Alex Massie

Westminster Moves in for the Kill

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At the weekend a friend observed that Gordon Brown isn't the man my pal had thought he was. In unison two other friends chirped up: "but he's exactly the man I thought he was". Poor Broon, he's taking a terrible beating these days. Here's Simon Hoggart in the Guardian today:

It was awful, and it's getting worse. When I was at secondary school we had a temporary teacher for a term. He was hopeless. There is no group more cruel than young teenage boys, except young teenage girls, and we treated him unmercifully. At the end of term a friend and I saw him cycling down our street, and, separated from the feral pack, felt great pity. We stopped him, apologised for our class's behaviour, and said we hoped his next post would be happier. I would have told us to go to hell, but he seemed pleased, which was more than we deserved.

I haven't had that feeling since until watching poor Gordon Brown.

And that's just the beginning...

The Tories had been briefed to ask humiliating questions. As the only member with experience of unseating a sitting prime minister, asked Shailesh Vara with galumphing sarcasm, how long did he think he had got? Nigel Evans said polls showed people wanted him to step aside for a "younger, fresher and more charismatic leader". Even James Grey, of whom John Major said "I seem to hear the flapping of white coats," joined in. "Does the prime minister ever wonder why on earth he took the job?"

Instead of ignoring him, Gordon piteously banged on about jobs, reducing poverty, public services, and so forth. It was the political equivalent of "Please, will you be quiet, oh please?"

When the boys are in full mob cry, everyone joins in, even nice, obliging people like Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd. Ken Livingstone had said that he was going to do some gardening and take his children to school. "What is the prime minister looking forward to when he leaves office?"

Things can only get worse, remember.

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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