It all started out so well for Gordon Brown. After years of being the eternal bridesmaid, he was finally able to don the dress and have his day when Tony Blair handed over the keys to Number 10. Ok…maybe that’s imagery you don’t need. But that’s kind of what happened in 2007. Now-former British PM Gordon Brown was handed the assignment of continuing with the Blair policies and sustaining the political power Labour had gained with Blair’s election 10 years previous. Sounds simple enough, right? So how is it that after only 3 years as British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has been unceremoniously dumped by the electorate? Hmmm.
Well, first of all, he shouldn’t feel too distraught over it. The British voting public didn’t seem very keen on any of the three parties — Labour just got the brunt of the abuse because it was the party in power. Gordon Brown was highly unpopular. All the polls said so. But in all the postmortems I’ve read on this election, the writers have yet to point to a singular failure on Brown’s part that directly led to Labour’s defeat. Yes, there were comments about his off-mike asides calling one woman who asked him questions “bigoted”, but those kind of things aren’t the ones that definitively swing an election one way or another. In the end, it was voter fatigue with Labour’s 13 years in power combined with the many voters who chose the Liberal Democrats that sealed Brown’s fate, but for the way he handled his own tenure, Gordon Brown has no one to blame but himself.
The funniest gag of the day (although I wasn’t fooled) was Jonah Goldberg’s description of President Obama’s visit with the Queen of England.
From the Corner:
Diplomatic jaws dropped across the continent yesterday when it was revealed that U.S. President Barack Obama had, once again, fumbled a routine protocal of international statecraft: finding the right gift for a foreign leader or head of state. In a private ceremony with Queen Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness bequeathed to the Obamas one of the earliest known copies of William Shakespeare’s Henry V. She also presented him with the framed orginal sheet music of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.” To the Obama daughters, the Queen gave a dollhouse-sized replica of Windsor Castle with a functioning train station in the year of the compound. They also received a prize Shetland pony. Mrs. Obama was given a ruby ring commissioned and worn by Queen Victoria.
The Obamas, unfortunately, did not seem prepared for the occasion despite the row set off by the exchange of gifts between Prime Minister Brown and the U.S. President barely a month ago. Mr. Obama rather unceremoniously handed the Queen a shopping bag from the Duty Free shop at Heathrow airport. It contained a signed paperback copy of Dreams of My Father, purchased at the WH Smith shop at the airport, a bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch (black label), a CD of the Swedish band ABBA’s greatest hits (still in shrink wrap with a 2-for-1 sticker on it) and ten bags of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them.
The Queen responded in a rather flat: “How delightful.”
I really don’t understand why people actually believed this was true. After all, the Obamas are much more thoughtful gift givers than that. I’m sure they would have at least wrapped all those lovely gifts. Apparently, the Queen received at least one really cool gift — a rare Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. (She digs show tunes…and really..who doesn’t?) Oh yeah — and a personalized iPod full of videos of her US visit. Inquiring minds want to know. What kind of iPod was it? If you really want to impress with Apple-related swag, everybody knows that you buy the MacBook. Or a 24 inch iMac. That’s fancy technology right there. After all, we are talking about the Queen of England, not some run-of-the-mill peasant.
So says the Financial Times.
McCain is even scarier than Bush because he will start more wars! He will spread more “democracy by force”! He’s actually serious about dealing with rogue states! He really is a neocon, and his “realist” advisors — mere window-dressing. Be very very afraid of this man. He’s a close friend of Bill Kristol, who, as the left reminds us, has to be the most terrifying advocate of pre-emptive war EVER. The Financial Times’ writer, Anatol Leiven, worries that McCain won’t talk to our allies enough before pursuing US foreign policy. He seems to be fearful that a President McCain would get the UK into another war. Does he seriously believe that PM Gordon Brown (for as long as he remains PM) and possible successor, David Cameron, have the same instincts as Tony Blair as far as a joint venture in more wars? I don’t know the answer to that.
I do know what would happen if we let Europe attempt to defend itself. It would be a miserable failure. The UK has its own national identity crisis right now. The leadership there is willing to surrender piece by piece the UK’s national sovereignty. There’s a reason why PM Brown and Labour will not allow the people to have a say on the Treaty of Lisbon, which gives more and more control and authority to the European Union. It’s not much different from the EU Constitution, which was decisively rejected by several EU member states. Why do I bring that up? It’s important to recognize the signs of a fading power in the world. A country unwilling to protect and preserve its own existence would hardly be a country willing to defend its allies, or to be a useful asset in the pursuit of the terrorists.
All I have to say to those like Leiven is: Be careful what you wish for. After 4 years of President Obama or President Hillary, you might be sorry that you questioned the wisdom of electing John McCain.
Looks like Gordon Brown will have a little trouble duplicating Tony Blair’s electoral success. That was one heck of a short honeymoon for current UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and like here in the US, it’s about the economy. Apparently his finance minister does not share his skill in economic matters, but you would think that Gordon Brown could give the guy a few ideas. It’s odd that Brown has struggled so much as Prime Minister. After all, he made quite a few brilliant moves as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He isn’t Tony Blair, and that’s what the good citizens of the UK thought that they wanted. Even with all of his years in the Blair orb, it’s not clear that he was the right guy to take Blair’s place in Number 10. Voters are fickle though, even across the pond, and they could change their minds tomorrow.
Until then…the latest poll has the Tories leading Labour by 13 points. (h/t – Real Clear Politics)
The numbers– Conservatives – 42, Labour – 29, LibDems – 21
Tories once lost elections on the economy. Will this be the reason Labour loses power again? The leader of the Conservatives, David Cameron, sure hopes so.