Gordon Brown could be forgiven for thinking that the four horsemen of the apocaplyse are out to get him. In his first six weeks in power he has experienced an act of war, floods and now pestilence in the form of an outbreak of foot and mouth. He must be worried about an imminent outbreak of famine.
But in some ways, these terrible occurences have helped him make his mark as Prime Minister. Even his opponents credit him with handling each of these crises well from a publicity viewpoint, even if the action has sometimes been lacking . He has now had three major opportunities to display his crisis management abilities, something the leader of the opposition rarely has the chance to do.
Successful politicians are lucky politicians. You can read the first six weeks of Brown's premiership in two ways. Either that he has been unlucky to have had three crises in six weeks, or that they have given him the chance to display leadership skills we had been hitherto unaware of.
The real test will be Brown's ability to manage the day to day issues on which people vote. And that is why Conservatives should not lose heart, for on those issues Brown has not so far displayed a sureness of touch. And it is on those issues which the Conservatives should launch their Summer Heat campaign against the government.
The foot and mouth outbreak is something everyone hoped they would never see again. Many farming communities are only just recovering from the 2001 outbreak. Many farmers went under and many have only just rebuilt their herds. The recurring nightmare of it happening again will be too much for many to contemplate.
It is to be hoped that this outbreak has been caught in time and that it has not spread elsewhere. Farmers throughout Surrey and neighbouring counties will be saying a lot of prayers this morning. We should all join them.