Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Somehow I'll resist the temptation to use the Mao/Zhou En Lai comparison

Gordon Brown on his relationship with Tony Blair: "There's no situation in history where you have the same two people working together for 10 years so something must have worked."

Given Brown's well documented interest in history (and his recent book about inspirational people with whom he would like us to compare him) this is a curious claim. Unless he has some ultra-pedantic "10 years, neither more nor less", definition he was either a little dull first thing in the morning; working on the assumption that GMTV is watched only by thickos (you might think that...); or else he was well aware this is not strictly, or even remotely, true. There are plenty of long-term partnerships in British politics (Derby and Disraeli, for one, Galloway and **** deleted for legal reasons **** for another), but the most apt of these is Churchill and Eden.

Without necessarily wishing to compare Blair to Churchill, you can see why Brown may be a wee bit edgy about making such comparisons. After waiting years for the top job, Eden was not an unqualified success in the job and – despite a close relationship (hell, Churchill was Eden's father-in-law) – the outgoing premier clearly had his reservations: "I don't believe Anthony can do it".

Of course, any politician is going to be selective with their comparisons (few Blairists would compare their man to Lord North, another long-serving PM) hence the afore-mentioned Brown book. Obviously we're meant to note the similarity of Courage: Eight Portraits to JFK's Profiles in Courage and, through this type of casual comparison, deduce that Brown is just like JFK (bar the health problems, mob ties and serial shagging, obviously).

But Kennedy wrote (or rather got someone to write his book) as a sort of penance after a staggering act of political cowardice: he managed to do a disappearing act just before Joe McCarthy (who was very popular amongst Kennedy's Boston-Irish core support) was censured by the Senate.

We should all be grateful, then, that this sort of behaviour is quite unlike our own (soon-to-be) dear leader. I'm sure you won't need me to point you to his unbending, first-into-the-firing-line defence of the government whenever things get sticky, because you'll be familiar with it all already.

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Blogger Quink said...

What's all this about Galloway? Miaouw, William, Miaouw...

11:30 pm  

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