Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How Dysfunctional Is Gordon Brown?

It takes rare political skill to achieve something of a much needed success with your conference speech, briefly allaying all the doubts about your leadership, and then to ignite the events that, merely hours later, lead everyone to start questioning your leadership all over again.

Whether you liked the speech or not, Gordon Brown at least seemed to satisfy his party faithful and generate some positive news headlines the following day. Job done, you might think. Not in Brownland. Knowing that the Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, would be resigning at the time of the cabinet reshuffle, it seems that Brown's bunker-like team of advisers started to convince themselves that she would use said resignation as a starting gun for other, disillusioned cabinet ministers to join her at the exit. This bizarre line of reasoning led someone to leak news of her impending resignation to some favoured journalists, and ultimately gave rise to the extraordinary spectacle of a 3am press conference by the Downing Street mob to run a story about a minister's resignation that the minister herself had had no intention of releasing. All in the name of squashing a hypothetical plot.

There have been numerous stories of the paranoid, bunker mentality currently prevailing on Team Brown (see this post by Iain Dale, and the article linked opposite by Nick Cohen as examples), and the Kelly affair, so utterly self-destructive, seems merely to pile more evidence on the 'Gordon Brown is mad, delusional and out of control' theory.

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