Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The problem with Gordon Brown

There was a Labour MP on BBC Radio 5 at about eleven this morning, repeatedly talking over the other people in her attempt to say how good a person Gordon Brown is. In an attempt to make him sound compassionate, she said that he even sent flowers to a female MP who was ill. It says a great deal that it was necessary for this story to be told - I doubt anyone would have thought it necessary with Tony Blair.

My reply to that is simple. It is easy to be kind and considerate to your friends. It is much harder to be thoughtful and considerate towards the millions of people who are not your friends. It very much seems to me that Gordon Brown is someone who has no time for anyone who does not agree 100% with him - as far as he is concerned, it's my way or the highway.

For this and other reasons, he has never come across to me as being a likeable fellow.

People will complain that I do not really know him, and the description of him portrayed above is wide of the mark and a travesty. But the problem is, it is the image he projects. I disagreed with some of what Tony Blair stood for - although there is much that I agreed with - yet I can easily imagine going down to the pub with him and having a drink. We might discuss politics, and the discussion might get heated, but at the end we would agree to disagree and get on with drinking the beer (or, more possibly in his case, wine).

I cannot see this with Brown. Going to the pub with him would be an excruciating experience. He does not seem capable of accepting that other people have a different opinion to him. If you disagree with him, then you are persona non grata. That is the cause of part of the problem he has found himself in - he has alienated and pushed away many people in his own party, sometimes over trivial differences.

This is important. True, I do not want him pulling silly publicity stunts like the YouTube debacle - that is not his style. He could do statesmanlike seniority very well, but again, he does not try that. Instead, he comes across as extremely argumentative. He also seems incapable of admitting when he has made mistakes. The self-belief he has in his own skills comes across as being highly arrogant.

He is undoubtedly extremely intelligent. Yet that intelligence is hard to see through the rhetoric and party line that he spins. A good way of showing intelligence is to debate - take in another person's contrary point of view and argue your point. Unfortunately, he does not try that. Instead, he trots out the same tired lines repeatedly. Prime Minister's Questions used to be great fun in the days of Blair and Hague, both good orators. Now it is a frustrating bore, as Brown refuses to attempt to even answer questions and just repeats the same rhetoric (sometimes which is not even related to the question).

These are not the skills that the Prime Minister of the country should have, and it does not project a good image of the country.

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