Alex Massie

Gordon Brown, Lawrence Oates and Polly Toynbee

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Polly Toynbee is always worth reading. Her latest column is no exception. For all that one might disagree with her, indeed even be infuriated by her, there's always something useful to be gleaned from her columns. Still, there's a kind of panicked resignation about this latest one and an implied acceptance that Labour are doomed. The only thing that can save them? Massive increases in spending and government debt apparently. Well it's an idea...

I confess that, rather mean-spiritedly, my favourite bit was this:

In the dream scenario, Brown ascends the world stage to head a beefed-up IMF, but few imagine the man who wanted it so much can confess he wasn't leadership material after all. A Captain Oates walk to save the party he loves is an unlikely act for a man who admits no mistakes.

UPDATE: Commenter Mac makes the other essential point:

Oates was part of a group whose leader misjudged the needs of the mission (using ponderous, unreliable motor tractors and ponies and man-hauled sledges.)

Yet contemporaneously, another team succeeded in exactly the same project with an entirely different philosophy.

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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