Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The dark sides of Gordon Brown and Richard Nixon

Gordon Brown is compared to Richard Nixon in this op-ed piece in the London Evening Standard written by Dominic Sandbrook.

The author rightly claims that both men had moments of brilliance but also both have revealed deeply flawed personalities. It is an interesting comparison and the most illuminating part is in the way that the article compares the way that John Kennedy overshadowed Nixon for many years and Tony Blair eclipsed Gordon Brown's claim to the the top job in the UK government for ten years. There is something rather dark about Brown and it will undoubtedly haunt him when UK voters next go the polls. It sometimes need to be re-stated that Brown was never elected to his office - he replaced his predecessor unopposed when Blair stepped down - and the current mood of the electorate in the UK suggests that a lot of people would not be sad to see him retire from politics after the next general election.

Here is a pertinent extract from the piece:

Politics can never be separated entirely from spin. But there is a clear line between public relations and dirty tricks - a line that both Nixon and Brown, for all their great political gifts, seem not to have recognised, as though their antennae, so sensitive in other areas, were no longer working. Perhaps that is the most compelling parallel of all- two glowering men, so brilliant at politics in many ways, yet so inept in others.

The tragedy is that after relying on the hatchet men for so long, the Prime Minister now seems unable do without them. We cannot, it appears, have the good Gordon without the bad.

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