Gordon Brown – Presbyterian Hit Man

Gordon Brown
I’m impressed. I’m properly impressed. Gordon Brown’s night raid on the Liberal party was muscular shit-kicking, twenty-first century politics. It was never going to work but that wasn’t the point. I don’t think Brown ever actually expected to abduct Ashdown or Neuberger. His message was simpler. He was saying: “you’re nothing to me, you’re a political irrelevance. You’re a resource. You have some good people and If I want to I’ll talk to them.”

So it’s not exactly what it seems: it’s not an inclusive gesture, it’s not a mold-breaking ‘big tent’ initiative. It’s a successful effort to rough up and irritate the third party. Brown’s making a clear enough statement about what we can expect of his premiership: that’s the end of charm and emolience, people. Communication will not be this administration’s watchword. Don’t expect a lot of fluffy ecumenical bullshit. Do expect Sopranos-style political whack jobs and plenty of attitude. As a repositioning exercise it’s persuasive: Brown means business and, I reckon, in these febrile times, that’s probably a good thing…


  1. Pre Granita I read his biography and he always struck me as a more principled leader than Blair. Scottish presbyterian roots. More frugal. Sparse. I’m hoping he shakes things up and gets rid of this greedy excess culture that has made Britain more at ease with itself but less affronted by the gaps elsewhere.

    Troops out of Iraq would be a good start.

  2. I agree Steve. He strikes me as a guy who just doesn’t give a toss about being slick. But I don’t think he’ll pull out of Iraq because it’s popular. He’ll pull out because every expert now says the end mission is now unrealisable. I also think Cameron is in for a huge fight now.

  3. Wow. You’ve got me all excited about Gordon Brown. I didn’t think that was possible. I like your take on it… but I did just listen to him talking to Mariella Frostrup on R4 about his favourite books, and he was doing the same old i’m-just-a-friendly-kinda-guy-with-kids choosing-books-that-reflect-my-views-on-society bullshit, which I found surprisingly Cameron/Blair.

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