Sunday, December 16, 2007


Where did they get this guy? How did he get the job?
These questions must be on lips of European leaders this weekend after Gordon Brown’s pathetic performance in Lisbon, sneaking in the back door to sign the new EU Treaty hours after everyone else had signed it, posed for a group picture and was leaving after lunch.
If they have got over amazement at Brown’s dithering display, they will still wonder how a man who doesn’t seem to know how to behave on the global stage became Britain’s Prime Minister. As he couldn’t even come up with a decent reason for being late, he will get ‘nil points’ for his excuse.
Brown must be the only person who believed he was late in Lisbon because he had a prior appointment with some Select Committee MPs. For goodness sake, he’s the Prime Minister and they would have had no choice but to accept being put off to another day because he had a more important engagement.
Thanks to his mishandling of the Northern Rock crisis, the loss of nearly half the population’s personal details in the post and the weekly thrashing he gets from Conservative Leader David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions, most people in Britain already know that the job of PM is beyond Brown and he’s just not up to it.
Whilst Tony Blair had the confidence and charm to shrug off every attack over his many mistakes with the nonchalance of a proverbial duck in water, even a pinprick of criticism is a flesh wound for the deeply insecure Brown and instantly reflected on his tortured face.
With the mighty mess he is making of things, is there any wonder old Blairites call his Cabinet the B team? Or that the outsiders he recruited with his spin about a Governments Of All The Talents are known as GOATS?
In the UK we are used to limping on with lame or dead duck Prime Ministers. We suffered John Major and James Callaghan in their terminal political years and life went on afterwards.
But more than ever it’s different matter in Europe where every leader needs to be at the top of his game to serve his country’s interests best. Whatever anyone thinks of the Treaty of Lisbon, Brown’s display of vulnerability and uncertainty and not knowing how to behave has ensured that Britain will count for less in Europe and be seen as easier to manipulate and overrule in future.
While Brown continues to dither and make an ass of himself because that’s his way and he can’t help it, smart operators like French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German’s doughty Chancellor, Angela Merckel, will dictate the terms and our so-called ‘red lines’ will become as invisible as Brown was in the group picture in Lisbon. Like David Cameron, the EU leaders have scented blood and weakness and will go after him.
We already know that the story Brown was the best Finance Minister since World War II was simply spin. He not only stealthily taxed the population more heavily than any of his predecessors but gambled on the consumer boom, certain he would have moved on by the time it collapsed. (He only just made it!) He also set up the banking structure which resulted in Northern Rock not being able to lay its hands on money when it needed cash fast.
Brown is simply not a leader and the personal tragedy of his attempts to do the job of Prime Minister is only just beginning. The much bigger tragedy will be for the British people whose interests will simply be ignored or trampled under foot by the big fat cats of Europe - all because the mouse that sneaked in the back door at Lisbon showed them the way.
Copyright © Rebecca Hamilton 2007. All Rights Reserved