Friday, May 18, 2007

Good News for Brown

Gordon BrownBrown: The nightmare soon to grow worse
At least it looks as though Brown is going to have a shoulder to lean on come the end of June when he takes up his new post. Obviously painfully aware of the chancellor's lack of confidence in his abilities President Bush has very decently offered to help him through this traumatic and unexpected change in his life.

I'm sure the President will have wise words for poor old Gordon on how do deal with the pressure of having power so unexpectedly thrust upon him. As the humble team player who has been prowling the media for the last few days would have been perfectly happy to quietly do his little bit for the side and would never actively seek such high office, so it must all come as quite a shock for him.

According to the President yesterday at a news conference with Blair:
"I hope to help him in office the way Tony Blair helped me. Newly elected President, Tony Blair came over and he reached out, he was gracious -- was able to converse in a way where our shared interests were the most important aspect of the relationship. I would hope I would provide the same opportunities for Gordon Brown. I met him, thought he was a good fellow."

Let's be honest though, I'm not a Bush Basher, but this little comment does show a little naivety, above and beyond the 'good fellow' comment. A sensible person taking up the role would seek all good advice he can get, unfortunately arrogant prats don't.

It is at least possible though that as his portfolio widens so much in the near future Brown might be seen to listen to more than the narrow group of people he currently keeps buried in the Treasury. His record suggests that the headline ministerial appointments won't be the whole picture of who's words he heeds, any more than who has ended up with junior ministerial positions in the treasury has done.

Once out of office, I doubt Blair would pick up the phone to tell Gord where the spare box of paperclips in the PM's office is, so it will be interesting to see who do end up having some influence on him. I do suspect suspect though that President Bush won't be among them.

The whole Blair/Bush session from the White House:

I'm far from a Blair, in fact I loathe him intensely, but I think moments like this do show why he goes down so well overseas. He doesn't need to go in for over-emoting to make a mark, in the same way as he does on the domestic stage. He handles the whole thing with real class from beginning to end, especially the Q&A where Bush, to be honest, stumbles quite badly and temporises.

On the specific issues I don't think anyone can hear his thoughts on Iraq and not realise he did what he did out of conviction. The idea that he only did it to suck up to Bush is ludicrous. There was though something less certain in his tone on other issues, especially climate change. It might be the audience he was addressing, but he seems to get less and less evangelical on the environmental stuff. Maybe he knows something Cameron doesn't yet.

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