Daily Archives: April 29, 2008

Jim Pickard

The Kate Hoey rebuttal has just come out.

Boris Johnson’s campaign had claimed this morning that Hoey (Labour MP for Vauxhall) would be the first member of his new administration if he becomes mayor at the end of this week. Read more

British soldiers must be feeling a little dizzy. Gordon Brown has made some big promises to them about troop numbers in Iraq, which have invariably proved inaccurate. Remember the 1,000 troops home for Christmas? And the halving of British troops serving in Iraq to 2,500 by the Spring? Ministers have either done some creative work on definitions of “home” or blamed changing conditions on the ground. But, from what I have been told, it has as much to do with the prime minister’s penchant for round numbers.

Mr Brown’s role in the “1,000 home for Christmas” has been well reported. The catchy announcement was made without consulting the Ministry of Defence. There was then a scramble to work out how the pledge could be met. In the end, about 500 support troops sent to Kuwait were defined as being out of Iraq and therefore “home”. Read more

Anthony Seldon, Tony Blair’s biographer, has penned an thoughtful oped arguing that Gordon Brown has a personality better suited to good times. Had he taken over in 1997, rather than 2007, his eccentricities would have proved “less of an obstacle”, Seldon argues. This passage is worth quoting:

Personalities of Brown’s introverted type flourish when things go well, but find it hard to cope in adversity. Many prime ministers, like Churchill, have had their own “psychological flaws” and yet have served with distinction. Blair’s own extrovert and optimistic personality would have been better suited to the adverse conditions that bedevil any long-serving administration. But the combination of his immaturity and Pollyanna mindset was fatal when mixed with the euphoria of those early years in power, when it was inevitable that only flim-flam emerged from No 10.  Read more