Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brown Should Face Death With Dignity

Watching Brown and the sad spectacle that used to be called the Labour Party conference, smacks of the Wizard of Oz. A horse by any other colour is still a horse. Someone should humanely put them out of their misery. All Brown and his ministers can do is look for a brain, urge delegates not to lose heart and hold their nerve. 

Prescott was doing what he has been doing for years, trying to rally the troops. Only no one was listening to his tired, old rant. Campbell tried not to sound like a bully and gave a few empty words to camera, cruelly captioned as the "former spin doctor" by Channel 4 News

Ministers try to sound fresh but just regurgitate the spin and hype set out for them in craftily worded press releases. 

Miliband, in his cliché ridden leader-in-waiting speech, tried to appear a bit more Brown but came across as a Blair schoolboy.

Doomsday Darling repeated the economic warning of hard times ahead and then proceeded to do what the government has always done and borrow itself out of trouble. 

The side-show of a Blairite leadership challenge is just that - a side-show.

The government's overarching strategy is to cling on to power until the bitter end. Any successful challenger would have to call an election sooner rather than later and face a wipe out. So the strategy is to limp along for the next 18 months. 

Even the grandee of the Labour Party, Tony Benn, has given up on conference and taken his bat home. Writing in the Sunday Times, Benn hit the nail on the head. "It’s Labour’s policies that the voters don’t like." Now that's from a guy who knows a thing or two about Labour Party politics!

Brown made his appearance on Sunday, wearing what at first appeared to be a hair shirt, admitting he'd made a few mistakes and telling the BBC "he will do better". But the wizard in sackcloth and ashes soon turned out to be the same bloke behind the curtain. 

Brown tried to play the sympathy card. He was a "pretty ordinary guy". Only the last person to try that on with a "pretty straight sort of guy" defence was Blair, after being exposed in the Bernie Ecclestone scandal - and that 'pretty straight guy' is now wanted for war crimes. 

Then, as always, Brown went and spoilt it all by saying something stupid and droning on about everything being the fault of global this and that and again he's just "getting on with the job". 

Brown must realise that voters have seen through the light touch decade and the smoke and mirrors of the economic mess which is actually his fault.

Sun political editor, Trevor Kavanagh, echoed the views made here on Friday, that it is Brown who should shoulder the blame for the economic mess. 

Unlike here though, Kavanagh doesn't call for Brown to face death with dignity - because in his view, he is already dead. 

"They are ready to pretend the corpse in Labour’s shop window is still alive and kicking. Gordon is already a dead man walking. The trouble is that, as Chancellor, Gordon ran the economy in much the same way as the bosses of troubled companies such as HBOS and Northern Rock. While preaching “prudence”, he doubled spending and borrowed like there was no tomorrow. Mr Brown blames America for the global economic crisis. But none of this came out of a clear blue sky." 

So it will be a "keynote" speech full of flats in Manchester later today, because no one is really coming to his Party.

It is a just a huge trade fair, as Benn put it. Sucking up to anyone who may wield a bit of power and influence. And a few speeches from the thick skinned, selfish and arrogant government ministers and hangers on. 

The trade union movement showed some teeth at the TUC conference, only to be put in its place by the New Labour bosses firmly entrenched in the movement. 

The same is happening at conference, packed with a grace and favour New Labour mob and a craftily rewritten Blair Rule Book which will stifle any debate on any issue of importance. 

So where is the debate on whether we should be wasting billions of pounds on a pointless and unwinable war in Afghanistan? When exactly will the troops be pulled out of Iraq? Where is the policy stand on Trident? 

Where is any debate on the merits of bringing some strategic utilities and services into public ownership for the public good? And where is the demand for a windfall tax on the greed energy companies?

These were thrown out at the same time as Walter Wolfgang was manhandled out of the 2005 conference by New Labour's thugs, for daring to utter the word "rubbish". These people have short memories. 

Those debates centring on true Labour values are still going on but have been forced out into the cold in the dozens of fringe meetings surrounding the main conference.

What is needed from a prime minister and leader of the dying Labour Party, is strong leadership and real policies to tackle the rising inflation, creeping unemployment and the spiral of the debt culture. 

Brown cannot hope to raise the spirits in Manchester today. Deep depression is now deep-rooted. Even electric shock treatment would just blow a fuse.

If Brown only had a heart, a brain, some nerve and went with honour, he could go the way of the tin man, straw man and lion and return home with some dignity. 

And the irony is that if Brown did have the courage to own up to fact that the current mess is of his own making and do the honourable thing and call a snap general election to let the people decide - his popularity would probably soar.

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