanding of himself, he's demanding of people around him. There is a degree of impatience about the man. But what would you like? Some sort of shrinking violet at the helm of the government when we're going through such stormy waters?" Asked if he had ever been shouted at by Brown he replied: "I think history records we've had our moments, but I would like to think that I took my medicine like a man."

It almost sounds as if he enjoyed being shouted at. That this book came out at the most inopportune time, just a few weeks before the election and when the Tory poll lead has shrunk to just 6 points, is palpably the case. Camereon will exploit this book's revelations ruthlessly, as Brown would do were roles to be reversed. Rawnsley has defamed Brown in his book but will Gordon sue? It would be crazy as the trial would sabotage the election, everyone would believe the allegations anyway and Rawnsley would go to prison before revealing his sources. So Gordon just has to try and ride this one out, as so many before.

Finally, the Bullying Hotline allegations seem dodgy to me. Conservatives as its patron and quoting Cameron on its confused and confusing website? Seems well dodgy to me.

"Rawnsley has defamed Brown in his book but will Gordon sue?"

Although I agreed with most of your post, I was a bit perturbed by this line. Surely the allegations, to quote an old point of law, would be defamatory only if they were untrue? And that brings us to the main point - nobody has denied the specific allegations Rawnsley made, only seeking to deny that Gordon Brown has ever hit anyone or been "officially" investigated by the CS, which nobody has claimed.

Curiously, that is a charge that can also be levelled at Christine Pratt, who is talking about bullying in No. 10 yet not fingering the Prime Minister directly, only by rather snide implication. Moreover, interesting news that Ann Widdecombe has told her off for breaching confidentiality. Seems that your "well dodgy" sentiments cross party divides!
Yes, I accept that it's only a libel if he cannot prove it's true. But he's not going to do that because of confidentiality rules. Rules which Ms Pratt seems to have breached, as you observe.
One thing to have passion, it's another to rant and shout, and lose your temper. I heard one idiot say we are lucky he is like Churchill, sadly once the war was over so was Churchill.

No reason to scream and rant at people it does show the bloke would never ever have been selected leader if the people had a choice.
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