Alex Massie

Gordon’s McCavity Days Are Ending

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Watching the news last night, I was struck by how little one had seen of Gordon Brown on TV recently. No wonder the polls have tightened. But the Prime Minister, alas, cannot play McCavity forever. The "bullying" allegations weren't as damaging as they might have been in other circumstances because, for many, they merely confirmed that Brown is an impossible individual and, frequently, an unpleasant one too. But people already knew or suspected that.

Instead, the papers and the teevee have been dominated by Ashcroft and the Tory wobble. In a sense this was a verdict on the government too: since few people expected Labour to win, it's sensible to tak a long look at the opposition. But this leads to a yo-yo situation: the more the polls narrow the more attention must and will swing back to Labour and, thus, to the Prime Minister himself. At which point my guess is that the Tories will begin to pull away again...

It's not obvious that Gordon is a Labour asset. When the Prime Minister starts arguing that:

"I have heard people say it is about policy and I have heard other people say it is about character. But I don't think you can separate the two."

an only averagely sentient voter will observe that Brown has been tested and found wanting in terms of policy and character. Then again, Gordon, being one of the Unco Guid, won't see it like that.

Sure, the Tories may not have had an impressive start to the year but Labour can't hide Gordon forever, you know.

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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