Gordon Brown and Me
In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king. But of course the one eyed man don’t see too well, he can’t see if anyone is peeping.
2007 was when the one eyed Gordon Brown became PM. At first very popular, serious ,concerned and all the other worthy virtues, it soon became clear that he was one of those Prime Ministers who fail to get out in time. Which is most of them. But the spilt breakfast came early for this oh so bright, oh so dim son of a preacher man. His rages, his indecision, his conceit, his basic lack of emotional intelligence soon became obvious. He had to go, So I joined the Tory party. For two years I even paid my subs, I then discovered that most of the activists were deformed and or mad but out of habit I still deliver the leaflets.
But between early retirement and the grave PMs have first to write the book. I will not be reading- Gord’s “My Life,Modern Times”-I didn’t read Majors,Thathchers or Blairs self serving excuses for failure-who does? But like a good little cat I have lapped up the reviews.
But the one eyed brooding heavyweight from Kirkaldy has fascinated me. He still broods,no doubt waiting for a call from God himself for another stab at saving the world. No, the fascination comes from a question I cannot answer.(Very rare!)
Politics is a people business. Getting on with people, learning how to mobilise and energise a team . Keep that team loyal and efficient, inspire people on all levels. People skills. Those than know how to network, have drive and ambition, obvious intelligence, take responsibility, communicate, keep their cool, show leadership under fire-these you would expect to go through the ranks of councillor, MP, committee person, party person. cabinet until the top of the greasy pole is reached.
Brown didn’t get on with people, he found communicating on anything but a Phd level difficult, he even spoke funny,he raged, he blamed others , like every other memoir writer he sees the car crashes he was involved with , whether driving or map reading , as everyone else’s fault, I could go on. Like Major and May totally unsuited to be PM. Completely lacking in the X factor which both Blair and Cameron enjoyed.
So the fascination is this, how come these obviously unsuited beasts became the orangatangs in the cage, where they are so desperately sad and unsuited, how come politics the ultimate people business is so often led by people without people skills. Is it so mediocre that there is little choice, is it that these people have some of the skills but not all, is it the lack of competition(both May and Brown were anointed but unelected by Party)? But then, again if you think our lot are bad, look across the Channel.
PS Brown’s famous remark in the 2010 election when a long time Labour supporter 65 year old Gillian Duffy asked him about the economy and immigration, he smiles,shakes her hand moves away and still on camera says “what a disaster, what a bigoted woman”. Later he grovels and personally apologises. But the damage is done and if anyone wants a sign about the gap between the Metropolitan elite and the rest, that was it. Six years later ,Brexit followed.