James Forsyth

What Gordon can learn from Hillary

What Gordon can learn from Hillary
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If Stephen Carter and his team are searching for inspiration for how to get Gordon Brown back in the game, they should look to Hillary Clinton. Since the beginning of March, she has shown that even politicians who are not naturals and have been in public life for decades can learn new tricks, and that you can turn being written off by the pundits to your advantage.

The beginning of the Clinton revival was the realisation that she had two great strengths, her resilience and her policy knowledge. These are strengths that Brown shares and copying the Clinton model would at least get Brown going again. First, like Clinton, he should accept how bad things look and turn his refusal to give it up into a metaphor for how he will always fight for you. Second, he should get out and talk to people about policy. This might seem like odd advice seeing as Brown doesn’t do empathy or people skills, but demonstrating how his policies help voters would do Brown some good. (Obviously, this last point is debatable. But Brown must believe this and so should be able to make some kind of case.) Finally, Brown should copy Hillary’s strategy of playing on the fact that voters don’t necessarily want to make the non-refundable decision on the other guy.

Obviously, these things are easier to do when you’re running for office than when you are in office. But if Brown started touting himself as the underdog, he could flip some of the media scrutiny normally — and rightfully — given to the incumbent, onto Cameron.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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