I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve agreed with anything Alastair Campbell has said. But when he said that a Gordon Brown premiership would be “one long tragedy” he was quite right.
A tragedy for the man himself. For years he waited as second in command watching a man who was less intelligent, less learned, technically weaker on the mechanics of government, a man who did not understand figures and was by his own admission not a details man, filling the role which Gordon thought was rightfully his. And then when the prize of the highest office finally fell into his lap he found that he had no aptitude for it whatsoever. For Gordon hates the PR side of politics. He can’t do froth, or comfy-sofa interviews. He doesn’t emote, he can’t relax in public and he simply does not know where to start when it comes to projecting the image of a rounded human being, all essential skills of the modern Prime Minister. From “bottling” the General Election that never was in October 2007 to losing his cool with Sky TV’s Adam Boulton today, the last 2 years have seen the wheels well and truly come off. One might say of him, just like that other tragic Scottish leader, Macbeth, “beware of what you wish for, because you might one day get it”.
However it’s also a tragedy for the country as well. We need a change of government and we need it now. The time between now and next May or June will be wasted time as a lame duck PM desperately tries to come up with the magic formula that will somehow convince the voters that he and his crew should be given yet another term. Time which could be better used implementing policies designed to reduce the country’s budget deficit. But Gordon Brown sees David Cameron as another Tony Blair, another frothy frontman, another fraud and he believes, I think, that the British public must sooner or later come round to his way of thinking.
Brown will never understand why Blair won 3 elections in a row but the fact is Blair had the skill of appreciating what the country wanted and posing as the man best placed to deliver it – even if on so many occasions he failed in the delivery part of the deal. Cameron, a clever Oxford educated public schoolboy just like Tony Blair, knows instinctively what is now required and that is why he is likely to win the next election, whenever it comes. The task for Cameron will be to deliver and not to disappoint, which is why he and his team have put a “delivery unit” in place to ensure that a Conservative first term is not wasted.