Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bunkered Brown In Hiding

Bunkered Brown is in hiding as 'good news' dries up and the general election campaign hots up. True to form when the going gets tough - the tough get going. This time to Northern Ireland.

The Orange Party has noted before that part of the election strategy is to blow the trumpet with a daily diet of 'good news' and to link a Beaming Brown to them at every opportunity.

The BBC is falling for it hook, line and stinker. After all the election is being fought in his name.

Unfortunately there are not many goodies kicking around and when they are on the pre-election grid they have a nasty habit of blowing up in their faces.

Now Downing Street has suddenly announced the struggling Supreme Leader will give PMQs a miss today to stay over for crisis talks in Northern Ireland.

Dirty tricks and dark arts abound at election time. The Orange Party can't help thinking Downing Street got wind of a Cameron attack line on the economic mess designed to floor the PM on the floor of the House.

Bunkered Brown was noticeable by his absence from the cameras as the hullabaloo over the end of recession depression turned out to be a damp squib. Planned good news turned to bad, as most of the media honed in on the fragile state of the economy and piddling 0.1 percent 'growth' .

This recession was an accident waiting to happen. Voters know who's to blame for the dire economic mess and where he lives.

But the architect Borrowing Brown was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was left to Dreadful Darling to put a gloss on it and to be savaged by Paxman on Newsnight.

Prime ministers' questions is part of democracy - to do what it says on the tin and ask questions of the PM. But here Bunkered Brown has form, ducking and diving at every opportunity.

Commons niceties means Cameron won't get a look in and a chance to hog the limelight and soundbites. Clegg too can't put Bottling Brown on the spot. Instead it will be a B-list Hattie and Hague deputies show.

The Norther Ireland peace process gave Blair one of his few success stories and one of the best lines in 1998, as he arrived for talks: "A day like today is not a day for soundbites, really. But I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders. I really do."

But Brown is no Blair to the fickle hand of history. NI politicians know he will be out on his ears soon, striking backdoor deals with Dave. There are plenty of seasoned politicians around who can bang a few heads together and sort out a solution.

Hillsborough Castle, Belfast is only a hop, skip and a jump away. To spin that Brown has to stay overnight makes it seem he's stranded in the far flung reaches of the Empire.

But no wonder he's holed up. Today's government-commissioned report from the National Equality Panel on the widening rich and poor gap makes grim reading. A damning indictment of New Labour’s failure to deliver on social mobility. Time to go to the "back of the class", as The Times cleverly puts it.

The report shows the great divide between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 70s. Britain, it concludes, "remains a nation riven by class “from cradle to grave”.

After 13 years in power, voters can be forgiven for thinking New Labour had plenty of time to get to grips with an issue which all parties agree is one of the key responsibilities of any government which wears its liberal heart on its sleeve.

But after throwing billions of pounds at programmes designed to narrow the gap it's gone from bad to worse, blowing out of the water mealy mouthed election 'aspirations' talk.

Once again the tired old fag-end government has been shown up running out of steam and Beleaguered Brown shown up running away.

For those missing the dulcet tones and warm friendly grin of the struggling Supreme Leader don't despair. When it's time for a 'good news' event and a chance for Beaming Brown to come over all statesman like - he'll be in there like a shot.

Mid picture: Peter Brookes, The Times

UPDATE 2pm: No sooner had PMQs finished than the BBC reported Bottling Brown was on his way back to Britain with no Northern Ireland deal. What a cop out.

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