I agree on your impressions of Gordon Brown. He has a gravitas, a reassuring solidness that makes me think this is a man who is capable of leading us through war and peace. My opinion of Tony Blair hit rock bottom when he appeared on the terminally unfunny Frank Skinner's chat show. Plus, with all the bad publicity that accumulated round the Blairs - "Cheriegate", the Carole Caplin influence, cash for honours - waving goodbye to them carried the same sense of relief for me as watching that other ubiquitous "Celebrity" couple, Posh n Becks, leave for LA. For the last couple of years, its felt as though the country has been led by a celebrity wannabe who has nothing but contempt for his people. Brown, at the moment, appears to be wanting to erase that, and I thank him for it.
I like your characterization of Blair as a "celebrity wannabe".
I've been wondering how things would have been if Brown not Blair had been Prime Minister for the past ten years. Would we have followed America into Iraq? I suspect not.
What if John Smith hadn't died in 1994? (or was it 95?) I was studying A-Level politics at that point, and the Major era was on its last legs. Smith, from what I remember, was a tough, old-school socialist who was devoutly anti-American. I suspect if Smith had won the election in 1997, the relationship with Clinton would have been decidedly frosty, and with Bush Jr non-existant. Smith's death has caused an interesting quirk in History - it was due to that the Blair became leader and the resulting decade of change proved the law of diminishing returns.
But would Smith have won the '97 election? Pobably yes because we were all so sick of the Tories by that point.
Unless Major was able to pull something very special out of the bag. But by that point, it was all over. Shipwrecked on a diet of sleaze and back stabbing.
It's easy to forget- after ten years of being disappointed by Blair- just what a rabble the Tories were in the late 90s.
This is the problem. After Major's Back to Basics self-destructed, and the Tories became a laughing stock, we were ready to be seduced. We wanted someone young, dynamic, who would understand Britain and the need to move the country on. What we ended up with was someone who in his outlook was more conservative than the Tories, and I mean that with a small "c".
watching that other ubiquitous "Celebrity" couple, Posh n Becks, leave for LA
We would have happily let you hang onto them.
Agreed, you already have Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and the rest of the psuedo celebs. But please don't send them back.
I like the distancing from the US, but I wonder whether there is any higher motive than domestic popularity, as Bush is entering the "lame duck" phase of his presidency anyway, so there is even less value in cosying up to him.
Brown is signalling to his domestic audience- and to the American democrats- that he acknowledges the unpopularity of the Bush regime. At the same time he's trying to reassure that regime that we're still its friends. I don't suppose he has much room to turn in, but at last he's doing what he can.
2007-07-15 07:44 pm (UTC)
I agree with your piece about regime change and Brown's more grown-up leadership. So pleased he is rejecting super casinos as a way of regenerating an area. What a thought that was!
The casinos idea was decadent. There's no better word for it. I'm so glad Brown is putting his foot down.
I saw him on the TV talking about the attacks and he was so straight-forward and to the point, it was actually shocking to me. I was horrified at first, then I realized how used we have become to getting bullshitted on the TV. I got a good vibe. Let's see what he does.
Campbell is a former tabloid journalist and has a blunt no nonsense manner. I dislike him because of his role in the Blair administration- specifically the "sexing-up" of the evidence for Iraqi WMDs and his bullying of journalists.
Sexing up--that's the nicest way I have heard anyone describe the mad spins and sensationalism of tabloids. There's a place for guys like that and it's not in politics.