Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gordon Brown is going down

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, is enjoying personal approval ratings that would make George Bush snicker with comparative glee. I'd bet a higher percentage of the UK population has the clap than think Gordo is doing a good job.

In British political life, you don't wait every four years to have a convention. No, they have one every year. I guess that's the benefit of having a small country. All the big parties do it. And the leader of the party has to give a big speech, and one of those leaders will be the Prime Minister.

And you know what, they don't broadcast the speeches prime time. Mostly because the speeches aren't given in prime time. They happen in the day. Sure, you can catch it on tv, but it interrupts a cookery show or some show where you go through your house and sell off your valuable goods to finance a trip the Gran Canaria or some such. And frankly, most people are at work while these are going on.

Like me. I was at work when Gordon Brown gave his big headline speech today. This was the speech that was supposed to save his political career. This was make or break time. Pundits were saying that he needed to have "an Obama moment" to turn around his political fate.

On tv tonight, many of those pundits were reporting that he'd done it. Or at least, that he'd given a great speech. The speech of his life, blah, blah, blah. And then they'd interview some Labour party goon, some former press under-secretary in the Blair government, or some Broonite loyalist and they said "Wow, what a great speech. He showed what a leader he was." Blah, blah, blah.

Several channels flipped through and all we could hear were people talking about how great his speech was and offering insight. But no clips of the speech. "Show us some of the damn speech," said the Vol-in-Law. We wanted to bask in Gordon's brilliance, too.

Finally, the ViL had sense enough to turn to the Parliament channel. It's a little like I remember C-SPAN, except they rarely seem to show sub-committee meetings live. In fact, they always seem to have happened months in the past. Not sure what that's about. But they were showing Gordon Brown's speech just as we flipped to it. In fact, I think we caught most of it.

Obama moment, my arse. Barack Obama is an incredibly gifted public speaker. Even when he's talking shite it sounds pretty good. Gordon Brown, not so much. Not even close. Not even in the same solar system. Not even when Gordon Brown is talking sense.

But Gordon Brown wasn't talking sense. He made some sneering jabs at the Conservative Party. I'm not sure this is the time to do this. He made some sneering jabs at the "novices" who want to take over from him. He said some really lame stuff about the economy and how the Tories would end all regulation of the financial markets. Gordon Brown wanted to make us believe that he's the right man to handle the economic chaos, but instead he sounded like the pompous bloke at the pub who tries to make himself look smarter by distorting other people's points. And he did it not very well.

No wonder they couldn't show any clips of the speech. It would have showed just how full of it the political reporters are.


Anonymous said...

Do you think Gordon Brown is
a. worse than George Bush
b. as bad a George Bush
c. better than George Bush

I think that stateside, most folks would circle c.

Vol Abroad said...

I don't think that's true if they really knew what Gordon Brown was like - and did what he did. Partly that's a matter of preference. Voters in the US would rather see money squandered on defense than squandered on healthcare. And by squandered - I don't mean spent, I mean actually wasted. Which is what Gordon Brown has done. He's thrown a huge amount of money at the NHS for relatively little effect.

Gordon Brown is a very different leader than George Bush - GB is kinda a big picture man (not the right big picture, but still...), GD loses himself in the detail and micromanages. He meddles. But in many ways they suffer from some of the same weaknesses. Neither listens to dissent. Neither seems capable of self-reflection or learning from mistakes. Neither is an effective communicator. They both lie, lie, lie.

Bush actually has more charisma. I would ten times rather have a beer with George Bush than Gordon Brown.