Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time to go

Each one of us, whatever the extent of our greatness, must consider, when we hold the highest offices in the land, at what hour and what day our time has passed. Sometimes it is possible to depart on a point of principle; sometimes we must recognise that age, infirmity or incapacity requires us to muster whatever dignity remains to us.

Mr Gordon Brown's political opponents may fervently wish him every success this week in Manchester. I will no longer mock him as the Queen's ghillie. He deserves the respect one accords to a mortally wounded opponent. Instead I give him this advice: he should beware the ploys of the Tories, who have never failed to stoop to the basest, meanest forms of political strategems and may well conspire to keep him in office.

He should also beware the high passion, the false success and the treacherous acclaim of the party assembly. I enjoyed spending a few days with the remnants of the Liberal Party in Dorset last week. It appeared to me at close quarters to be a party ready for government. That was not apparent to the nation at large; and indeed Mr Nick Clegg's rashness in discussions with the press suggests a continuing need for maturity and gravitas.

Mr Brown, on the other hand, claims these self-same qualities of maturity and gravitas, confusing them with the experience which he may rightly lay claim. It is apparent to all but himself - and a somewhat naive writer of children's books, a Miss Rowling - that he is unable to demonstrate the leadership the nation leads at a time of economic and financial crisis. The observer has no need to be Mr JS Mill to see that governments cannot claim to be holding the financiers to account whilst continuing to subsidise and underwrite their adventures.

On waking today I was astonished to hear the Prime Minister announce his solution to the ills of the nation, indeed, it seems, to the ills of the world and certainly, it must have seemed to him, to the troubles of his own party. The state, he proposes, will take care of all children of two. Like a nanny of old, it will take them from their parents and place them in nurseries. No-one shall have to pay for this nanny, no-one that is except the taxpayer in general and he will pay more when he has already paid enough; when he struggles to pay for his home and his transport to work; when he fears for his employment and his future. It was an announcement that was ill-timed and ill-considered; indeed it was an announcement that lays bare the Marxist soul of the new party of labour, the desire to control and organise every aspect of each citizen's life.

Mr Brown stated "I will do better" like a chastised child, one old enough to talk and discuss matters with his teachers. His lieutenants may assure him that he is doing better. He should ignore their false smiles and treacherous assurances, gather up his kilt with dignity and head for the Highlands.



Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

On Saturday night, I heard a report on BBC World Service ahead of the Labor Party conference that seemed to suggest that Brown is the victim of circumstances - inheriting a bad economy, etc. - and thus his fortunes are similar to those of John Major, who ended up not quite as beloved by the public as he might have hoped. One commentator offered the suggestion that public trust and affection are like a woman's chastity, that once lost it can never be regained.

My question, Mr. Gladstone, is this - right now, the Tories are the only party with political viability to form a government ahead of some kind of national election (if such be possible; it seems your government polity has changed a bit). With the Liberal Democrats in such a distinct minority, and with Labor in such a weakened state, is it worth it to risk Conservative rule at a time when such could only lead to disaster (as it has in the United States)?

WEG said...

Indeed Mr Brown seeks to paint himself as circumscribed by events. However he fell from favour with the British public many months prior to the present crisis. I do not propose to choose between socialists and Conservatives and neither is there a need for the British public to make such a choice, to choose calamity over disaster or Scylla over Charybdis. Your constitution is magnificent in many respects; yet it allows for but two choices for your President and those who choose otherwise may find themselves saddled with a personage not at all to their liking.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Actually, our Constitution says nothing about how many people may run for the Presidency; in its original written form, the winner was President, the runner-up Vice President. Only after the 1800 elections made the practice of having a VP of the same part some kind of common sense were the rules rewritten, slightly, to create the situation we have now. In fact, there have been two elections in the past century where a third party managed to skew election results. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt, disgusted with his hand-picked successor (William Howard Taft) ran against him and the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt out-polled Taft, but allowed Wilson to win (only the second Democrat to do so between 1860 and 1932). In 1992, Ross Perot, while winning no Electoral Votes, took about 19.5% of the popular vote, about half what Pres. Bush won, allowing Bill Clinton to win.

Our media and our political climate do not allow for a wider variety. More's the pity. I actually kind of admire countries like France, Italy, and Israel that have all sorts of parties that manage to win seats in Parliament, etc. Even the British public have Labor, Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and a few others, as well, with seats and a voice.