One of the funnier moments in the political calendar
recently was when Cherie Blair accused Gordon
Brown of telling lies. As a barrister Cherie should
have vast experience in the art of being barely
audible from years of whispering to m'lud. But
even barristers are known for the odd indiscretion.
Anger having got the better of prudence, she has
left herself vulnerable to howls of 'splitter'.
is the sort of gaffe the public has come to expect
from a woman who was fined £10 for not having
a train ticket on the day of her appointment to
the bench as a criminal court judge, and who once
asked a wheelchair bound comedian, 'do you do
unpersuasive denial that she uttered the deadly
words has left her hoist on her own petard, leaving
her critique of Brown devalued and herself the
victim of blowback. There were few rushing to
the bookies to bet against fly on the wall Bloomberg
agency reporter Carolin Lotter's version of events.
accusing Brown of lying Cherie Blair knows what
she is talking about, having made the long-term
acquaintance of one of the biggest liars in modern
British political history. It is easy to imagine
the pillow talk that night in the Blair boudoir
when Cherie whispered to Tony that Gordon was
a dishonest rotter. What could her husband do
- mumble something indecipherable and then try
to change the subject? New Labour under the leadership
of Blair has produced more British liars than
income tax ever managed. Cheri desperately needs
to get with the programme. If she genuinely thinks
Gordon is something Tony isn't she would be well
advised to access marriage guidance counselling
or a private detective. She clearly does not know
her own husband.
all megalomaniacs Blair finds it hard to let go
of the power that political leadership brings
with it. Margaret Thatcher ended up so demented
by the loss of it that it is said that for months
after she sustained the order of the boot her
advisors continued to ply her with position papers
as part of managing her cold turkey and alleviating
the withdrawal symptoms.
Brown's battle to give Blair the heave ho both
men have been damaged. Blair having been holed
below the waterline has little choice but to go.
Nevertheless he has forced Brown to break cover,
which in turn has prompted serious doubts about
the current chancellor's ability to lead either
Labour or the country. Blair with lots of fulfilled
ambition is immune to allegations that he is ambitious.
Not so Brown, whose ambition has allowed the Blair
rearguard to portray the would-be prime minister
enraged is Blair by the thought that Gordon Brown
or anybody else may possess the audacity to seek
to replace him as leader, he has thus far refused
to place his imprimatur on Brown as his successor.
According to Frank Millar of the Irish Times a
poll conducted in England after the failed coup
to remove Blair concluded that Brown is regarded
by voters as less honest than the Tory contender
for prime minister, David Cameron, and the more
likely of the two 'to stab a colleague in the
back'. Not that it seems to be having much of
an impact. William Hill, the bookies, were making
Brown the clear 7/2 odds on favourite to be next
difference will Brown make as prime minister?
He claims to be a politician of substance rather
than celebrity. Perhaps, but he is almost certain
to secure victory for style over substance. He
is determined to infect the public sector with
the virus of private capital, introduce ID cards,
erode civil liberties, enhance police powers,
and answer 'yes master' each time Bush shouts
'yo Brown.' Will he do anything to reverse the
abominable inequality where it is estimated that
the average City of London earnings are now 160
times the minimum wage? Perhaps the only area
his presence, or lack of it, may be felt in is
Ireland where he is highly unlikely to be as bewitched
by the incessant squabbling of the Stormont political
class as his predecessor.
almost certain spectacle of a closed circle undemocratically
passing on leadership, as if it were a perk of
an elite rather than the inalienable right of
a democracy, should never be tolerated in a party
which claims to be radical. That a camarilla can
dictate and control events so tightly resonates
more of 1970s regime change in Argentina than
a modern European democracy in 2006. Little surprise
that only a quarter of the electorate has voted
the Labour Party into office for a third term.
Labour MP Michael Meacher argues that with Brown
and Blair both moving even further to the right:
is increasingly clear that the Labour party
and the public deserve an open contest for the
leadership, between candidates representing
all the main wings of the party - not just the
Brownite right and the Blairite far-right. They
want a debate on policies, not a parade of personalities.
the new supremo, as seems likely, Brown will lead
a party that is faring poorly in the polls, faces
great mistrust, is involved in a police investigation
over the source of its funding, and is behind
two deeply unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An alternative scenario is that Gordon Brown will
perhaps be one of those leaders that Britain never
had. Does it really matter?