Brown’s first year at No 10

All of the media today mark the first anniversary of Gordon Brown taking over from Tony Blair as Prime Minister. Naturally the “Guardian has a good deal of analysis. It could hardly bee a worse day for anniversary reflections, following on appalling opinion poll ratings for Labour and for Brown specifically and today’s news of the party coming fifth in the Henley by-election.
For a Labour loyalist like me who has long had a great respect for Brown (and even greatest admiration – with qualifications – for Blair), the last 12 months have seemed like a Greek tragedy. How did someone so talented who wanted the job so much for so long fall from favour so far and so fast?
One cannot blame Brown for the increases in oil and food prices and the slow-down in the economy which are the result of global factors, but of course one can blame him for a string of indecisive positions, most notably the fiasco over the Autumn General Election that never happened (at the time, I blogged about my opposition).
So, should we have seen this coming? Consider these two quotes taken from a decade apart:

“‘There is a great streak of self-doubt about Gordon’. Others have made a similar point, on a deep background basis, though, in a man whose springs of action were forged in such a religious setting, it is perhaps not surprising that there should be theological-style doubts from time to time. Set against those misgivings is the enormous intellectual effort he puts into making up his mind before he acts. Brown, his friends and aides agree, takes a very long time to reach decisions – but once there, it is virtually impossible to shift him.”

“Gordon Brown: The Biography” by Paul Routledge 1998

“The Guardian has spoken to eight people who have either known Brown for up to 20 years or have worked closely with him; they describe a man who works fiendishly long hours and is preoccupied by minutiae. There is anxiety that he is too short-term, worrying about the immediate, rather than concentrating on the strategic. The early morning and late night messages are often brusque though they are certainly keeping people on their toes. His image in Whitehall is undoubtedly being fashioned by the shock many civil servants experience when Brown emails them directly for the first time, expects an instant response and draws them into a vortex of activity that runs into the night and the next day.”

“Guardian” article, 25 June 2008

One Comment

  • Mavis Smith

    How can – you ask – you know the answer – MEDIA.
    They have had nobody else they want to drag down for the past year.
    I want the ‘communicators’ or ‘media’ to get off his back or put their money where their mouths are and run for Parliament.
    They put their opinions across as ‘news’. The journalists are doing their profession a disservice.
    If anybody expected Henley to go anything but ‘blue’ they are off their trolleys and a bye election never has a high turnout anyway.
    Talk about a lot of hot air from the chattering class.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>