Alex Massie

Brown’s Salvage Operation

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So, Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour party conferene wasn't terrible. By which I mean that it clearly pleased his audience. And his "This is no time for a novice" line was an entertaining slap aimed at both David Cameron and David Miliband. But that carries danger too: Brown is trying to make the case that only he can be trusted to implement necessary reforms. He is betting that, come the election, voters will choose "experience" over "change". Does that sound familiar? Well, it didn't work for Hillary Clinton did it? And I'm not sure it's going to work for John McCain either. Nor does Brown have the luxury of running against an ncumbent the way McCain can try to leverage his differences with George W Bush or Nicolas Sarkozy was able to run against Jacques Chirac.

That wasn't the only echo of the current American presidential campaign, however. Consider this:

But let me start with something I hope you know already.

I didn't come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I'd always be popular.

Perhaps, that's just as well.

No, 25 years ago I asked the people of Fife to send me to parliament to serve the country I love.

And I didn't come to London because I wanted to join the establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it.

So I'm not going to try to be something I'm not.

And if people say I'm too serious, quite honestly there's a lot to be serious about - I'm serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.

So there you have it: David Cameron is the flippant, unserious, celebrity candidate and Gordon Brown, Member of Parliament for a quarter of a century, Chancellor of the Exchequer for a decade and current Prime Minister, is the outsider, running against entrenched - special! - interests at Westminster. David Cameron represents the establishment, whereas Brown, in power for nearly a dozen years, is the heroic crusader pledging to clean up Westminster and deliver a fresh golden age of fairness and opportunity for all.

That's some audacity there. Gordon Brown is John McCain and Barack Obama. Who knew?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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