6 Responses

  1. That reminds me of the 1964 US election. Goldwater’s slogan was “In your heart, you know he’s right” and Johnson’s response was “In your guts, you know he’s nuts”.

    Brian writes:
    That was precisely what I was referring to!

  2. Carl Lundquist/LA says:

    I was gonna cast my vote for Barry Goldwater in 1964, but lots of really smart folks told me that if I did, within two years there would be a half a million American boys fighting in Vietnam and we would be bombing Hanoi.

    Well I voted for old Barry anyway, and, by God you know they were right!

    Brian writes: Thank you for this, Carl: good to have you back, after much too long an absence!

  3. But it was Dr Strangelove that was nuts, not Johnson.

  4. John Miles says:

    Yes, it’s obvious Mr Cameron’s pretty thick.
    Does anyone really think Mr Brown’s any brighter?

    Brian writes: Yes: I do. Where Cameron is slick and superficial, Brown is a serious heavy-weight politician. But I think he’s short on charisma (some people apparently find Mr Cameron charismatic) and clearly defective in his judgement of people, perhaps through being hyper-suspicious.. He also looks very awkward on television, partly because of the permanent effects of the injury he suffered on the rugby field as a schoolboy when he lost the use of one eye and of certain facial muscles. He’s intellectually formidable however — much more so than Tony Blair or Cameron — as well as being extremely obstinate and inclined to be indecisive. If he hadn’t inherited two wars, become prime minister so late in Labour’s period in office, and been faced almost at once by a global financial and economic crisis not in any way attributable to him or his policies or record (which however he has tackled effectively, intelligently and rather bravely), his premiership might have turned out very differently. He’s not lucky.

  5. so this is the debit side of brown’s c.v.
    1 short on charisma
    2 defective in his judgement of people
    3 lacks charisma
    4 tends to obstinacy/indecision
    5…..not lucky
    oh dear, malcolm tucker would be hard pressed to help him
    Brian writes: Yes. But he has some great assets too. You don’t get to be UK prime minister without positive qualities, some of which he demonstrated in spades in his responses to the financial crisis. I also happen to think that he was a highly successful Chancellor of the Exchequer for a full decade despite his damagingly dysfunctional relationship with the then prime minister. He’s a big beast in the political jungle.

  6. John Miles says:

    I’m sorry, I can’t  share your admiration for Mr Brown. 
    To me he comes across as stupid and shifty.
    He doesn’t seem to know a means from an end, and only once do I remember him giving a  straight answer to an important question.
    He was cosying up to Mr Blair – it was election time – when somebody, probably Nick Robinson, asked him if he supported Mr Blair over Iraq.
    “Yes,” he said as he swept off into the sunset.

    How can you think Mr Brown’s “unlucky” to be lumbered with two wars?
    Wasn’t he one of the ringleaders of the gang who started them in the first place?

    My support for the Labour Party assumes its overriding purpose is to give everyone in our society the wherewithal to enjoy a reasonably civilised life.
    New Labour seems to have lost sight of this. Their “focus” has moved away from the welfare of ordinary people, their “core vote.”
    Their vision now seems to be of a meritocracy where anyone so minded, and so gifted, can move up a class or two by becoming filthy rich.
    The slogan, “Vote Labour and send your sons to Eton,” isn’t a complete caricature.

    Brian writes: Thank you for this, John. My admiration for Gordon Brown is heavily qualified. But I think he’s currently seriously underrated and that dislike of him, even contempt for him, both largely undeserved, are important factors militating against a victory (or even a reasonable showing) for Labour at the general election. It’s very unfair, but I think he should stand down as soon as possible, well before the election, to give Labour a chance.

    I agree entirely with what you say about New Labour, which has pretty well abandoned core Labour principles in the rush to capture and hold not just the centre ground but great swaths of the right as well. Blair and other New Labour luminaries completely misunderstand the concept of a ‘meritocracy’, which is a term describing a particular form of dystopia in which the weakest and most vulnerable are abandoned to their fates while the toughest and most unprincipled claw their way to the top and capture more than their share of wealth and privilege. Michael Young started to turn in his grave, so to speak, over the glorification of ‘meritocracy’ even before he died (and wrote a letter to the Guardian saying so). And he had invented the word and the concept.

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