Brown’s Letter from America….
Well not quite a letter but more, if the Wall Street Journal blog is to believed, a friendly helping of political advice. My first question when reading this has to be simply why? It is to be rightly presumed that Obama doesn’t posses any fairy dust that will transform Brown’s rather turnip-shaped government into a golden election winning carriage. Also, if Brown is seeking advice from Obama he has to contextualise it, so, while it maybe true that;
The advice of President Obama’s senior aides is like gold dust for parties of the left at the moment. This is the election winning team that beat Hillary Clinton and then John McCain to win power. The campaigning techniques they used were cutting edge
it is also true that they achieved this victory against a President and a Republican Party whose popularity was shot to pieces outside traditional Republican states. Obama’s position is thus more analogous to that of Tony Blair in 1997 and bares little relation to that of Gordon Brown in 2009.
It is here we see the nub of the problem; Brown tries too hard to ape Blair when he can’t and thus ironically, in seeming to escape his shadow, is actually more captive of it as Prime Minister than he ever was as Chancellor. This is sad because at PMQ’s today Brown looked comfortable and almost confident as Cameron questioned him about relife efforts in Cumbria. Whisper it quietly but he almost looked Prime Ministerial and the type of leader who, if he played to his strengths, could actually redirect and save Labour.
However, the one regard where he should take hints from Blair, his scope and vision Brown fails to seize the moment. If Brown, were for example, to advance electoral reform his stoicism might actually convince people of his sincerity. However, this opportunity is now lost because Brown has dithered for too long and for too long he has tried to look like a Scottish Blair and the poll bounce that Labour enjoyed when he took over the premiership has evaporated; it would have done naturally to a degree in any case but it need not have to this extent.
Even Cameron’s broadsides about the government ‘funding extremism’ didn’t knock Brown and he deftly made Cameron look the extremist and himself the safe pair of hands. In both these exchanges we saw glimpses of what Brown could and maybe should have been but in the above story we are reminded of his fatal flaw; that too much he aspires to be something he can never be and in doing so he will miss the chance to change Labour and lead them into a fourth-term.