Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is Gordon Brown the Political Equivalent of Steve McLaren?

Matthew Parris thinks so HERE, in a quite devastating analysis of Gordon Brown's likely fortunes. He's not often wrong.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr Parris is not often wrong and this is a very good article. I only disagree with one point - he dismisses Alan Milburn too lightly.

Frankly, the man has good hair, a safe seat and is not mixed up with recent Labour administration decisions or failures.

Labour would do well to think again of Mr Milburn if they do decide to drop Mr Brown. Mr Milburn would undoubtedly enter the race for the Labour leadership if such an occassion did arise. It would be a tough choice between him and Mr Milliband.

I think Mr Milburn would be able to better span the divide between Old and New Labour than almost any other candidate.

Man in a Shed said...

Or perhaps Kevin Rudd ?

Nick said...

Mathew Parris states clearly what every disappointed Labour supporter really thinks. My opposite Labour chums are as distressed as anyone at the lack of "vision" and backbone. As Guido notes we've already seen the "Baseball Cap" moment with Brown's vanity publication being handed to Uganda's school-kids. He is simply not fit for purpose. Vince Cable or David Cameron are far better PM material any day of the week. The real issue is that every Labour supporter secretly agrees with my point. (At least privately)

javelin said...

In Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power.

Law 10 : Infection : Always Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky.

The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will draw it on you.

This law admits no reversal. Its application is univeralThe is nothing to be gained by associating with those who infect you with their misery.

---------------------------------

This law predicts that, as well as Alistair Darling and Des Brown, the rest of the cabinet will have misforture drawn upon them by Gordon Brown.

verity said...

I said Brown was finished two weeks after he'd taken office. He has no presence, he is touchy and thin-skinned, he is deadly as a speaker, and as Parrish says, he's a bad luck magnet. He also has a self-deluded air of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

I said this ages ago! Brown and Mclaren both have the ability to smile awkwardly and make out the world is wonderful even when they are stuffing up! In reality, Brown and Mclaren are symptoms of Britain today, where our "leaders" can fail to do their jobs in every way possible, and yet still stay in office. Brown goes on about what it means to be British, surely British have always been a nation of honour? Surely Gordon should do the honourable thing, admit he isn't up to the job (that will be alot more difficult for him to do than keep the status quo) and fall on his sword. Sadly, I feel he will do as Mclaren did, and hang on until he is pushed. Both men looked out of their depth...

verity said...

[8:50] - He will absolutely certainly cling on until someone hammers his fingertips off the ledge.

dizzy said...

Didn't Osbourne make this comparison too? Steve Mclaren, number two for years and then suddenly finds out being number one is not as easy as he thought.

Anonymous said...

dizzy it's not only that...

It's that everyone thought Sven and Blair were bad, but their sucessors proved even worse!...and in many quarters, people wish they could come back!

I heard someone saying they felt sorry for Mclaren, as "he has put so much into the job, and worked really hard"... its this view I really hate, if you fail in a job, you deserve to be sacked! Its similar to how people said they felt sorry for Darling when he had to announce the lost cds in parliament...I didn't feel sorry, he gets paid handsomely for it, and would take the plaudits if the unlikely event of him getting something right actually occurred... so he should expect the criticism when he messes up...
I would have a small amount of respect for Mclaren (as oppposed to 0% respect) if he had resigned. He waited to be sacked so he could pick up his nice pay check. In a way, the same is true for Gordon, he has convinced himself for so many years, that he would be a great PM, that it feels like he is unable to see reality. Gordon talks about being British, but if he was to stay true to his word, he would do the British thing, and fall on his sword...

cassander said...

Worst of all: the poor bas***d is called McClaren and nobody, but nobody gets his name right... oh well, who cares - they should have kept Sven-Goran, that's what I think!

verity said...

Brown was always unable to see the reality. He seems to have sincerely believed he was a good chancellor - although I find this hard to believe. He's got to have been able to see how destructive he was and how destructive and malign the whole New Labour project is.

Anyway, he's already a failure at No 10 and Labour will find a way to bundle him out the door. I give him six more months.

strapworld said...

Brown, like all bullies, is a coward. BUT so are the sycophants who sit alongside him and around the cabinet table. Each is dependant upon each other and I cannot see any of those cowards taking the big coward on!

It would have to be a call from the membership and the majority of MP's.

I saw a section, this evening, of Brown's interview with Sky's Labour Loving Political Editor Adam Boulton. Brown is in denial. He cannot accept that he is anything but SUPERMAN.

God help us all. I am now hoping the military will take over.

Gazza said...

Matthew Parris is spot on - and Parris was spot in the summer as well when he swam against the broadsheets' tide and wrote that Gordon's supposed great intellect and uber-managerial powers were all total shams.

Gordon has always been a political bully, a devious plotter and a coward. The tax greed, rapid-fire confusion and deadly small-print of his budgets as Chancellor proved that.

But now he is PM. And now Gordon orders his hapless mini-me's Darling, Smith, Browne and Miliband etc to do only his strict bidding and not to dare to deviate. They are only to follow his orders.

But his orders have now been screwed up. So Gordon has been forcing his mini-me's out from the bunker, alone, to soak up the worst of the media's early and incoming fire. And only after his mini-me's have taken the most damaging of the (very possibly mortal) hits, does brave Gordon then decide to break his own cover - when of course most of the ammunition has been spent, or the attackers have moved elsewhere.

But think about this...

While Gordon will have been humiliated at his Government's recent screw-ups and plummeting polls, he will probably just be very angry and frustrated. But there is one thing that will really, and I mean REALLY, send Gordon over the edge.

And that is the certain and undisputable knowledge that a certain Tony Blair is currently looking at Gordon and his efforts -and laughing his head off.

Man in a Shed said...

There is a danger now of the "Ming overkill" effect. If we're not careful Brown will get removed in another Labour party putsch ( lets not forget that that's how he really grabbed power in the first place - they're not so innocent ), before the voters get to thank him at the ballot box.

Is it time to start the Tory save Brown campaign ?

bebopper said...

Parris is a national treasure.
He said of Brown, before he took office, that people kept saying that he shouldn't be underestimated. It had become a journalistic cliche.
Typical Parris: he said Brown deserved to be ill-considered and events have borne this out.

verity said...

Brown always looked inadequate - from years ago. I don't know why anyone ever took him seriously.

Blair apparently had charm - not to this gal, but to some people in the media - but Brown had/has absolutely nothing. No charm, no vision, no personality even. No engaging wit. No presence, especially when wearing a lounge suit to a white tie event. The man is the hole in the middle of a doughnut.

Of course, I love it that he's the prime minister because he will be so easy to dislodge, but I cannot understand how this happened. It's bizarre.

tapestry said...

Funny how it takes the MSM til it's blindingly obvious Brown cannot hack it as leader before they start writing about such a thing, as if they were having a eureka moment.

Blogs have been onto Brown's inability to lead for yonks, plus suggesting that Labour will ditch him...maybe as part of rejecting the Constitution - with any luck.

Labour could dump not only Brown but also Blairism and revert to being a eurosceptic party as they were pre-94, outflanking Cameron.

It's not the whether Brown will fall that's interesting, it's the how, and where will labour go next.

Parriss is trying to avoid the real issues, and make Brown's hopelessness as a leader sound interesting, which it isn't any more. His constant failures are already last week's fish and chip paper, not news worthy of intelligent commenttp.

Anonymous said...

Brown's September indecision will prove fatal for his prospects. He dithered, fluffed it and missed the only electoral bandwagon he was ever likely to catch. (Apart of course from the glorious stage-managed procession to No 10, to the cheers of millions of adoring supporters, and miraculously unopposed). His only course now is from bad to worse. Unluckily for us all.

Oscar Miller said...

David Davis as good as I've ever seen him on Marr's Sunday show. He came across every inch a Home Sec in waiting and made a host of excellent points, without any of his usual umming and errring. By contrast Jack Straw came across as arrogant and out of touch. Suave yes (despite the huge bandage he had on his thumb - wonder how that injury happened?) - but still peddling the discredited 'good in a crisis' meme and sticking by ID cards without batting an eyelid. As for the mythical handling of the July terror attacks - lets face it Brown just happened to get lucky that those terrorists achieved the nearly impossible - they were more incompetent than the government.

Oscar Miller said...

BTW - I agree that Alan Milburn is the man to watch. Parris did underestimate him, in an otherwise very perceptive article.

canvas said...

Gordon Brown could turn out to the most unpopular PM in history.

Every day he looks more and more like Richard Nixon...all grey, squidgy and rubbery...

I think Brown should call that general election right now...

I think either Alan Johnson or David Miliband would be fine in the role as 'caretaker'...until the public decide. Anybody but Brown.

jane said...

on the contrary, Matthew Parris is nearly always wrong, though he does write very nicely. But on Gordon I think he may be right this time.

Anonymous said...

Iain

Great article here which blames Brown for England's defeat. Bit tenuous, but hey when a man's down the only question is how hard to kick.

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?storyID=9591

Sp

John said...

I can trump you Verity. I said Blair and Brown were a pair of useless, wrecking arses in 1994 and I've never once seen anything which has made me change that opinion. Mind you, that doesn't make me clever or anything: It's as plain as a pikestaff. Evil and stupid, the pair of them.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a degree of surprise in this thread with which I am absolutely amazed. Verity said he was finished two weeks into his premiership?! Parris said the same months before he succeeded and I agreed. Brown was so obviously ill-suited to this role that we all ought to have been saying "I told you so" long before now.

Equally surprisingis the rapidity with which contributors to this thread seem to write him off. He is finished as a success story but he does possess powers of reilience and survival which are possibly unrivalled. Labour have a huge inbuilt advantage; to the extent that the blues need a 10 point lead even to draw level. At six points ahead we can't be too triumphant yet. Brown will provide further ammunition but the tories have a long way to go until they can be confident of victory in 2009/10.

Never overestimate the ability of the electorate to hold a grudge. Unless Cameron & co keep up the pressure, Brown will be able to escape his present polling negatives....

verity said...

Very perceptive posts from Canvas and Tapestry.

John - I wasn't in Britain in 1994 otherwise I am sure I too would have judged Blair and Brown incompetent, rather stupid - i.e., no Dianaesque "emotional intelligence", and wicked. I certainly judged them so when they got in to office. In fact, I could barely believe it.

[12:45] - I can't see how he can hold on. He lurches around from one crisis to the next, never giving the even the appearance of being in control. His air of entitlement is nauseating.

It doesn't matter how stubborn he is, and he has that dull stubbornness that other people often give in to just to get the issue out of the way, people don't like him. He's not prime ministerial. He has the soul of a middle manager protecting his turf.

He has no admirable personal qualities. Do you realise that? He doesn't even have a sense of humour.

Going to England matches - and jinxing them - just isn't the way to the voter's heart, since the voter had never heard that he was a footie fan before.

If he is not gone by the end of six months, I will be astounded. I am so looking forward to it.

DiscoveredJoys said...

What would Thatcher do?

Cameron ought to be doing it.

Is the PM the new Bob Paisley. said...

The labour boss is being destroyed by an Oxbridge conspiracy. What does that have to do with McLaren who just managed a not very good side. You might as well say is he the new Bob Paisley.

John said...

Sorry Verity - I know I sounded a smart-arse when in fact the worthlessness of Blair and Brown was obvious to a schoochild in 1994. I didn't mean to paint myself the oracle - rather to be incredulous that so many people didn't notice this for themselves.

verity said...

No, no! Not at all. When I came home to see my mother and Blair came on the TV, I said, "There's something very unsettling about that man's face." At the same time, I could see that he was going to get in. There was a sickening inevitability about Blair.

jonathan hemlock said...

So, Iain,

are you thinking...