Over the last few weeks, as the Government's situation has gone from bad, to worse, to diabolical there has been something in the way that Gordon Brown and other ministers have tried to defend him and their position that has been really niggling away at me and I have realised what it is.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Almost every defence that you hear has an implicit (and sometimes explicit) assumption that only Labour can govern. That it is only Labour and Gordon Brown who in fact have any right to govern.
I have heard Gordon Brown himself respond to questions about whether he should stand down with phrases like "No, because we need to do x to fix y problem" or "We are tackling the problems with the economy". It is as if nobody else and no other party could possibly even be considered able to govern at all.
Now, of course that's politics. You position yourself as the answer and try to paint your opponents as the opposite. However I just get the feeling with this lot that they have reached the point where they have been in power for so long that they genuinely think they are the only ones who can do it.
I have a long enough memory to remember what things were like under John Major towards the end of his reign. I recall (although I cannot find a link to it) some government adviser or somesuch resigning in about 1996 and getting into the papers by talking about how the Conservatives seemed to feel that they had "a divine right to govern". I also remember john Major in the run up to the 1997 election in a rather odd admission that he was going to lose publically offerring to train Tony Blair in how to handle European conferences. It showed that Major really felt that nobody could do it properly but him.
This is arrogance of the highest order. Gordon Brown should put himself in the shoes of himself from 13 years ago and remember how scornful he was of such claims from the then moribund Conservatives. They need much better reasons for people to vote for them than "we've been in for a while and others aren't up to the job". That is an argument for perpetual incumbency and as Major found out in 1997, it doesn't work. It just makes the "Time for a Change" argument resonate all the more.