1 min read

Editor's blog 5 June 2009: the end of the pier for Gordon Brown

Health Policy Insight associate director Tom Smith has written an entertaining and insightful essay about Labour's leadership crisis on his fine new blog. I recommend it to you strongly.

Gordon Brown's incessant shenanigans when he was Tony Blair's chancellor have left him in no position to require or request loyalty. Loyalty is, in any case, the Conservatives' secret weapon -hence their post-regicide crisis after defenestrating Margaret Thatcher).

No surprise that it was a smiling-faced Blairite in James Purnell who wielded the knife.

It is part of Gordon Brown's tragedy that he became PM in a media age. He has a tin ear for the media.

It is also a part of his tragedy that, despite a brief period of promise when he took over, he could not reach beyond the divisive tactics that had split New Labour into Blairites and Brownites. But then, New Labour did not shed the media-driven habits of opposition until early in the third term, when Blair saw the shallowness of his legacy.

History may be kind to Brown for his response to the financial crisis. But history has the luxury of perspective. All too often, politics does not. Opinion polls do not. And the media does not.