Are columns like this turning the media narrative?
There’s a must-read column in the Independent today, highlighted by Ted on the overnight thread, which seems to get to the heart of the political and economic challenges that are facing Britain. So much, Hamilton argues, is tied with the personality of the Prime Minister and his inability to admit uncertainty.
Hamilton writes: “..His political dilemma is obvious enough. Having set himself up as the man in control, the leader with the answers for here and everywhere else, he canâ€™t afford to admit that the measures he so bravely proclaimed as leading the West in tackling the banking problems simply havenâ€™t worked, that his actions to reflate the economy have done little to restore consumer confidence and that his measures to prop up the banks have failed to get them lending again..He blames the banks of course. But then that also is his problem. In Brownâ€™s version of the present crisis, everything has come from the outside, nothing is his responsibility..
It’s no good governments saying they know. They don’t. Gordon Brown and Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, were only six months ago telling us that inflation not deflation was the danger. Yet there is something in the political make-up, and especially in Gordon Brown’s character, that demands that they appear to know all…
Their voters don’t feel that way. They know that they don’t know and they’re pretty confident from the gathering pace of new emergency measures that their political masters are just as much in the dark. Obama seems to understand it, judging from his inaugural address appeal for everyone to roll up their sleeves and work to get through this winter. Only our Prime Minister, still claiming the mantle of the sage, appears in denial.”
As I was suggesting a week and a half ago that the response to the crisis appears to be a stream of apparently uncoordinated policy announcements that look like the “headless chicken syndrome”. Action for the sake of action is the order of the day and now serious commentators like Hamilton are going on the attack.
The seriousness of the crisis is now transcending traditional party loyalties and the danger for Brown comes when his political ambitions are seen as being more important to him than following the best course.
Where will this end? I don’t know but as each day goes by I’m becoming less certain that Brown will lead Labour into the election.
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