"Don't try to take on a new personality; it doesn't work."
Someone said to be that Gordon Brown is turning into Richard Nixon. Admittedly there is a facial similarity with the hang dog expression and jowls, but until now I hadn't thought about the psychological similarities. I have quite a fascination for Nixon and have probably read more books about him and by him than about any other politician bar Margaret Thatcher.
But think about it. Like Nixon, Brown's in a very difficult corner, but can't seem to acknowledge the hole he is in. Like Nixon, he constantly talks about 'getting on with the job'. All around him, key political allies maintain a pretence that all is well and that people are not really consumed by
The Labour conference is proceeding as normal, but there is an elephant in the room. Last night I had an email from a friend which summed it up.
It's like a family holiday where uncle's just been revealed as a cross dresser + 2 aunties shagging the same cousin.... Keep up appearances til they get home with the carving knives... These people are deluded....One example of Gordon's paranoia is the campaign by his acolytes (translation: Charlie Whelan & friends) to get Martin Bright sacked as political editor of the New Statesman for not being sufficiently 'on message'. Private Eye has already revealed Whelan's bullying of Bright and his aggression towards Bright's wife.
Whelan duly gave Thorpe [Mrs Bright] and listening hacks a rambling monologue in which he insisted her husband and the father of her two children should be fired. “I’m no fan of Livingstone, but Martin Bright should not be political editor after what he did,” he said. “I’m going to talk to Geoffrey… He can’t allow criticism of Gordon. If Geoffrey’s got any sense, he’ll listen.”There's more detail at Harry's Place HERE. Bright himself acknowledged what has been going on in a recent blogpost which he ended with the words...
As someone who has experienced at first hand the inept mafioso tactics of Brown’s political gangsters, I could not agree more.
As Harry's Place said, Brown went beserk when Bright did his documentary exposing Ken Livingstone, which did him so much damage in the mayoral campaign. Rumour is that Brown tried to get his old mucker Geoffrey Robinson to sack him from the New Statesman at that point. Robinson wisely demurred, but since then there has been a drip drop campaign to oust Bright.
According to Harry's Place...
A hate campaign ensued and soon trade unions were drafted in as muscle, threatening to withdraw their advertising from New Statesman unless Martin Bright was given the boot.
Had it not been for the sale of 50% of the NS to Mike Danson, there is little doubt in my mind that Robinson would eventually have succumbed to the pressure. Danson, however, is made of sterner stuff.
Tribune alleges that the new NS editor, Jason Cowley, also wishes to relieve Bright of his weekly column, but has found out that it is protected in Bright's contract. Cowley has also hired a new political correspondent, James MacIntyre (son of Don), a very well thought of young journo currently plying his trade at the Independent. It's getting to the point where Bright could sue for constructive dismissal.
So Martin Bright is now getting the Ivan Lewis treatment from Brown's henchmen. I don't know why anyone would be surprised. Lewis was the Minister whose slightly amorous text messages somehow found their way into the Sunday papers, coincidentally a few days after he had made some slightly off colour remarks about the direction of the government. Funny that. Can't think how that happened. Nick Cohen can though. He catalogues how Brown is using his thugs to stamp on any sign of internal dissent in THIS article.
All of this coincides with the reemergence of Charlie Whelan as one of Gordon Brown's key allies. His new role in UNITE gives him access to all sorts of levers of power, and believe you me he is pulling them. And allied with the reemergence of Derek Draper as a power in the Labour land, it's easy to see the way the wind is blowing.
The signals being sent out to any dissident is: mess with us and we will mess with you. What's so Nixonian is that once you're on their enemies list they never give up, even though they are meant to be running the country.
I wonder if Alex Hilton is having a good time in Manchester.