Friday, 14 September 2007

True Blue Goes Brown

Yesterday, iconic former Conservative Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher returned to Downing St as the guest of current PM Gordon Brown. Wearing suspiciously Labour-like red, rather than her more traditional Tory blue, yet. That, in itself, is enough to make me wonder about the world's sanity.

Of course, only a few days ago, Gordon Brown claimed he was a "conviction politician" like Lady Thatcher - a slightly odd and rather late conversion, given that he spent most of his years as a young MP desperately trying to discredit her.

Still, Mr Brown's sudden enthusiasm for his old enemy is hardly surprising. Nobody could ever claim that Tony Blair was a "conviction politician", unless they were referring to the criminal way in which he attempted to run the country, and much the same must be said of Crazy Dave Cameron. Spin and publicity, smoke and mirrors are something both Tone and Dave have in common, while poor John Major never really had much chance to make his mark.

So, if Brown is looking to absorb some credibility from the political company he keeps, hanging out with Mrs T is probably his best bet. Yes, it's cynical and manipulative - a perfect example of the spin he's supposed to be avoiding - but it probably seemed like a good way to distance himself from his lightweight predecessor.

Naturally, it hasn't worked. Maggie Thatcher has more political savvy than all of the current MPs put together, and she must know perfectly well what the effect of her visit will be.

Firstly, it embarrasses Crazy Dave by reminding him - and the electorate - what a real Tory leader should be, and shining a spotlight on the long list of half-baked policy ideas and PR disasters that he's been associated with lately. Traditional Tory voters will look at him, look at Baroness Thatcher, scratch their heads and go Hmmmmm. Quite a few of them will wonder whether Crazy Dave is in the wrong job, and before long he may not be.

Secondly, it reminds the Labour faithful exactly how much they hated Mrs T when she was in power. Would a true Labour leader really want to identify with her? Hell no! And look at the way Gordon's changed his tune, from being a Thatcher-hater to a Thatcher-praiser - might he not prove to be similarly flexible on other cherished Labour ideals? And she's wearing red! Is she now supporting Labour? If so, is that a party that the old-school Labour voters want anything to do with? Thus, unrest in the Labour ranks is stimulated.

One really has to admire the way Baroness Thatcher thinks - if handled correctly (and it probably won't be because current politicians are all far too inept), the fallout could lead to disarray and infighting in the Labour party, just as Crazy Dave is toppled and replaced by someone who actually knows what they're supposed to be doing - William Hague, for instance. A beleaguered Brown wouldn't stand a snowball's against someone like Hague in any forthcoming election, particularly if Europe is to be a key point.

All this, just by popping back to the office for a cup of tea and a cosy chat with her successors. Impressive!

Billy Seggars.

No comments: