The Brown Gaffes
The BBC news pages comment that Gordon Brown's interview suggests he is feeling more relaxed about leadership challenges and their status as non-occurring prime-ministerial extinction level events. I think he uses at least two phrases which suggest his institutional memory of the office he holds is every bit as poor as his economic recovery plans.
By invoking his school motto ("I will do better") as his continuing inspiration, he inspires comparison with Neville Chamberlain's determination to live up to his nanny's old saying, "If at first you don't succeed....etc etc", as uttered on his return from the triumph we all know as Munich. Both sayings are as banal and insipidly meaningless as they come, aimed appropriately at very small children who can be offered comfort by such useless mantras but used very inappropriately by national leaders who are meant to have attained some level of maturity. (If you want school mottos, of course, 'Keep Faith' might have been a little more in keeping with the times!).
Second, he described himself as a "pretty ordinary guy". A man who is a political obsessive from his teens and becomes prime minister after serving ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer may be many things, but they emphatically do not include being a "pretty ordinary guy". Worse for Brown, this ludicrously self deluding phraseology bears comparison with Tony Blair's equally erroneous statement that he was a "pretty straight guy". For a thorough going demolition of that piece of aggrandising hypocrisy go no further than Nick Cohen's furious book-length denunciation in "Pretty Straight Guys".
If this really was the best that Brown could do, he is in as much trouble as he has ever been, and the only light at the end of his tunnel is the quiet release into retirement after the next election.