Mr. Brown tried to wrap something of the mantle of Margaret Thatcher around his shoulders recently by inviting her for cucumber sandwiches at No. 10 and asserting that they were both ‘conviction’ politicians. Should it bother us, then, that his convictions appear now to be Tory convictions? No, for it plainly does not bother him.

What an extraordinary passage of play 2007’s politics is turning out to be. Ten years of Blairism now feels so far away as to be another era altogether: is it not remarkable that he could have been our Prime Minister a scant 107 days ago and yet it is now difficult to remember anything terribly much about him save that he had a perma-smirk that must have hurt by the time bed-time came along and a wife who made Lady Macbeth look cuddly?

At the moment he stepped off into oblivion he had just signed a document that hands over the nub of our national independence to a ruthless cabal of greedy foreign politicians (not the way I would want to leave, that is for sure), had just presided over the effacing of Labour from local government across huge swathes of southern and central England and was utterly reviled by large sections of his party who would, in ordinary circumstances, follow a particularly witless sheep over a cliff in the cause of the legalised theft that is Socialism. His party was in serious trouble as both the local elections and opinion polls indicated.

The he was off, he and his appalling spouse, who paused long enough at the door of Number 10 as she left to do her spitting cobra act as soon as she became aware of the serried ranks of the Third Estate, drawn up, she doubtless believed, to humiliate her one more time. In his place came an altogether kettle of fish, the perceptibly grey Gordon Brown who then spent the next 100 days unpicking the entire fabric of the Blair years, making it look as though he was a consensus politician (which is true, save that the only consensus he has is with a small coterie of smug, smirking, young and irredeemably incompetent, hand-picked minister-advisers), who would give us all a dose of the firm smack of government that had been so lacking with Blair, who was more of a sofa and back-of-an-envelope chap, and make as though he was acting selflessly in the interests of us all.

The polls reversed with all the elegance of a hand-brake turn and instead the Tories, who had spent the summer wretchedly aiming a series of pot shots at their feet, suddenly looked as though they had turned into a bizarre collection of Eeyores gathered together for one purpose only, to make the Labour Party electable once more.

In a trice, once-downcast Labour MPs were going around once more with their pigeon chests all puffed up. They started to make plans, or at least an Unctuous Little Squirt called David Miliband did, for the next ten years in government. EU super-pensioner and professional windbag Neil Kinnock did his famous Mussolini imitation, filled with dire but empty threats to grind the ‘Tory bastards’ into the dust (I’ll bet he had already ordered the magnificent white charger with which to enter Toryville on his triumph) and happy carefree Backbenchers and Ministers alike began to work out just how much loadsaloot their second homes allowance might bring them over the next twenty years: kerchinnng! went their cheery cash registers……………..and this week we know just how valuable all those lovely allowances are going to be in future, especially if, like the endlessly endogenous Mr. and Mrs. Balls-Up, they can find some other lovelorn fellow MP with whom to share their married persons inheritance tax allowance.

Then Grey Gordon (actually he is Red Gordon, but everyone carefully remembers never to say this) drove the aging Brigantine that is the Labour party onto the rocks. One moment they were sailing along with sails full set, skimming the very crests of the waves themselves, set fair for a quick passage to Victory; the next moment the Captain, after a week and more of incisive dithering, yanked the wheel over and piled her into the shore.

As shipwrecks go, this was spectacular. The worst of it was that a Court of Enquiry was swiftly embodied to examine the wreckage and the cause: Captain Brown was summoned and everyone noted that, far from his having a firm grip of his ship and his crew, he had now gone quite white, his hands shook and, unaccountably everyone was laughing at him. This was too much.

“Laugh at me, would you? You cannot do that, for I am a son of the manse, I knew where I was going for I have a moral compass, even if its needle seems to point in a different direction from the rest of the world’s, and I am the Greatest Statesman since the Great She-Witch was slain by the Golden Lion and I am doing all this for your own good”.

And with that the volcano blew.

Which was a terribly bad idea for the wicked Pixies on the other side of the House just laughed and sniggered all the more.

How the mighty are fallen! Admittedly there were quite a few Tory Wreckers on the cliffs bearing torches designed to lure him onto the reefs and shoals of political death, but they could not claim credit for the great skill with which Cap’n Gordon ran his ship ashore.

Now the crew are all swimming in a raging sea. Some have lifeboats, rotten boroughs where a handful of Labour voters would, if presented with the choice, elect a Wildebeest to Parliament. Others, however, only have lifejackets inflated with hot air who are now discovering that Cap’n Gordon bought a job lot of them at a fire sale last year in anticipation of never having to use them and minute by minute they are slowly slipping beneath the icy waves of contempt.

A week ago David Miliband’s incautious sneer on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ in the spring that in six months time we should all be begging, nay absolutely gagging for the return of Saint Tony and his hatchet-faced wife looked like the clear winner in the ‘Gaffe of the Year Stakes’. This particular solecism was greeted then with the sort of vocalisms with which spectators at the Colloseum must have used to sic the lions onto the Christians. But today he must be sitting in his office in Whitehall twiddling his thumbs and snickering to himself that he was right after all. Just don’t let Cap’n Gordon catch you though or it’ll be fifty lashes and a keel-hauling for you, so bad is the temper into which he has now fallen.

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