Sunday, June 21, 2009

Walking Away

Many apologies for two days without posts. You're not interested in excuses - Tyler simply walked away from his duty. Or as this email puts it:

"Dear sir,

If you do not post at least once a day, please do try to convince me that your heart and soul are in this blog. You miss many opportunities to score points against our enemies and seem to display a laziness born of financial comfort which most of your followers cannot afford. Do your duty or else please stop imploring others to do theirs."

Thank you NS - I needed that. Admonishment duly received and understood.

As it happens, we know someone else who frets about his duty. A couple of weeks back, after a particularly gruelling run-in with the real world, he told us he would not walk away:
"I will get on with the job. I have faith in doing my duty ... I believe in never walking away in difficult times."
Admirable. The authentic fighting spirit of Gordon of Khartoum. He certainly didn't walk away: it's what made the Empire great.

Except that by yesterday, our modern day Gordon was reconsidering - maybe walking away wasn't such a bad option after all:

"To be honest, you could walk away from all of this tomorrow... I wouldn't worry if I never returned to all those places - Downing Street, Chequers ... And it would probably be good for my children."

To walk, or not to walk, that is the question. A classic struggle between duty and personal survival.

Ah, but what is this duty he's fretting about?

Clearly, it can't be duty to country. We never voted for him, he's taking us into a fiscal and economic abyss, and he's got the lowest poll ratings since the Sheriff of Nottingham. Virtually everyone agrees he should go now, and we'd all thank him for it.

So that can't be the duty he's worried about.

And it can't be his duty to the Labour Party, either. On BOM, we have no interest in Labour's survival, but it's pretty obvious Gordo's driving them to destruction. As the excellent Daniel Hannan puts it this morning:
"You don't have to be a spin doctor to see what Gordon Brown is doing to his party's popularity. He has taken Labour to a share of the popular vote it has not registered since before universal male suffrage, when it was a tiny band of trade-union-sponsored candidates. Anyone – anyone – would make a more electable leader, even Michael Foot, if the old boy could be persuaded to come out of retirement.

By hanging on, the party is repeating the mistake of John Major's Tories in the mid-1990s, trying the patience of an angry electorate, purchasing each day now at the cost of a week in eventual Opposition.

So why would Gordo want to destroy the Labour Party? Hannan reckons it's all a plot by Mandy and others to keep Gordo there just long enough for the Irish to ratify the EU constitution.

But there's a much simpler explanation - like so many driven control freaks, Gordo simply cannot accept that he has failed.

The duty he frets about is the duty to his own self-image as someone who never fails.

Of course, given the manifest failure all round, he can only sustain that self-image by persuading himself that things are somehow going to get better. Which is why he's spun that little world for himself that bears no relation to the one the rest of us inhabit.

Take this statement of his in yesterday's Grauniad interview:
"The Tories have made, for them, a cardinal mistake in that they admitted the truth - that if you take 10% off the health service or schools or policing, you've cut into the jobs, the services, the expectations. The Conservatives' mask has slipped. They cannot be a centre ground party any more, they can't talk about being mainstream. The choice has become a lot clearer."

Which must be a great comfort to him. Except of course, the Tories have specifically promised not to cut health spending (a serious error on our view - see previous posts). Gordo has chosen not to notice.

Neither has he chosen to notice that his own government is also planning to slash public spending after the election. According to him, they won't need to cut:
"No. It's a myth. Public spending will continue to rise. It's in our figures. We've costed it, and you're paying more in top rate tax to pay for it."

A myth? The guy's either the biggest liar since Doc Goebbels, or he's lost the plot.

As everyone else knows by now (and as we blogged here), under his published plans, public spending is set to fall after the election (ie after stripping out inflation). And spending on public services (health, schools, policing etc) is set to fall especially sharply (by 2.3% pa in real terms, according to the IFS). His tax increase for the undeserving rich comes nowhere near enough to fund continued spending growth.

From Hitler to the boss of Northern Rock, the heads of big organisations often get into situations like Gordo. They have failed, but they cannot bring themselves to recognise and accept that failure. So they cling on, despite the fact that virtually everybody wants them to go, and the stress is taking a terrible toll on their own health.

A few weeks ago there was a rather upsetting interview with Sir Stuart Rose, the beleaguered head of Marks and Sparks. He's always been a much more convincing presenter than Gordo, he has achieved much more than Gordo, and unlike Gordo, he was actually elected to his current post (by shareholders). But despite that, since the recession took hold, he's gone from hero to zero, and he's facing exactly the same kinds of pressure:

"It was a terrible year, you've no idea... it was the worst year of my life... but I believe I've come out and I'm stronger for it... Recently I've been looking at my garden, watching it grow. I've been standing there for two or three weekends in a row, looking at the buds... I now just live on my own and I don't have a relationship with anybody... you do feel a little bit of a vacuum in your life...

I said to myself this Christmas, I want to start doing more things for myself... M& S has completely eaten up my life... There have been times when it has been more than I wanted, but what can you do? When you're in, you're in."

It's that duty thing again, and you can feel the pressure crushing down on him.

But at least Rose knows his time's up, and he's got to go.

The really alarming thing about Gordo is that he simply doesn't understand that. And instead of accepting reality, he's now attempting to govern Britain on the basis of the fantasy that exists only inside his own head.


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