There he is, slaving away over a hot computer at dead of night, full of ideas, brimming over with drive and commitment, one of the cleverest and best informed politicians ever to have held the top office – and yet so few appreciate him. As Gordon Brown commemorates – or shrinks from – his first anniversary as Prime Minister, he is confronted with an avalanche of comment which is more varied than you might think. I’ve assembled a small digest of what I think is the most original. Why has Brown’s reputation suffered such a disastrous slump? David Runciman in the FT has the interesting take, that the impotence of national governments in the face of global problems has been exposed as never before.
It’s illogical to slate Brown for incompetence, and at the same time for impotence: it has to be one or the other. In a rare pro-Brown piece, Mary Riddell in the Daily Telegraph, who’s not a political specialist, argues that on the contrary, Green policies make yet become Brown’s salvation.
The New Statesman has been Brown’s house journal for years. Unsurprisingly, its Martin Bright still sees a glimmer of hope
Disillusion is rampant at the previously pro-Brown but still pro-Labour Independent, where Steve Richards finds Brown on the “wrong side” of most big questions.
Brown is clinging on to The Guardian’s support but only just. Where did it all start to go wrong? The answer is in this riveting account of the election that never was.
Finally a lofty view from Times columnist and Tory grandee William Rees Mogg. Brown was not as good a chancellor, and is not so bad a PM, as conventional wisdom has it.
There isn’t agreement even over how Brown will spend his anniversary. One says it will be business as usual ( hunched over that computer, he means) ;another says he’ll be celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 90th all over again. The fascinating thing about this and wider opinions about Brown, is that both may be right. Time will tell which will win out in the end
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London