Busy Brown

Globnob and Dolly do bad things

One man and his vanity, that's how many people would describe the G20. It was wall-to-wall publicity for Gordon Brown (as a juvenile below right) and this jamboree but not always for the right reasons. The memory of the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 will endure long after even the most nerdy of political junkies has forgotten the substance of the concord that was dished up at the conclusion of the event.

Before anyone had time to catch GlobnobGlobnobtheir breath Brown is back in the news. This time, following the departure of PC Bob Quick for flashing, that is showing off his top secret papers to the Northern Hemisphere, he has picked a fight with Pakistan. Never mind, there was a raid, but well ahead of the planned date, on a number of locations in the UK. Arrests were made and lo, to the astonishment of only the foolish, a link was established between those in custody and Pakistan. Then PM Brown, perhaps rather too gruffly, points out that this happens a lot. You may imagine that the Pakistanis are not best pleased, even though this is true. As Nulabour has been in power for so long, when there's a problem perhaps they could try blaming themselves for once.

So, not too many days ago we have had Brown posturing with the great and the good, or at least the world's richest nations. This is Brown at his best, the sort of thing he does well. An editorial in the Guardian described his oversight of the G20 as 'global nobility'! The unfortunate thing here is that the equally busy Lord Mandelson once likened Brown to Moses, Brown has been called many things and I see a nickname looming, I wonder how Brown will like being called Globnob!

Just days later we find Brown appealing to Pakistan, one of the world's failing states, to help him stop the flood of terrorists coming to the UK, bit of a come down eh? It would be cruel to say one leader of a failing state appeals to another, also hard to define; for it seems that Pakistan might not end up going to the IMF for a loan.

In 1927 the BBC adopted the motto: 'Nation shall speak unto nation'. This is one of Brown's problems, too little normal conversation involving ebb and flow, too little listening. With Brown it's: Nation shall bellow and command unto nation. I wonder if he was surprised his approach failed? Anyway, never-stay-still Brown is back in the news again or, to be precise, his man Damian McBride is.

Tradition has it that, as the UK's banks fall over, all in good time the main characters involved end up in front of the Treasury Select Committee being grilled by the chairman John McFall. One of his favourite and now famous lines is to accuse the hapless in front of him of being “asleep at the wheel”. By contrast the accident caused by McBride can be said to be on a much greater scale, akin to being asleep while in charge of the nuclear power station. Proof of this is the ever growing mushroom cloud towering above the roof of a certain official residence in Downing Street.

What to do? Well, when reactor No.4 went up at Chernobyl millions of tons of concrete were poured over the site to seal the poisonous muck inside. Funny how it goes, Lord Mandy calls McBride, “McPoison”, a remark like that coming from a man like that, well it makes you think. In the Downing Street case, it being London, things are different, the Mayor of London would have to be consulted. You may think that Boris Johnson would get his coat off and help mix the stuff, but perhaps not. Boris is in enough trouble following the resignation of Quick. It might be best for Boris to carry on with the holiday weekend, weather permitting.
Not the next leaderNot the next leader
After the sacking of McBride what's left of the Brown spin machine must have hoped the story had been shut down. But no, the damage limitation did not work, for this morning up pops Alan Johnson (see right). Now why did he do that? Well the cynical might have noted that HERE he is, according to the bookies, 14/1 to follow Jacqui Smith, that's third in line for a better job, worth getting up early for eh? For that is what he did, got up early to be interviewed by James Naughtie on the BBC radio 4 Today programme and also an interview HERE.

The thoughtful will conclude from the interview that it's what's left out that's important rather than the to-and-fro between them. The unkind will notice that Johnson seems to use the same tailor as McBride. There is also a similar puffiness about the jowls and the sallow complexion, these people should get out more. They should certainly learn to shut up. For rather than throw water on the fire Johnson has poured petrol on it and the story spins on for yet another day. The bookies may wish to revise their odds on Johnson, foolish man that he is. The really unkind will suggest that Johnson was laying out his stall with an eye on the top job- Johnson to replace Brown etc, however, while Johnson has, unlike David Miliband, kept his banana firmly in his pocket, for him the top job remains as far away as ever; thus the nation can rest in peace.

At the moment there is an attempt to get Brown to say sorry for this mess, the emails did come from Downing Street after all. This will prove to be as fruitful as getting him to own up to his part in the financial crisis. Brown's slipperiness does him no credit, his attempt to distance himself from the main characters in McBridegate are now looking pathetic. Derek Draper (below right), nickname Dolly, did have lunch at Chequers with Brown at roughly the time the 'Red Rag' website was being set up. This was to be the website on which the 'brilliant' ideas of McBride and Draper would have been posted, see HERE.

The idea that the bumptious and loud Draper either kept quiet throughout lunch or, if he did speak waffled on about the weather, is hard to imagine. As too is that Brown was so bored he fell asleep and so did not hear anything.
Dolly Dolly

Recent political history carries the story of the meeting at the Granita restaurant in London in which Brown and Blair met following the death of the then party leader John Smith. From that lunch came the uneasy Brown/Blair partnership which was the power behind the Nulabour project. Perhaps the Brown/Draper lunch at Chequers will eventually be seen as the lunch that sealed its fate. The years in between, 1994 - 2009, an unpleasant mix of eating disorder and bad politics.