Monday, 24 March 2008

Authentically Brown

This appeared in yesterday's Observer. It was written by Andrew Rawnsley. Self-evidently, it reflects an early stage in Downing Street's efforts to regain the high ground to halt the catastrophic hemorrhage Brown has engineered in Labour's electoral prospects. It is, in short, an inside job.

Here is the penultimate paragraph:

The other mildly encouraging development for Labour since the New Year is that Gordon Brown has found an overarching theme on which to hang his policies. The unlocking of talent as a narrative has the advantages of meshing with Labour values and being potentially appealing to both affluent and poorer voters. And the Prime Minister clearly believes in it. This is not just a presentational construct. It is authentically Brown.

Can anyone read this without laughing? Is this seriously the best the 'new' Downing Street can come up with?

The 'overarching theme' – note use of meaningless, aspirational phrase – consists of an 'unlocking of talent as a narrative ... meshing with Labour values' – note use of further vacuous phrase – the whole amounting to ... what? Nothing is specified. There isn't even the coyest hint of what it might mean in practice.

You can read and re-read this paragraph as many times as you like. You can read it standing on your head. You can squint at it from behind the sofa. You can sneak up at it and try to take it by surprise. You can read it to your cat. You can ask your cat to read it to you. You can try it out on your goldfish. You can stand outside and declaim it to the skies.

And it will always amount to exactly the same. To wit, nothing, diddly squat, nada.

It is noise born of a moral compass spinning out of control, inhuman smile in place, awkwardly expensive tie instantly skewiff, hairdo rather more obviously so, desperately seeking to wrench the machine back on course.

It is only too authentically Brown.

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