Nantwich & Crewe has come and gone. It is a Bank holiday in Britain, coupled to a parliamentary recess. There is time for the men in suits to slip quietly, silently, like deadly clostridium difficile, into Downing St. to have a quiet word. The Sunday newspapers have yet to pronounce their verdicts. The Saturday broadsheets have made their views known.
Employees will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted beyond it, according to Laurence Peter, the author of the concept. The role of prime minister carries no specific portfolio yet requires many talents. It may not require the deep intelligence and attention to minutiae needed of a Chancellor, but it certainly needs an intelligence honed by dealing with people from many backgrounds, it requires good communication skills, the ability to delegate and oversee and, above all, the skills of an orator and the ability to bite when being bitten. An article in The Guardian pointed out that while there is, for the present, the sound of senior members of the government keeping their heads down – even Tinkerbell Blears, wheeled out to do her best on Question Time the other night is silent – that Brown may at best be given a year to sort things out, possibly less, and one commentator wrote that it is time for the P.M to have a re-shuffle, fall on his sword and make way for someone else.
Brown, to my perhaps jaded eye, is a classic ‘Number 2’, the backroom man, the enforcer, the attention to detail man – the man who does the dirty business, who executes the business plan. Number 2s rarely make good Number Ones – and that, in part, is what we are seeing with Brown now.
Backbenchers, worried about the prospect of the Labour Party being reduced to below 100 seats at the next election will, inevitably, as they did with Margaret Thatcher and John Major all those years ago before the ‘nice decade’, begin to yap and then, as more join in, bark until the pack howls, growls and tears what is left of Gordon Brown’s beleaguered and plague infested administration to bits.
Well… I am not, of course, a political commentator. I read newspapers. I watch politics programmes – but I do see Shakespeare… I see men in togas walking up the steps… I see a man, alone, coping with his demons… as the phones fall silent… as those who once sought patronage and favour slink away like jackals…. I see King Lear…. for Lady Macbeth has already gone to write her memoirs…. and, for the present, has sheathed her stiletto(s).
I like nothing better on a Bank Holiday Saturday afternoon than a bit of hyperbole and hyperventilation… to go with a lunchtime glass of Rioja Gran Reserva
The end game is close… it cannot, now, be long. It could be checkmate by pawns. … a truly horrible way to end a chess match…. or, indeed, a long political career.