October 06, 2007

Profile in Courage or not

Well the news has come through, Gordon Brown has postponed the election we were apparantly going to have. It seems that Mr Brown feels that he can't win- surveys and polls conducted in marginals over the weekend have convinced him of that. But lets be frank, there is in my opinion massive damage to Mr Brown's reputation. For a start, throughout his career Mr Brown has shown a talent for hesitating and not plunging the knife in- he could have stood for the Labour leadership in 1992, in 1994 and could have unseated Mr Blair as well at various points, but he never did. He backed off at every possible opportunity. Well he has backed off again.

The other problem is that Mr Brown now has to govern. That shouldn't be a problem. But at the moment the economic situation is benign, public services are ok etc. Were the economic situation to get worse then Mr Brown would lose in the polls. Furthermore public service expenditure is going to slow by all projections which means there won't be much improvement across the next couple of years, again for Mr Brown that won't be good in the polls. Mr Brown seems to me to be relying on something turning up- but I can't see that at the moment, the economy and the country are in places where what turns up will be good for him. Apart that is from the inevitable two issues- terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which are quite unpredictable in their impact. Politics as Harold Macmillan said is about 'events, dear boy, events': there will be lots of events before an election in 2009 which may occur against the backdrop of a recession.

Mr Brown has advertised his own preference to have an election now, he has backed out because he thought he might lose. By taking his troops right to the brink of battle and then skulking away, the Prime Minister has displayed a very public loss of nerve. A public loss of nerve that isn't exactly going to endear him to the population at large or indeed to his own party, used to the adroit handling of Mr Blair who when it came to this kind of thing was viciously clinical.

Obviously Mr Brown can dig himself out of this, but this decision is unwise and caps a bad week for the new Prime Minister.

4 comments:

Lord Higham-Johnson said...

Tiberius, another sane, measured response from you on an issue about too much spin, too much numbers crunching, not enough stick by your guns and do it.

I fear we lack good leaders at this time in our history and I refer to the world here, not just Britain.

Vino S said...

I was always skeptical of the idea that Brown would call an early election. As I said on my blog, he is naturally cautious. However, the mistake was to let the speculation go on. After his conference speech, when he was back in London, he should have said something along the lines of 'Now I'm back from the seaside I am going to go back to work and make the aspirations I laid out in my speech a reality. There will be no quick poll until people have had a chance to see me in action'. Something like that would have defused the election speculation at an early enough stage. Now he looks quite cowardly and this could prove damaging.

mutleythedog said...

If all we read in the press about him booking ad space and hiring staff is true then he is just a flake...

Gracchi said...

I think I second all of your comments- cheers lads!