Sunday, November 18, 2007

The farce of Brown's "government of all the talents"

Brown's "reaching out" style of government really has been exposed as a farce this week.

He brings in the "simple sailor" Lord Admiral Alan West. He hears West's advice, which is built on year's of experience, and then promptly tells West to reverse his opinion on the 56 days detention without charge period.

Then there is Lord Malluch-Brown. Being briefed against. The modern equivalent of being stabbed in the back in Roman days.

Simon Hoggart observes:

I know Admiral Lord West moderately well, since his sister is a friend and neighbour of ours. His wife, Rosie, is an artist and as unlike the popular notion of a senior officer's wife as it is possible to be. He calls himself "a simple sailor" but he is anything but; I'd say he's a very sophisticated sailor.

But perhaps not sophisticated enough to realise the sheer ruthlessness of politics. In some ways it must be easier to face an Exocet missile than a prime minister instructing you to change your mind, as Gordon Brown did on Wednesday; neither training nor courage will prepare you cope with that.

But of course the real loser this week was not Alan West, but Brown himself. He came into office promising to be open and candid with the public, and to make full use of experts from outside politics. Then as soon as one of the experts offers his own candid opinion, he is immediately instructed to change his mind. The effect is awful. Brown has begun to look evasive and shifty even sooner than Tony Blair did.

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