Saturday, 11 October 2008

Could this be Gordon Brown’s golden hour?

How oddly appropriate that just as a heavy-set, self-claimed destiny-burdened Prime Minister takes up the reins, the country falls into a depression. When crises can make (or break) leaders, even more appropriate it is that this former treasurer is faced with specifically a financial challenge. It all seems so perfectly planned.

A man who has been inundated with criticism since the beginning of his term for being dour and uncharismatic is now faced with the kind of serious challenge he has always claimed his kind of personality was made for. Could ‘Boring Gordon’ be re-christened ‘Golden Brown’?

Although I was a supporter of Mr Brown at the beginning of his term – I identify with his inability to play personality politics and I sympathise with his inclination to avoid indulgence in such superficialities – I have occasionally had my faith shaken by his apparent lack of youthful vision and enthusiasm.

It is at such a stage of low faith that this latest crisis has struck and it is clear: this is perfect Brownian weather. Will this, again self-claimed, Heathcliff lead us through the wild, cold moors of financial gloom and let us into his safe, albeit none too cosy, mansion?

This kind of desperate scenario is what he claims he was made for. If so, it could be his making. If his stoicism, his sensible and old-fashioned attitude towards life enables, in the immediate term effective damage management and for the long-term balance and stability, it could be his golden hour.

Ultimately we may find ourselves grateful for his solid, grounded presence and approach – as, inversely, we were led into bitter disappointment by Tony Blair’s charismatic but ultimately suspect approach to the biggest crisis of his reign, 9/11

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