Last week we saw a prime minister, a pope and a pop star trying to make it big in America. Two succeeded – Leona Lewis hit no1 in the US album chart and Pope Benedict filled stadium with the faithful. Brown couldn’t fill the chairs at his own press conference. As I say in my NOTW column today (not online) there is a deep irony here. Of the three of them, only Brown – the politician – was unelected. Leona Lewis won a ballot of 8m people in the X-Factor of 2006. Benedict made it through brutal blood-and-gut Vatican politics. Brown intimidated or took out rivals so he soared to power unopposed.
The whole point of an election is that it forces candidates to see things through the eyes of the electorate – ditching your obsessions, focusing on theirs. If Brown had fought a proper leadership election, he may have leant to see things through the eyes of the electorate. His inability to do so may prove the end of him. Because he can’t avoid meeting the electorate forever.