Alex Massie

The Brown Chronicles: The Laughing Stock Years

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Memo to Gordon Brown. This sot of caper explains why people are beginning to think you are in fact a fool:

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Gordon Brown will not receive the Dalai Lama in Downing Street in an effort to avoid confrontation with China over Tibet, The Times has learnt.

The Prime Minister will, instead, see the Tibetan spiritual leader in Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, enabling him to claim to the Chinese that he is receiving the Dalai Lama in a spiritual rather than political capacity.

What is the point of this nonsense? It's like the decision to sign the Lisbon Treaty but not in public with the rest of the european leaders or, as Mr Eugenides reminds one, of the Olympic Torch fiasco. It convinces no-one and makes the government look ridiculous.

Meanwhile, let's remember that though the Dalai Lama was received at Downing Street by Tony Blair and John Major, though Angela Merkel met him at the German Chancellery and George W Bush showed him round the White House, the title of Gordon Brown's last book is Courage: Eight Portraits. Clearly it's no mistake that a self-portrait ain't among 'em.

UPDATE: Elsewhere, Fraser Nelson almost feels sorry for Brown (but not quite!), while James Kirkup finds Frank Field asking: what's the point of Gordon Brown? Er, good question.

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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