Belfast Telegraph

Why Gordon is right to blow his top occasionally

By Gail Walker

Revelations about the ‘volcanic temper' of the Prime Minister have been described as the final nail in his political coffin. I don't see how. If anything it will make voters view him a bit more favourably.



According to Andrew Rawnsley's new book on the PM and his circle, The End of the Party, Gordon Brown is a lonely, profoundly paranoid man who bullies, intimidates and physically manhandles his aides. Indeed, so bad are his rages that he received a ticking off from Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell after complaints from No 10 staff.

Leaving aside Gordon and Sir Gus’s denials of the allegations, the question remains: if the PM (of whatever hue) can't get ratty, who the hell can?

Regardless of what one thinks of Brown, the pressures he faces are enormous.

The economy? Unemployment? Iraq? Afghanistan? (Yes, smartarses will say that he helped create this mess but all of us — apart from ‘Brooding' Brown — have the luxury of being, to use that old Americanism, Monday morning quarterbacks).

So he’s concerned about his political survival (which politician isn't?), his ‘legacy' (name one PM indifferent to that abstraction?), but he must also be aware that his decisions will affect every man, woman and child in this country.

That's a huge burden for anyone. Goodness knows, when I think of UTV's Brain Box (“brain bax”) I’m consumed with a blind rage.

It's easy to speak of psychological flaws but how would you react knowing that all your decisions really counted, that your tiniest foible would be subjected to unrelenting (and unforgiving) scrutiny?

In an era when ‘commentators' can make fun of his glass eye, who’d blame Brown for warping a little under the pressure?

Brooding? Paranoid? It's a surprise Gordon can get out of bed in the morning.

Besides, the ‘charges' against him are trivial; of snigger value but hardly devastating. He swore at the Governor of the Bank of England; he grabbed the lapel of an aide outside a meeting with Euro Fancy Dans, snarling: “Why do I have to meet these ****ing people!”; he thumped a car seat scaring a bodyguard; he lost the bap over the lost child benefit data; he manhandled a secretary out of her chair, taking over the keyboard.

The funniest ‘allegation' is that after the 2007 ‘non-election', Brown grabbed his deputy chief of staff and yelled “They're out to get me!”

If one thing’s pretty obvious by now, it's that a lot of people who — for lots of reasons — are out to get Gordon. Just because you're paranoid ...

While not condoning workplace bullying, its hard to stifle a hearty ‘Good for him!' Why shouldn't he rant at mandarins about cock-ups, inefficiency, pointless timewasting, or make his point in private meetings with a blast of, er, colourful language. Didn’t want to meet people? We all know blokes who go ballistic at the thought of visiting relatives when there’s footie on — or even not. Who has never had a blow-up at work?

At least, it shows that in his own grumpy, twisty way, Brown’s human too, just as his tears for his daughter did. If running the country isn't worth getting upset about, what is? Who knows, it might even get something done?

.A ‘driven' Brown vs Mushy PR Windbag Dave Cameron. I can think of worst grounds for fighting the election. Like the economy, Europe, immigration, NHS and education ...

So, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may not be the most likeable man; he isn't perfect.

But who ever thought he was?

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