Only time will tell if the electorate responds to Brown’s extraordinary behaviour over the last couple of weeks by matching the Conservatives’ ‘Black Wednesday’ with a ‘Brown Saturday’ and a similar total loss of confidence to that experienced by the hapless John Major. On any view, though, Brown is, by his own hand, badly damaged.

Yet history is not at an end and with a General Election now at least eighteen months away, there is plenty of opportunity for the Conservative Party to throw away the advantage which will, surely, now accrue to them in the wake of Brown’s astonishing blunder. So, enjoy the moment and then get the head down for a hard slog to the final denouement. Meanwhile, remember that, in this game, Brown holds the pack of cards in his hand and is unlikely to be totally crushed by his own ineptitude. He remains sly, devious and crafty and will even now be plotting his revenge.

One of the reasons why the country may take against him as a result of his behaviour is that whilst he and his chums were quite deliberately working to a plan long conceived, it is quite evident that the those plans did not for a moment involve the interests of the country but had everything to do with the interests of Brown, his Camarilla of smug, preening Lieutenants and the Labour Party. As they have been planning, according to David Miliband, the next ten years of Labour Government (a remark that the Unctuous Little Squirt may yet come greatly to rue) and playing their mind games, the interests of the nation have been studiously ignored. The public, despite what they evidently believe of it, is not stupid and will understand that this is so. In their arrogance lies the seeds of their own destruction.

Whilst they were out trying to fix the future of themselves and their party, the future of the United Kingdom as an independent sovereign nation state lies unattended in a bottom drawer of the PM’s desk. For the final draft of the Constitution Mark II is now available in anticipation of Lisbon Summit which awaits the week after next. As EU Referendum has reminded us: There is still a referendum for which to fight.

Brown was asked about the Treaty and the issue of a Referendum by Andrew Marr this morning. I would like to be able to say ‘pressed by Andrew Marr’ but, as you might divine from the fact that this cowardly Prime Minister chose Marr as the vehicle for the exposition of the depth of his yellow streak, Marr does not do ‘pressed’. This was what Brown had to say:

ANDREW MARR: But people don’t get a vote on it. The other thing that people want to vote on, as you know very well, you said you were listening to the people. 80 per cent of the people want to vote on the European Treaty. Are you going to let them have one?

GORDON BROWN: Well, I’ve said before, you know, if this was about the Euro we’d have a referendum. If this was the old proposal we’d have a referendum.

ANDREW MARR: 90 per cent of the old constitution.

GORDON BROWN: But you know, I said before we went to Brussels, and Tony Blair and I talked about this, and we said publicly, if we achieved our red lines then we could not honestly say this was fundamental constitutional change. And therefore we could not honestly recommend to people that it was a referendum that should follow from it. Now, I’ve got now to make sure that these red lines are implemented in practice.

So I’ve got to go to Brussels both in October and December and ensure that in detail we’ve achieved our aim which is to remove the prospect that there are fundamental constitutional changes as a result of this amending treaty, and so we’ve got a protocol, we’ve got an opt-in, we’ve got an emergency break in some areas. Now, if I can show that then let Parliament and let the country be a judge of that. But let them see whether I’ve achieved my aims and then we can have a further debate on it.

ANDREW MARR: So there is a possibility of a referendum, depending what comes out of this negotiation?

GORDON BROWN: Well I’ve been absolutely clear, if we do not achieve our red lines then I would veto that.

ANDREW MARR: So there won’t be a referendum because you’ll have vetoed it.

GORDON BROWN: But if I came back and had not achieved my red lines and for some reason decided that …

ANDREW MARR: OK. Unlikely.

GORDON BROWN: …but there it is. You know..

ANDREW MARR: All right.

The first point to be made is the extent of the Prime Minister’s hypocrisy. For at the very beginning of the interview, in order to excuse his behaviour over the election that never was, Brown had the brass nerve to say this:

As Prime Minister you’ve got a power and you’ve got a responsibility. Your power is that you alone make a decision about elections. The responsibility, however, is to listen to people and to exercise that power with responsibility.

Here he is, saying that, having first wound us all up over an election he is now winding us all down because, having a responsibility to ‘listen to the people’, he has listened and therefore done his duty by stepping back from an election.

Well, Prime Minister, why not do your duty and listen to the people, 80% of them, who have, whatever you may say about it, decided that they want to have a referendum? Why are you right and they wrong? How can you purport honourably to exercise your ‘power with responsibility to listen’ on the one matter and then in all conscience duck the exercise of that same ‘power with responsibility to listen’ at the drop of a hat when the nation demands something which is inconvenient to you? The degree of casuistry and deviousness required to permit this distinction in the mind of the Prime Minister and the claque that surrounds him, which has so spectacularly fouled up this past week, is of a truly breathtaking extent.

Then there is the little matter of the Constitution itself, concerning which he says:

and so we’ve got a protocol, we’ve got an opt-in, we’ve got an emergency break in some areas

One is bound to ask: so what? Even if one were for a moment to accept that these items are of any real consequence or effect whatsoever, that leaves a document which still affords the EU all the institutions and indicia of a Nation State and powers of which even some tyrants might be envious; leaves in place a huge number of surrender of vetoes that amount, by common consent, to an enormous transfer of competences (ie sovereign power) to the EU; gives the EU powers to amend Treaties without recourse to further Treaty-making that are Orwellian in concept and scope.

The reality: all the protocols, red lines and emergency brakes in the world are but a series of mosquito bites on the hide of the Mastodon that is the EU. They mean nothing and anyway the EU will simply press on as if they had never existed, because that is what it always does.

I am loath to offer advice to the PM, but might it not be that he could go some way to restoring the train wreck that is his personal reputation and character by the courageous act of saying that, in respect of the Treaty, that he recognises that, whatever has gone before, he now accepts that the people want a referendum and that he has listened and will yield?

I suspect not: the yellow goes too deep.

For those who believe that a referendum is both necessary and vital in the national interest, this is an important moment. Brown is grievously wounded now and so this is surely the moment to press the advantage: every effort ought now to be made to force this issue as the Lisbon summit approaches. It is possible he will want to minimise as far as possible any further damage and will, at last, give way. Now is the time for ruthlessness, to kick this man when he is down. There is surely only so much he can take.

Sadly, it may be that, when it comes to matters involving such un-Labour concepts as “honour”, “duty”, “responsibility” and the like, Brown does not actually have the moral compass that he arrogates to himself, but is in fact quite amoral and incapable of seeing where his duty, his responsibility and his honour lie.

The whole interview is here.

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