Friday, 25 September 2009

Clark on Brown

No, not Charles Clarke, Alan Clark.

I was looking for something amusing to read last night and picked up my copy of Clark's Diaries. It fell open at page 64, in which he sets out the view that Thatcher should have her own office. He tries to get this off the ground by writing a letter to Ian Gow on 15 January 1984, in which he says:

"I start with the premise that the Prime Minister is everything: what dimishes or threatens her diminishes or threatens the country - just as the country is itself enhanced by whatever does so for her authority and freedom" (AC's own emphasis)
The parallels are obvious. I think it is fair to say that with Dubya as President, America lost some of the respect it once commanded. That is returning with Obama, not (particularly) because he is an especially good President - how could he be in the time so far - but because he is widely respected.

The recent news surrounding Gordon Brown brings this into sharp relief, however. He is being diminshed and threatened daily by others in his party. He is being (rightly) ridiculed across the country for his inability to make the right decision at the right time - so often waiting until too late, then geting it wrong. He has neither support in his party nor in the country. Letters from a Tory shows the effects of this; no-one was listening to him at the UN.

This is not a party political rant, either. Blair was a respected PM; I have blogged before as to how, despite my disagreement with his policies, I accept that he made a good PM. He had an elusive quality of PM-ness about him that Brown singularly lacks.

Brown is an embarrassment of a PM, and it is steadily harming this country. Time to go, Gordon.


  1. Is Obama respected? A couple of days ago Nile Gardiner in the Telegraph (sorry I can do italics, but I'm unsure of how to do hyperlinks!) said

    "The UN is not a club of democracies - who still remain a minority within its membership – it is a vast melting pot of free societies, socialist regimes and outright tyrannies. Obama’s clear lack of interest in human rights issues is a big seller at the UN, where at least half its members have poor human rights records.

    "The president scores highly at the UN for refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage...
    Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership."

    In other words, Obama is loved because there is no need to respect him.

  2. Hmmm.
    But Gordon is neither loved nor respected.
    I think that may make him a hooker.

  3. Obama doesn't seem to be much loved at home either - especially when one considers how recently he became president.

  4. Obama is liked because he frequently shows that he remembers what it is like to be the underdog. Okay, he isn't anymore and he knows that, but he can still display, when necessary, genuine heartfelt understanding and connection with his roots (no pun intended). He still remembers to smile. Obama is a realist, not an idealist, Albert, so do not be too harsh on him. Let's hope Obama can bang some heads together on the world stage.

    Brown has completely forgotten what it is like to be the underdog. He is only interested in saving his own skin and as a result, he does the UK much damage. Brown showed little respect for the value of money as he immediately dived into heaps of QE. That decision alone lost him international respect as others, who sensibly resisted, were under much pressure to follow suit; their currencies will be less devalued in years to come. Brown has used his arrogance as a way of coping to disguise incompetence and ignorance. As with all who become too big for their boots (I include dictators), they think of themselves and therefore only those who are allied to them. Representing this country isn't on the agenda anymore; Brown just wanted a photo opportunity and a press release. I agree the PM has harmed this country and he continues to do so.

    At least it is patently obvious that it is now extensively recognised that Brown has outstayed his welcome. Is it patriotic to point this out? On balance, yes; I think it is so self-evident that there is no harm done demonstrating that we are aware of how poorly our government is currently perceived.

  5. Measured,

    I wasn't meaning to knock Obama on the international scene quite as much as perhaps it appears. I was simply questioning whether "respect" really is the right word to describe people's feelings towards him.

    However, I don't think he's really a supporter of the under-dog either, at least not a consistent one. He's a person who supports partial birth abortion and opposed the 'Born-Alive Infants Protection Act', which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. In many ways Obama's views are infanticidal even by liberal European standards.

    He is not a supporter of the under-dog when the underdog is that most vulnerable and voiceless of under-dogs: the unborn child.

  6. (Albert,

    Sorting out abortion laws in America is the least of his problems right now. It is not an easy topic, but I read what you write.)

  7. Measured

    It's interesting that you identify Obama as a realist not an idealist. I agree with you here, but I think you and I may be in the minority.

    Certainly, he has many problems and many competing priorities. I raise his extremist abortion views simply to illustrate what seems to me to be a serious contradiction in what he believes, prior to what he does.

    That contradiction raises questions about which Obama is really motivating his actions. The Obama which is bright, idealistic and determined to improve people's lot in life, or the Obama that regards even the direct and deliberate destruction of innocent human life (and unusually ghastly forms of destruction at that) as an appropriate means to an end?

    Every wicked man aims as fulfilling some good or other. We judge them wicked according to the means they use: that is, the other goods they violate in their pursuit.

    I'm not saying Obama is deliberately wicked, but he is confusing and I wonder if the contradiction runs straight through him. Is he really in favour of peace for example, or just more indifferent to what is wrong in the world? Is he really committed to conciliarism or just less committed to what is right?

    I suppose we shall see. But I suspect the record would show that just as the world has not been well served by over-interventionist US presidents, neither has it been well served by presidents of the opposite extreme.

  8. Albert, the US abortion debate is a minefield entirely of its own from which rationality has long been excluded. I have learnt over the years to ignore completely an American's view on abortion when assessing them, and to accept that they will almost certainly hold views that are certifiably insane in one direction or the other. The US abortion issue is also quite distinctly not the subject of this post, and not one that I want to delve into right now.

    I have very definite views on abortion, which arise from a pretty unique viewpoint, and which Obama would probably not like (from the sound of it). I might open a discussion on that one day, but not today.


  9. Fair enough, but I'm not stopping anyone from discussing anything else. My remarks are not directly about abortion in any case but about Obama as mentioned in the original post. My guess is that he is as morally compromised as Brown - possibly more so and that may be the reason (pace tua your post) he is sometimes loved, but not respected.

  10. @ Bill Quango MP

    Hmmm. There is a difference. Brown sh*fted everyone rather than the other way round. :-)