Monday, July 02, 2007

The Nelson touch?

Given the events of the first few days of his premiership, I've wanted to ask Gordon Brown: "all the waiting, all the manoeuverings via briefings and proxies - was it worth it?" This morning Paul Wells points out Janet Daley's column in the Telegraph in which she argues that these events could shape people's perceptions of PM Brown, much to David Cameron's disadvantage:
In a time of national threat we don't want cuddly; we want serious and stern. Charm might be nice when politics is becalmed and day-to-day living is secure, but gravitas is a whole lot better when there are unknown numbers of people in your midst ready to commit random mass murder. When a nation is in danger, it judges its leader (or potential leader) by his character, rather than his personality. So if the contest between Mr Brown's governing style and David Cameron's opposition is really to be, as my colleague Boris Johnson wrote on this page last week, between humourless Labour Roundheads and jolly Tory Cavaliers, then God pity the Conservatives. The last thing that the electorate will welcome now is the opportunity to be governed by prancing fops.
Before this week I would never have thought of a comparison between Gordon Brown and Horatio Nelson (although those pensioners who had their savings taken, sank, burned and destroyed by Brown might disagree) he did paraphrase a certain phrase which Nelson made immortal:
There was very little sense of he - Gordon Brown - being the star of this show: a lack of egotistical "hand of history on my shoulder", what-this-means-to-me insight into his personal feelings. Again, in the spirit of a wartime leader, he was saying that we all have our part to play: I will carry out my responsibilities and I "expect" (a headmasterly word he used in that first broadcast to the nation) everyone in Britain to do the same. [emphasis added]
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