Blog powered by Typepad

« David Davis: the beginning or the end? | Main | Barbara Tuchman (1912 - 1989) »

Saturday, 21 June 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Although this is billed as a corrective to the bile being heaped on Brown, we should remember that Oborne is a journalist. He has to earn a crust by writing and - cynical me - what better way to manufacture a response than leaping to the defence of "Brown the Man" pitched in terms - how clever! - of "Brown the PM". BTW Oborne also sought and provoked a shocked reaction from the political class by breaking a taboo through blurting out on Marr's TV show that, pre-show in the "green room", Alan Duncan had apparently asked Marr not to raise something which might have been seen to be to Duncan's discredit.

But back to the article: Oborne praises Brown since Brown appears not to be as personally financially or politically corrupt as his predecessor. However, as Chancellor and now as PM he presided/presides over the mulcting of the productive in favour of the unproductive and, thereby, creating the greatest waste of British treasure (in terms of money spent to least effect) in British history. I agree with Oborne that Blair was probably worse since he combined an element of personalised corruption with the general corruption of the British body politic and connived in (as well as being part author of) Brown's creation of the British state as thief. But that's very faint praise indeed.

Again, call me cynical, but my belief is that Brown's apparent rectitude owes more to a complete inability to relate on a personal level to anyone (except as dependents) rather than on his favourite "son of the manse" theme of transparent honesty and selfless devotion to the common good. To be as corrupt as Blair you have to know what motivates the people you have to deal with and how you can use that motivation to make those people useful to you. Brown only knows the motivation of fear and overbearing authority (and, just to put in my bit of psychobabble here, that is what, I suspect, he suffered at home in the manse) which is why he is so useless among his equals at the EU and in Saudi. Irredeemably corrupt though he was Robert Walpole did far more for this country than Brown could ever do or dream of doing. I'm sure Brown publicly declares all the luncheon vouchers that he receives as PM. However, I don't believe this>episode reveals Brown as the sea-green incorruptible of Oborne's imaginings.

Well, I can't, or at least, I don't wish to, argue with any of that; it's just that being somewhat contrary by nature, myself, I thought it was worth drawing attention to Oborne's corrective. However, I have been struck by the number of people, not all of them allies, who have met Brown socially and report that he is an excellent companion, both warm and witty. Can't see it myself, from the outside looking in, but that's what they say.


I suppose no-one's all bad and there must have been occasions when Brown is as "warm and witty" in private as has been reported. I can see that Oborne's article was interesting in that it provides some rare positive comment on Brown. However, to compare Brown favourably in the corruption stakes with Blair is rather like saying that Crippen was "a better doctor" than Shipman: probably true but not a complete vote of confidence. Like you I have only his public image by which to judge Brown the man: that image shows someone totally at unease with himself and everybody else and whose body language just shouts that unease.

Well, when you put it like that, 'Umbongo', I suppose you're right.

(Sorry, Gordon, I did try, not very hard I know, but 'E' for Effort, wouldn't you say?)

The comments to this entry are closed.