Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tough on grannies, tough on the causes of grannies

If there is a small crumb of comfort for Gordon Brown as he prepares for an evening of two posh boys trashing his cherished self-image as a towering economic genius... actually, scratch that. There isn't a crumb of comfort. Let's start again.

If there is one thing that might raise Gordon Brown's mood from the blackest soul-crushing despair to a state of mere doom-laden, unremittingly hopelessness it is the though that the he is not alone in having a less than favourable impression of the sort of people who vote for him. Here is one of his predecessors, Lord Salisbury, on campaigning

... days and weeks of screwed up smiles and laboured courtesy, the mock geniality, the hearty shake of the filthy hand, the chuckling reply to the coarse joke, the loathsome choking compliment that must be paid to the grimy wife and sluttish daughter, the indispensable flattery of the vilest religious prejudices, the wholesale deglutition of hypocritical pledges.

Admittedly, Salisbury is not directly comparable to Brown. He was not the sort of person to cling to office at all costs (after being ousted for the first time his son sent him a telegram reading: "I hear you are turned out. Many congratulations"); more to the point, he led his party to victory.

Nonetheless, it does suggest that saying what you really think might not be the worse thing for a politician to do. If only Brown promised to be tough on grannies and tough on the causes of grannies, if only he had promised to free the land from the menace of elderly ladies with their poorly articulated failure to grasp the nature of socio-economic change in a globalised economy - well, he'd hardly be worse off, would he? It would probably win back a few Guardian readers from the Lib Dem camp.

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