Monday, 26 April 2010

This Is How It Ends...

Not with a bang, with a bust-up.

The anti-Brown press - which is just about all of it, isn't it? - is turning the screw on Labour today. Apart from the Mirror, of course, but no one reads that, there are reports coming in all over the place of recriminations beginning for what has been a terrible Labour election campaign, of splits between several factions appearing and of maneuvering behind the scenes to replace Brown already starting.

So far, we have seen Brown flip flop over the Liberal Democrats in two - let's be honest for a minute here - generally dreadful TV debates for him, and during which he looked old and tired set against a pair of fresh-faced, would-be political assassins standing nearby, looking like peas in a coalition. Forget about what Brown said - (which was heard-it-all-before tractor stats in the main anyway) - it's how he looked that counted. And he looked awful.

But is his problem really that superficial? Is it really a case of no style, just substance? Well, of course not. He does have a style of sorts, it's just not a particularly pleasant one that usually involves swearing at people off camera and growling like some statistic-obsessed, gummy old circus lion while on it. Also, "style" - which I assume in this case means an awareness of the needs for certain kinds of presentational and rhetorical skills to communicate a message forcefully but attractively - does not denote superficiality, quite the opposite in fact. So no, Brown's problem is not just that he lacks the charisma or charm of a Cameron, it's that he lacks the debating skills, too. That's a talent gap and one that Clegg does not share with him, as we have learned.

It's not just Brown who's been shown-up in his true light- hiding from the public throughout his so-called campaign, talking to small rooms full of T-shirt-wearing die-hard Labour loyalists, leaving TV viewers with the impression that he's actually talking to himself - using an autocue(!) - it's the disunited team full of second raters behind him too. What twit put Ed Miliband in charge of the manifesto? What fool put Peter "Divide and Rule" Mandelson in charge of party unity? What idiot put wee Dougie Alexander in charge of the coffee and cream cakes? That is a role call of mediocrity if ever I saw one ( have I got those roles right? They seem to change so often these days). And Labour has them coming out of its ears and we're fed up to the back teeth with them.

Now, I know you will disagree with me about Mandelson, but before you do, just think very carefully and ask yourself what, exactly, he has achieved in his time in office that warrants the kind of respect and lavish praise he receives all the time? Is it because people are frightened about what he'll do to them if they don't toe his line? Of course it is. But to me, that's no measure of political success - or of great service to your country. No, poisonous he may be, and an effective Labour party heavy and paid-up Euro goon too, but true statesman he ain't and never will be. Remember, the answer to all of the above "What idiot..." questions is not just "Gordon Brown", it's "Peter Mandelson", too. Seems he slithers out from under the charge of incompetence, though, because that's what he does. Brown, fortunately, doesn't. The full tidal wave of disapproval is about to reach landfall and swallow him up, before spitting him out hundreds of miles from Number 10. Mandelson already has a lifeboat standing by, with the EU logo stamped all over it.

It's hard to tell how bad this defeat will be for Labour. Just like Boris Johnson, I hope it is one of those earthquake moments where their deceit, mediocrity, anti-democratic behaviour and general, total failure leads to their final demise, with the Lib Dems taking over the mantle of official Opposition to a Conservative government with a working majority. One thing is pretty clear to me: the final leaders' debate is an irrelevance. It's sort of like the final Test in a dead rubber. You go to see it because you like the sport, and someone might do something interesting. But nothing can change the fact that (from Brown's perspective) the series has already gone. In other words, once again, I think the polls are flattering them and I firmly believe the defeat for Labour will be shattering.

For forcing the unelected, unelectable, utter disaster Brown on us for three years, that would be less than Labour deserves. As it is, they've run out of ideas and run out of options. All we will see from here until election day is the sad old fraud making bigger and bigger speeches in front of smaller and smaller rooms of loyalists, perhaps even after the election is over and the counts have come in. But he'll keep on going, not willing to believe that the game is finished and the crowd's gone home. Someone from Sky News watches on a monitor; the live feed was pulled hours ago. The producer signals to the cameramen to get ready to pack up - it's time to go - as he reaches down and flicks the switch on the monitor and, for the last time, turns Brown off. Click.

And then he was gone.


  1. In respect of how Brown looked... yes, tired, worn out, etc.

    But did you look at his face?

    Botox or Polyfilla sprung to mind.

    Incidentally, I sort of predicted (last year, at the outcome in respect of Lib Dems as the official opposition to the Conservative government. You might like to take a look.


Any thoughts?