Fraser Nelson

Why Brown has the ex-factor

Why Brown has the ex-factor
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Like George Osborne, I was struck by David Miliband saying in his News of the World article that the government needs to look at things through the eyes of the voters. Right now, Gordon Brown is looking at them through the eyes of a central planner saying “you ungrateful lot, don’t you know inflation is below that of the Eurozone and America?” People don’t care about the price of sauerkraut in Munich – what matters is the price of an egg here. Brown may argue that's unfair. But this isn’t East Germany. What the voters think matters.

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.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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