“…..It’s as if he thinks that, if only he can make one more titanic effort, the scales will suddenly fall from the public’s eyes and the Tories will stand revealed as the wicked, malevolent force he thinks they are, and Brown will be bathed in virtuous sunlight as the country’s great protector. Brown is entitled to think this. But it’s a fantasy. Smart politics ought to have a bigger and more supple vision than that in times like these…”– Martin Kettle – Guardian
Of all the comment pieces on yesterday’s Queen’s Speech there’s one that, for me, stands out – Martin Kettle in the Guardian.
He tries to explain why so much of Brown’s efforts are expended on trying to create “potent dividing lines between what Labour offers to the nation and what it claims the Tories might do.” Everything from Number 10’s perspective has to fit this template.
And yet Kettle argues that the objective, that somehow the public will realise that he is right, is a fantasy.
A challenge, of course, is that we’ve been here before with the Prime Minister. We know how he operates and we can spot a manoeuvre a mile off. He’s just too obvious.
My own advice to Brown would be to ignore the party politics and focus on expressing his vision for the society he wants. There were moments in his speech yesterday when he did this and came over well. It’s when he reduces everything to a party battle that he looks so much weaker and a lesser person. He’s just spooked by his young Tory rival.