Saturday, 1 May 2010

Gordon Brown and the election

In less than five days from now I will have cast my vote in the General Election and I'll stay with my prediction that the Tories will win through as the largest party, probably with an overall majority. What seems fairly certain is that Labour can't win outright and naturally many people mean "Gordon Brown" when they talk about Labour.

I've written about Brown before but this is a good moment perhaps to bring my thoughts about him into one blogpost. I am a floating voter: at various times in my adult life and depending on where I was living and the circumstances at the time I have voted for each of the three main parties. It was in 1982 that I moved into this constituency and here it is always a fight between LibDems and Tories, Labour and smaller parties being way outside the reckoning. Not only would my voting for Labour be effectively a wasted vote but the recent behaviour of the party and that of Brown in particular would certainly ensure that my vote won't be heading their way!

What is it about Brown that is so off putting? I'll kick off with his attitude to the military. He has been castigated about an apparent lack of empathy with the armed forces and I have blogged before about my take on this. I had written about how appalled I had been regarding the fact that when Brown first became PM he made Des Browne a part time Defence Minister. That he did this at the time when we were fighting both in Iraq and Afghanistan was unbelievable. But not just that, Brown never praises the troops at the start of a major speech such as at the Party Conference, no it is slipped in part way through. Because of the task they have been asked to do for us and the risks being taken you would think that, like Cameron, he would speak up for the military right at the start. Never seems to happen.

The next thing is why did the Labour Party allow Brown to bully his way into the position of Labour leader and Prime Minister unopposed. Surely in this televisual age they should have realised that his many character defects would be cruelly exposed. I can remember him being caught on camera picking his nose and eating the contents thereof, of meeting someone with one of his trouser legs tucked into his sock: the sort of things that get onto YouTube for the whole world to see in the time it takes to say "General Election". No wonder that Labour spinners have been trying to divert away from "style" to "substance". It might seem very unfair to Brown but the increased preoccupation with style is the way of the world right now, and of course a major reason for the success of Tony Blair.

Talking of Blair it's interesting to see him back for the last few days of the campaign. Some had surmised he wouldn't have wanted to be associated with a likely Labour failure and I thought that way myself about him. Maybe Mandelson had pleaded for him to help the party's cause but I don't think that Blair will save their bacon - it's too late now surely, apart from which I think that Blair will be viewed as one of yesterday's men.

Back to Brown, one of my dislikes about him is his failure to assume any responsibility for our economic crisis. And also it still rankles with me that in reducing the basic income tax rate to 20% he removed the 10p tax band thus making millions of the poorest worse off. If it hadn't been for Frank Field and one or two other principled MPs he would have got away with it.

There is so much more that one could write about regarding Brown but I just can't be bothered right now. I'm just hoping come next Thursday that it's "Goodbye and Good Riddance"

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