James Forsyth

Brown’s Churchillian delusion

Brown's Churchillian delusion
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Ben Brogan’s column, which Pete flagged up earlier, contains this intriguing insight into how Brown sees himself:

“Mr Brown is currently obsessed with Winston Churchill, and how to avoid his fate. Those around the Prime Minister describe how he is preoccupied by the idea of a war-time leader who guided the nation to safety through dark times, only to be thanked with a thumping defeat.

For the Second World War, read the financial crisis; for D-Day, read the bank rescues and the fiscal stimulus package. By his reckoning, Mr Brown has led us through the Normandy bocage, but the Ardennes and the Rhine lie ahead. The trick, Downing Street believes, is to fight the next election as if it was November 1944, when the war was going well but far from won. On no account must Labour give the impression that the worst is over.” Once I’d got over my amusement at Brown seeing parallels between himself and Churchill, this set me thinking about the politics of a W-shaped recession - the theory that because the underlying problems of the financial sector haven’t been sorted out, the economy will go back into recession later this year. I’ve always tended to the belief that this would be the final nail in Brown’s coffin, proof that he didn’t save the banks let alone the world. But there is another possibility that Brown will once more be able to grab centre stage, as he did last autumn, and pose as a decisive man of action. I suspect that the public mood is too sour for this to work for long, if at all, but it might be enough to shore up his internal position.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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