Peter Hoskin

Memo to Brown: compromise can be a good thing sometimes

Memo to Brown: compromise can be a good thing sometimes
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Iain Martin writes a typically insightful post on Labour's conference capitulation.  His central point is that Brown & Co. are following a misguided "no compromise" strategy:

"These difficulties with the media are part of a wider problem with the so-called 'fight-back' strategy being used by Gordon Brown. It is based on an analysis which is highly unlikely to convince any voter to change his or her mind.

In short, it runs like this: 'We have looked at the many opinion polls which tell us the vast majority of you think we’re untrustworthy and have messed up monumentally. But we think you’re wrong. We’re actually brilliant, and we’re going to keep telling you so, in a very aggressive fashion.' Who is going to be wooed by that? ‘The electorate is wrong’ is a dreadful message for any political party; far better to listen, learn lessons and set about changing."

To my mind, this summarises one of the key failings of Brown's premiership.  Too often, his approach has been to swim against the tide of public opinion and political consensus.  We've seen it in everything from the spending cut debate to the Baroness Scotland scandal, from ID cards to Smeargate.  You can call it dithering, stubbornness, or even – ahem – conviction, if you like.  But the end result is the same in each case: unpopularity and despair.