Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Enjoying Yourself Too Much

Gordon Brown
What in the PRC really
did impress him?
A deeply depressing political weather front has swept in from the East with the return of our dire Prime Minister to these shores. As gloom ridden as this news is I suppose that at least the feeling is likely to be mutual. Most of us feel a bit of sadness when a holiday comes to an end and judging by the first known pictures of Gordon Brown looking genuinely cheerful, especially in China, and considering the hopeless mess of a government he returns to head, at least in name, it's hard to believe his feelings are any different.

I'm not going to make advance any fatuous theory that Brown is some form of wholly reconstructed Maoist, nor that he would like reduce the real democratic powers of the British people all the way down to that enjoyedenforced in the People's Republic other than in the ways dictated to him by Brussels.

It was though a bit disconcerting to see the very apparent warmth of old Incapability in the company of those who, for all the modernisation of their Economy and the opportunities that this may offer to this country, remain serial abusers of human rights with a typically warped leftist view of the relative positions of the citizen and the state. One can only imagine his fantasies about Hain, Harman, Alexander et al. when he heard about the Chinese method of dealing with incompetent or corrupt officials, especially if the bullet is still rechargeable to the family.

For all its economic liberalisation, in many regards China also remains one of the last naive believers in the centrally imposed 20 year plans and all such failed authoritarian dogma, so I guess with North Korea still being somewhat beyond the pale it's hardly surprising the Brown clearly enjoyed this leg of the trip so much. So much did he seem to enjoy his time there that I struggle to remember another visit by a western leader where the obligatory words on human rights where so few in number, nor so quietly and indirectly spoken.

Sadly the grin was wearing off a little even before heading home during his visit to India. While Indian democracy is imperfect, with some areas perennially subject to allegations of ballot irregularities and intimidation, it does look on the whole to be a vibrant and more or less functional pluralistic democracy and is getting better on this front with age. Not, perhaps, a comfortable place to be for a man who seems hell bent on several fronts on alienating his own electorate who he seems determined to treat with utter contempt on many fronts.

I really can't help feeling that Gordon would fit in so well into China's central committee, assuming that they make him chairman of course, in a way so painfully different to the way he abrades against every instinct of most people I speak to here, in terms of what we expect from our own leaders.

I'll even offer to buy him a ticket back to his spiritual home.