Waiting for Gordo

If you lot are waiting impatiently for the Euros, just imagine what it’s like for the increasingly suicidal Labour, tearing itself to pieces before our eyes in the torrent of Sunday morning political shows. Tony Blair’s old flatmate Charlie Falconer is the latest to join the chorus calling on Gordon to quit. Charlie I’m sure is perfectly sincere in making his case but he has a personal grudge against Gordon who denied him the full pension of the last old-style Lord Chancellor and limited his pay-off to the new, lower rate for an ordinary cabinet minister. On balance, the case for Gordon’s survival looks the stronger but it’s a very precarious balance. The anguished debate hinges on Brown’s character and on that, the metaphorical purple ink has been flowing. No one will be surprised to find Mandy on both sides of the argument. Below is a small selection of acute observations on that tortured, divided personality. STRENGTHS

Peter Mandelson

Mandelson did not deny the contents of the email but said it had been “completely misrepresented….It was not hostile to, or about, the prime minister. It said that the prime minister needs to be what he is… The prime minister is a politician not a pop star. He concentrates on getting the policies right, not on being a showman.”

Andrew Rawnsley

The first is that Gordon Brown, even in such a mauled condition, remains a larger figure than anyone else in his cabinet. Could David Cameron have rescued the banks or achieved the agreements at the G20? Could Alan Johnson? These are fair questions for Mr Brown’s residual supporters to ask.

Anne McElvoy

One reason that Mr Brown’s fall fascinates even those who dislike him intensely is that he has a quality of flawed grandeur which Shakespeare would have recognised. If he were a less serious figure, it would all matter less, this ungainly struggle to ward off decline.

Janet Daley (sort of)

Isn’t there just the remotest possibility that – in what even he must recognise as his absolutely, positively last chance – Mr Brown might do something tactically clever?.. In that extraordinary feat of bravado that was his Friday press conference, he made some remarks that may have escaped notice amid the blood and gore in which he was steeped, citing three objectives for his new Cabinet’s immediate attention.


Peter Mandelson _(private email, before returning to government),

”…insecure, self-conscious physically and emotionally, uncomfortable in his skin and angry… He is a self-conscious person, physically and emotionally. He is not as comfortable with his own skin as Tony was (is). A new public persona cannot be glued on to him.

Andrew Rawnsley

Gordon Brown doesn’t have the same “sure touch” at home and lacks the capacity to talk “in language that ordinary folk understand” which makes him “not the powerful communicator that some other political leaders are here and abroad”. To that criticism are added many more by those who despair of Gordon Brown: an incoherent policy agenda and an inability to inspire; prevarication when he needs to seize the initiative and clumsiness when he finally tries; poisonous spinning against colleagues conducted by the dark side of his operation at Number 10; a hopeless addiction to backfiring tactical wheezes. Giving a peerage to the gruesome Alan Sugar is the sort of frantic, misconceived stunt that is Gordon Brown at his very worst.

  • loki

    Almost felt sorry for Gordo this morning when I was I watching Charlie Falconer. Brutal

  • Lord Falconer was interviewed only on Friday morning on BBC and sounded loyal to GB then. Something made him snap since then.

    Every time one hole gets plugged, another seems to leak!

    I suspect that some further plot is afoot which will spring to the surface after the Euro election results tomorrow night.

  • percy

    If Brown stays, the public are going to have to endure the unbearable agony of enormous amounts of our News time devoted just to Brown, not the country, nor policy.

    If he goes at least we can consider others, and gear for a leadership election and/or a general election,

    Personally I think he’ll hang on to the bitter end , as in his own mind he’s not going to let some jumped up posh toryboy outplay him, especially as he considers Cameron to have no credible policies.

    What of course will happen is:
    Cameron the matador will slowly spear and plunge painful swords into Brown, until he finally kills the Bull.

    Its will be bloody and awful.

    The only ray of light for those who want Brown out is that the Euro-election results are so dire for Labour, that Brown is forced out.

    Do I think that will happen ? No, because No.10 will spin it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    If Brown stays he’s for a while lets hope in deperation he eventually goes with a bang e.g. cutting a deal with the Lib Dems and opting for electoral reform.

    PoshBoyDC will stamp his feet and say “itsh not fair, itsh just not fair” – but it will mean real POWER to the people (or to many more of them) and will show the meagreness of PBDC’s plans for empowering the masses.

    Another advantage of a near dead prime minster walking – is that it is about the only time – except perhaps during a war (and not the Iraq one)- when he can do what is best for the COUNTRY rather than what might be best for HIM at next election.

    Finally, PBDC needs to be a little careful not to over play his hand as El Gordo may garner public sympathy from a smart-ass public school boy taunting a terminally ill adversary.

  • percy

    He could do a vote on abolition of the Monarchy,
    and generally go native, which would be great.
    So there are possible suprises ahead.

    Electoral reform of the magnitude you suggest ie PR.
    Never known a labour or a tory to ever consider that. However if he’s sensible he’ll realise its best for Labour’s survival, as he can’t count on Scottish seats.

    Interesting times, esp for constitutional reformers.
    Might be better if he stays for your reasons.

  • The Blairites have really been the ones with the tin-ear in the last week. The spectacle of Hazel the cheque-waver, and someone with no real background in the party like Lord Falconer demanding that the rest of us play along with their vendetta is a very odd one – especially at a time when Labour’s activists have been struggling to keep the focus on the BNP.