22 February 2010

The allegations about Brown: The voters will decide the Prime Minister’s fate

Perhaps we should start with a positive comment about the Prime Minister.  Here is Rawnsley on Brown’s role in the banking crisis:

One very senior civil servant, in many ways a sceptic about Gordon Brown's leadership skills, gives him much of the credit for bold action in this crisis.

He quotes the civil servant as saying: "Gordon was prepared to say, 'We need to bail them out' despite the political risks. He took the lead, then allowed Alistair to do it."

Obviously, that fact is going to get smothered by the allegations about Brown’s bullying.  As events unfolded yesterday, Nick Robinson had two posts, here and here, that are well worth paying attention to:

Some will, no doubt, argue that how prime ministers behave matters much less than what they achieve.

Others will argue that bullying - if it took place - is different from other personal behaviour. It is simply unacceptable.

Overnight, the story has moved on:

Labour has gone on the offensive over Gordon Brown's temperament after an anti-bullying charity said it had been contacted by staff from his office.

The prime minister's Parliamentary aide called for evidence of the calls from the National Bullying Helpline.

We shall see where this fast moving story goes from here and how quickly Labour is able to close it down.

However, it should remembered that these rumours about Brown’s behaviour have been around for years.  They go back to Labour’s period in opposition, when Brown was pivotal, alongside Blair and Mandelson, in reshaping the party.

A running theme that has run through this blog has been Brown’s unsuitability to to be Prime Minister, mainly due to his poor communication and leadership skills, both of which are proven.  His interpersonal skills have also been questioned.

As discussed, Brown resembles Anthony Eden, a point picked up by Bruce Anderson:

There is a parallel with Eden. During Churchill's last government, when Eden was the inevitable successor, a number of senior Tories knew that Anthony would cock it up. They did not know quite how; they did know that he would find a way. But they could not think of an alternative. For Eden, read Gordon Brown; for senior Tories in the early Fifties, read Blairites from 1997 onwards.

The small matter of Brown’s personality will be a running theme throughout the election.  Labour can do nothing about this now.

The message to David Cameron is that he mustn't get sucked into the allegations surrounding Brown.  He has to behave like, and prove that he is the Prime Minister-in-waiting.  He also needs to keep in mind that when he stands up at PMQs, he is not only attacking Brown but the office of Prime Minister, one he may hold in a few weeks.

No doubt further leadership speculation will do the rounds, but it is too late and not appropriate.  Brown should face the electorate, defend himself and Labour's record.

At the end of the day the most important jury in the country will decide Brown’s fate.  It is time the electorate passed judgement on Labour’s policies and Brown himself.

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