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Tony Grist

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A Good Man? [May. 11th, 2010|10:31 am]
Tony Grist
If a good man does bad things is he still a good man?

Or- to narrow things down more specifically to the career of Gordon Brown- can a person claim to be in possession of "a moral compass" if he never seems to use it.

The defining characteristics of Brown's career have been cowardice, lack of principle, corrosive ambition, sulkiness, disloyalty and double-dealing. He tacitly supported the Iraq war, encouraged the banking free for all, created a culture of paranoia around himself, persistently undermined his colleagues- including Tony Blair- and (behind closed doors) sulked and fumed and bullied. In what way are these the actions of a "good" man?

I'm asking  because I've just been reading this. Gordon Brown has failed in most things, but he's somehow managed to sell us all on the notion that he's a moral person- that whole son of the manse thing.   Well, I beg to differ.

[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2010-05-11 09:56 am (UTC)
Perhaps it is his intensity and taciturnity, his lack of social ease, that endears him to people. Mr Darcy syndrome. He is quite well liked over here.

Being intense implies not being false, hail-fellow-well-met, full of he's-a-grand-fella-down-the-pub-would-stab-you-in-the-back bonhomie. i.e. not being like most politicians.

Most people afford the lion's share of the blame for the Iraq war to Blair. Not that they praise Brown for going along with it, but they don't hold him primarily responsible for it. That was indeed a disgusting crime - though as my partner says, "All war is a crime"

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-11 10:29 am (UTC)
Blair owned the war. Brown only funded it- and hid in the bushes when the going got tough. It's a recurrent theme of his career that he dodges responsibility.

As for that image of straightness and probity, it's almost entirely false. He's an inveterate back-stabber and enabler of back-stabbers. People- including his closest allies- are afraid of him because they know he'll have no compunction about briefing against them.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-05-11 12:21 pm (UTC)
He's a financial boffin - no "social graces" for which read, spin-ability. He's very smart, probably slightly Aspergers, and is no sort of leader. Couldn't even spell charisma. He's not a bad man, but he has been in the wrong job.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-11 02:01 pm (UTC)
A job he wanted very badly, and sulked about- to the detriment of his working relationship with his boss.
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From: mamadar
2010-05-11 01:21 pm (UTC)
"A good man, who wanted the top job too much"?

By my definition, no one who wants the "top job" is a good man, only good enough to be trusted with the power he lusts for, and usually *not* good enough.

No, I don't like politicians. I don't like doctors, either.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-11 02:15 pm (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with you.

I don't dislike doctors, but that's because ours all work for the NHS.
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2010-05-11 04:36 pm (UTC)
Hes, he went along with all Tony Blari's little wars (even if Tony was just going along with someone else's, but he did it with no show of reluctance). Gordon Brown also wanted 90 day detention, and in spite of the Brit media thinking that fascism is "the moral high ground", I don't think it makes him a good man.

But then neither am I a good man.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-11 07:33 pm (UTC)
Brown comes from a very moral place- from Scottish Presbyterianism and Christian Socialism- and has betrayed almost everything he was taught and once stood for.

The young Brown would, I think, have been disgusted by the things his older self wound up doing in the pursuit and exercise of power.
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[User Picture]From: methodius
2010-05-12 04:46 am (UTC)

Brown's exit

I blogged about Brown's exit here, and quoted you.

I think Gordon Brown had a better moral compass than our Jacob Zuma, but our Thabo Mbeki had a better moral compass than Tony Blair.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-05-12 08:17 am (UTC)

Re: Brown's exit

Thanks. I like what you've written. Especially the bit about the war. I don't think we've yet faced up to the full wickedness of what we did in Iraq.
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