Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Worst Thing, Again

I don't have a lot of sympathy for Gordon Brown. He was at the centre of this government, this intrusive, accusatory government, for ten years before he became PM, and he needs to start taking responsibility for the nastier aspects of Labour's achievements as well as bleating that none of the current crisis is his fault.

I also don't remember Labour being shy getting stuck into John Major, whose demeanour as PM was something like watching a toddler struggle in the shallow end of the pool wearing massive armbands. In fact the media as a whole have been a lot softer on Brown than Major (though the situations are not really comparable: Major's big problems came after that improbable 92 election win). I used to hear a lot from my English teacher (natch) about the "right wing media", which was a real trope of any liberal discussion in the 90s.

it's not something you hear anymore. Instead liberals tend to just whinge about the Daily Mail and the bloggers, while conservatives are gunning for the BBC (with extremely good reason in my view - how anyone can describe Matt Frei and Justin Webb as in any way impartial is beyond me. Webb's bizarre article in the Times on Friday, applauding the US's move towards more euthanasia as somehow making the US "cool" again should, if the BBC really were impartial, result in his sacking). Conservatives also whinge hysterically - if that is possible - about the Guardian. I think is probably due to the way its influence seems undue, given its readership.

I'm not going to get on my high horse about personal attacks. Politics is not only about policies; it is about human nature. If you think someone is truly hideous and awful you're less likely to vote for them, whatever their policies. Hence politicians spend a lot of time persuading you that their opponents are personally ghastly and that they themselves are just nice. Ideologues who do not intend ever to subject themselves to democratic approval act on behalf of those who do. The left do tend to do this more at the moment than the right, and often under the cloak of "analysis"; but that's probably reflective of the fact that the left have been in political and cultural power for ages and are simply trying to shore up the failing defences. They're also a bit shriller in their denunciations. I don't think it tells us anything psychologically, though about ideologues of left or right. Meanwhile the blogosphere is taking all these tendencies to new heights, led traditionally, though not for long, as the left is catching up quickly, by the right. But it is, as the Sarah Palin thing has shown, increasingly indistinguishable from the MSM. There is a crossover of personnel, attitude, themes and memes ("a heartbeat away from the presidency" for example). I don't know for how long we'll be able to talk of the blogosphere as an entity in its own right.

Perhaps it will just evolve again, and areas of it will hive off into a sort of second-MSM, with professionals weaving seamlessly between blog and MSM, or even with their blogs becoming a referenced, influential part of the MSM.

I digress.

I don't have any time for Brown, or for whinges about personal attacks. I've done it myself. I find it increasingly distasteful and horrible, but I'm not going to moan about it.

All I mean is: something is unfolding here in Britain. There is an immensely successful politician, with years of experience at the very top of government, who does not seem to see a way out. He seems literally clueless, whether he is or not. His identity as a politician, one with beliefs and ambitions, is unravelling.

This might create opportunities for British politics, ideological spaces to enable change; but it is crushing a man who devotes his life to this. It is clearly crushing him. More so than Major, who, you felt, simply didn't experience politics as deeply. Much more like Thatcher but more rapid and more complete - Thatcher's fall was partly predicated on the millions of people who never liked her anyway - she didn't enjoy the complete reputation Brown had before last year.

Politics is about human nature. I can't help feeling slightly...odd about the way things are at the moment. I can't help not wanting to join the circus, but to just quietly tell Gordon Brown to go, and go now. I'm not sorry for Brown...but that fall could happen to anyone successful. That's about - the caprice of life. Such sudden, destructive failure does happen, all the time.

Luckily, with my long record of laziness and incompetence, it's unlikely to happen to me.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Brown has been in full knowledge of what he was about since the 1991 Bilderberger Conference.