Fall of Gordon

Peter Hennessy’s “Prime Ministers – the Job and its Holders” is one of my most well-thumbed reference books. Each post-war PM is treated with care and consideration, with a chapter heading as concise as they are cutting. John Major is the “solo-coalitionist”, Tony Blair introduced by “command and control”.

So what if Hennessy updates his book to include Gordon Brown? What chapter heading then, what treatment given through the window of recent history? “Flawed by design, floored by events”, perhaps?

It was always clear before the relaunched Observer gave up its pages to the newest allegations that Gordon Brown is a man of short-temper and bullying tactics. It’s how he got the job of Prime Minister in the first place; influential blogger Guido Fawkes has been detailing these allegations for years.

That Brown has mental instabilities is not the sole reason behind wanting him to lose the next election. Pick any of the disastrous policies of this Government from 1997 to the present day for more than enough – from the billions wasted on Trident renewal to decrease in civil liberties through the continued scandal of child poverty levels, lack of funding for public transport, and of course the £800bn national debt. Every failure of the Labour “regime” has Brown’s fingerprints all over them.

The “clunking fist” can barely keep a grip on the ramshackle, tumbledown caboose that is the current Government, of which he has been the over-controlling keeper of the purse for too long.

That Downing Street has been in smear mode for most of today should come as no surprise, either. This Government has run a parallel news agenda to the rest of the media since Tony Blair became its leader; there is the news, and there is the New Labour Reality Information Service, and occasionally the latter will force the hand of the former while rarely vice versa.

Brown, as a leader, is finished after the events of this weekend. He has been lucky to have lost so many Blairites from his Cabinet, so as to dampen the blow of any backbench rebellion, but regardless of this quirk of history, the man has very few friends left to rely on. The allegations of bullying have been around for too long for them to be so easily dismissed by Harman and Mandleson; and events from the “election that never was” and the 10p tax shambles prove Brown can not be trusted to make a single decision without flapping around in a haze of indecision.

Were he a good leader with a short-fuse, very little of this mud would stick. But he is far from a good leader. He has dragged this country to about as low as it can possibly get. Nation-changing, life defining general elections rarely come around very often – after 1979, and 1997, this forthcoming 2010 vote is one of those rare moments.

Show Labour that you cannot afford to trust their policies or unreliable leader any more. Use your vote in 2010 to remove them from power.

The picture comes from this entry in Iain Dale’s blog

battle of the bulge

I am not your typical bloke. Maybe this is not news to most of you. I don’t subscribe to Men’s Health and I don’t have pet names for my favourite muscles. Gym membership is a complete no-no; there is just something about the concept of walking near one which leads me to consider being greeted at the door by a nice enough woman asking if I’m there to film a new episode of Mr Bean…

Okay, so a “significant” birthday is eleven weeks away, so consequently a bit of ‘stock taking’ has occurred with regards to my diet and such like. There’s no danger of my purchasing a wall-mounted Calorie Calender or having watercooler discussions about ‘points’ and ‘quotas’ and ‘green or red days’ or whatever other alien language seems to spurt from the mouths of people following strict diets. There are many aspects to Brown’s Britain I cannot stand – well, all of them, really – with the Nanny State ‘Minister For Public Health’ attitude near the very top. If children must eat a regular amount of fruit and veg, then let this be a matter for parents and schools and doctors.

Adults should not have the State dictating what can be eaten, drunk, or consumed, unless the developed Western democracy we live in, where ‘letting the terrorists win’ is changing how we behave, has suddenly developed an obsession with social engineering from which it cannot turn.

My paunch is all paid for. It’s not a beer belly, as such. If humans could live off a diet consisting in the main of sushi, Frijj drinks, and powdered soup, I’d be a very happy man. Okay, so in living memory I was steaming sea bass with soy sauce and lemongrass, while these days I have a tendency to rely on pizza, but what’s a man to do while he (still) settles down to living under his own roof?

There is a slight contradiction, I guess, in my stance. Not too much obsessed with my appearance, while too self-aware to consider lifting weights in public. That’ll be the typical bloke characteristic, that’ll be: eager to offer advice, eager not to accept suggestions. As long as I am not found vegged out in front of daytime TV surrounded by WKD bottles and packets of Fruit & Nut, I am confident enough to carry on pretty much ‘as is’. No Government Minister is going to force me to swap a pint of John Smiths for a bottle of Shloer.

Walking the ten-mile round trip to and from work isn’t quite cutting the pounds as maybe it once would have done, I notice. That said, I am not exactly noticing a change into Richard Griffiths. Thought that would be cool. I will not forget the bloke who worked in one of the first offices I temped in, who switched from “girl in every port” to dripping wet calorie counter in the matter of one weekend. Everything in moderation, and all that jazz. Little bit of what you fancy does you good, and such like.

It is perhaps also worth reminding that that nonsense about ‘body mass index’ suggests most professional sports people are morbidly obese. As long as such “official” bunkum is out there in the public domain I’ll remain a happy enough man…