Thursday, 4 October 2007

Bottler Brown

Well, it may not be official yet but the odds against an autumn election are lengthening all the time. Brown has bottled it.

It could have been so different. The Brown ‘bounce’, implausible though it was from the man who had been at the heart of the Blair government for over 10 years, was based on what he insisted were the obvious contrasts between himself and Blair.

Where Blair was gimcrack and obviously lightweight, Brown was sober, measured and stern. Where Blair could only chase headlines, Brown, the Great Steersman, understood the imperatives of the long term, of prudence, of the country’s real interests.

Bollocks from first to last, of course. But it was the perception that counted.

Then, obviously opportunistically, he sensed that perhaps there was a snap election for the taking. Characteristically, however, haunted by the horror that maybe he just might not win it, he havered.

In the meantime, his spinning was suddenly shown to be just that. Plus, against all the odds, the Tories rediscovered themselves. Grudgingly, teeth gritted, false grin in place (though nails bitten to the quick), the election talk was hastily abandoned, his acolytes reduced to muttering that he had never said he would call one in the first place, that he was getting on with running the country and that in any case the election talk was never anything more than Murdoch-driven media hype.

In short, the Great Strategist had shafted himself. Damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

But there was an alternative, one that could have immeasurably reinforced his standing.

He could have announced on entering No 10 that he recognised that he had no popular mandate to take over as prime minister and would accordingly be calling an immediate election. Second, that he shared the country’s anxiety over the proposed European Constitution – sorry, sorry, Treaty: God, I must learn to start calling it a Treaty – and would simultaneously hold a referendum on it. The one would in effect have been a vote for the other.

The media, fawning in its anxiety not to fall out with him, would instantly have proclaimed his wisdom and far-sightedness and his determination to place national over party interests.

As it is, would anyone now like to offer odds on Brown being smuggled, heavily sedated, out of No. 10, Anthony Eden-style, this side of Christmas?


Bog Exile said...

He's a busted flush all right! Creator, thanks for your kind comments and encouragement. Have now managed to link your estimable blog on mine. You are right about the symbiotic nature of things. I am just very new at this and waiting for the thought Gestapo to knock down the door at any moment... Best wishes, Bog Exile!

The Creator said...

Fab. Thanks.

I must say I had given some thought to the Thought Gestapo down your neck of the woods. On the whole, I imagine your blog would not be regarded by them as a wise career move.

Which makes what you are doing all the more admirable.