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Friday, July 25, 2008

Europe: its part in his downfall

Perhaps the next Labour leader will take a different line on Europe now that Brown is so clearly leaving...

Harsh? Premature? Perhaps. #

But poor old Gordon Brown does look pretty finished this morning.

Its interesting to reflect on the things that have dragged him down.

Even in our most boggled-eyed moments we wouldn't claim that it was the EU issue 'wot did it. But Europe - which has ended so many promising premierships - definitely had a role.

During Brown's honeymoon period, the first issue that drove a wedge between Brown and his carefully-cultivated tabloid allies was the referendum. Back when the Mail, Sun and Express still thought he was great, the first issue they fell out over was the "new" Treaty.

And even in Brown's crucial first days, as he tried to distance himself from the previous regime, it was a problem. He talked about a "new era" of "listening and learning" - but then had to go on TV and say people would not be given the vote they had been promised.

If there is a single thing wrong with Brown's image it is that the guy is seen as somone who is out of touch - "doesn't get it" - and can't listen or respond in the way that the ideologically supple Tony Blair could.

And the referendum issue was the first clear example of that.

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