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Watching Gordon Brown’s attempt at a premiership is becoming embarrassing. You can’t help but feel sorry for someone that has wanted the job for so long and yet is struggling so. Brown is like Derby County. He has got to where he wants to be and being there is enough: being in power, being able to go on television as the Prime Minister and stand as a world figure. He can stand in front of us as the father of the nation. Just as Derby County can boast to be part of the greatest league in the world. Boast to be among the big boys and in doing so kid themselves that they are important. They can kid themselves that they are successful.

In both cases they are failing because they achieved their aim without any clear-cut vision and idea of what they want to do there. Having spent his first ten years of power plotting against his own boss, aggrieved after being shunted at Granita, he has spent this time waiting to get in. Waiting to replace Tony. Waiting to be the one that struts the world stage and goes in the Today programme as the Prime Minister. Waiting to do what exactly? It is approaching a year of the Brown government and what has it done constructively since?

This lack of vision and direction is a result of Brown’s desperation to get into power. Effectively he tried to cheat the system. He didn’t become Prime Minister in the way that Tony Blair or Margaret Thatcher did. Or indeed how David Cameron would like to. He was already in government. He was in government because he was a chancellor of a Labour government in its third term. He did not face the test of election. Without this he skipped the first test of a politician’s vision for power, i.e. get those you’re going to rule agree first. The other major step that Brown skipped was a challenge to the leadership of his party. His vision and ideology were assumed from his time as chancellor, he did not have to prove this vision against another. Brown was desperate to get into power, yet he actively skipped the usual routines that test a candidate’s ability to rule. As his premiership shifts from crisis to crisis, from one attempted comeback to another, what is happening is the sort of test that he skipped before he got to power.

The usual tests for those that want to be in power are tested before the candidate gets to power. Brown tried to cheat the system, by getting into government on the back of another man’s leadership and by bullying the Labour Party into supporting him and no other candidates. Yet he cannot face the same tests. He is now facing the same test and failing. This is happening in a reverse of the usual process. Usually if a candidate fails these tests power is denied to them at the ballot box, either within a party or nationally. This time he has power first and is being tested later. The consequences are the same, he will either lose if and when his party forces him out or he will lose a general election.

This cheating attempt at power is why his leadership is failing so miserably. By embedding himself in power he is not embedded with the problems that affect people’s lives. He is embedded in Westminster, a surreal land that is not part of the real world. He wants to appear green, so he announces proposals and targets on plastic bags. He wants to appear as a tax cutter, so he abolished the ten pence tax rate and cuts the basic rate of income tax by two pence. He wants to appear tough on terror, so he proposes extending terrorism laws by fourteen days. These are the measures that have Brown in trouble and have resulted in the worst election results for a forty years. This has happened, not necessarily because the consequences are catastrophic, but because they designed to enhance Brown’s appearance. This is why the national leadership of the Labour Party is so out of touch.

They have no capacity to connect with voters, because Brown has sought to avoid connecting with voters in his obsessive quest for power. So suddenly he gets a shock when voters are telling him they are struggling to see why they should vote Labour. Brown has lost the base of the Labour heartland because his hubristic quest for power has taken them for granted. Brown will no longer be in power, just as Derby County will no longer be in the Premier League. They both got the ultimate goal, but once there had no idea what to do.

Watching Gordon Brown’s attempt at a premiership is becoming embarrassing. You can’t help but feel sorry for someone that has wanted the job for so long and yet is struggling so. Brown is like Derby County. He has got to where he wants to be and being there is enough: being in power, being able to go on television as the Prime Minister and stand as a world figure. He can stand in front of us as the father of the nation. Just as Derby County can boast to be part of the greatest league in the world. Boast to be among the big boys and in doing so kid themselves that they are important. They can kid themselves that they are successful.

In both cases they are failing because they achieved their aim without any clear-cut vision and idea of what they want to do there. Having spent his first ten years of power plotting against his own boss, aggrieved after being shunted at Granita, he has spent this time waiting to get in. Waiting to replace Tony. Waiting to be the one that struts the world stage and goes in the Today programme as the Prime Minister. Waiting to do what exactly? It is approaching a year of the Brown government and what has it done constructively since?

This lack of vision and direction is a result of Brown’s desperation to get into power. Effectively he tried to cheat the system. He didn’t become Prime Minister in the way that Tony Blair or Margaret Thatcher did. Or indeed how David Cameron would like to. He was already in government. He was in government because he was a chancellor of a Labour government in its third term. He did not face the test of election. Without this he skipped the first test of a politician’s vision for power, i.e. get those you’re going to rule agree first. The other major step that Brown skipped was a challenge to the leadership of his party. His vision and ideology were assumed from his time as chancellor, he did not have to prove this vision against another. Brown was desperate to get into power, yet he actively skipped the usual routines that test a candidate’s ability to rule. As his premiership shifts from crisis to crisis, from one attempted comeback to another, what is happening is the sort of test that he skipped before he got to power.

The usual tests for those that want to be in power are tested before the candidate gets to power. Brown tried to cheat the system, by getting into government on the back of another man’s leadership and by bullying the Labour Party into supporting him and no other candidates. Yet he cannot face the same tests. He is now facing the same test and failing. This is happening in a reverse of the usual process. Usually if a candidate fails these tests power is denied to them at the ballot box, either within a party or nationally. This time he has power first and is being tested later. The consequences are the same, he will either lose if and when his party forces him out or he will lose a general election.

This cheating attempt at power is why his leadership is failing so miserably. By embedding himself in power he is not embedded with the problems that affect people’s lives. He is embedded in Westminster, a surreal land that is not part of the real world. He wants to appear green, so he announces proposals and targets on plastic bags. He wants to appear as a tax cutter, so he abolished the ten pence tax rate and cuts the basic rate of income tax by two pence. He wants to appear tough on terror, so he proposes extending terrorism laws by fourteen days. These are the measures that have Brown in trouble and have resulted in the worst election results for a forty years. This has happened, not necessarily because the consequences are catastrophic, but because they designed to enhance Brown’s appearance. This is why the national leadership of the Labour Party is so out of touch.

They have no capacity to connect with voters, because Brown has sought to avoid connecting with voters in his obsessive quest for power. So suddenly he gets a shock when voters are telling him they are struggling to see why they should vote Labour. Brown has lost the base of the Labour heartland because his hubristic quest for power has taken them for granted. Brown will no longer be in power, just as Derby County will no longer be in the Premier League. They both got the ultimate goal, but once there had no idea what to do.

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