Gordon the Grim

For some time now, Blairite malcontents have been gleefully (but quietly) dripping the leprous distillment of doubt into the ears of friendly hacks. Gordon's a disaster, they say. And with the events of the past couple of weeks, the whispering has been getting louder. This wouldn't have happened under Tony, they say. Tony would have smiled and everyone would have felt kind of bad for ever having doubted him. Whereas Gordon Brown attracts trouble like the human rain-god in one of Douglas Adams' Hitch-hiker novels.

And now it's official. Gordon is a disaster.

According to an ICM poll in today's Guardian, support for the government has slumped to an eight-month low of 31%. It hasn't been this bad since the dog days of the Blair regime.

That's right. The last time the government was this unpopular, Tony Blair was in power.

Proof, if proof were needed, that getting rid of Tony was the craziest thing Labour ever did.

And another poll in the Mail on Sunday seems to confirm it. According to this survey, the Conservative lead over Labour would disappear if Blair were still around.

All it actually proves, of course, is that the honeymoon is over. The brief period of buoyancy in the summer and early autumn was entirely due to the great relief of the British public that they'd finally seen the back of the Poseur-in-Chief. When the illusionist finally quit the stage, his tawdry tricks at last exposed, how little he was missed. How quickly he vanished, as in a puff of smoke. How long ago it all seems.

But now we have forgotten him; so completely, that many seem to believe that if he were still around he could have worked his magic once again. Perhaps he could. Perhaps if he were suddenly to re-emerge into the political spotlight, people on mass would think: Who's that distinguished looking chappie, greying around the temples, who talks so fluently and exudes such charm? I hear he does something in the Middle East. What a pity people like that don't enter politics.

We have entered an era of rainclouds and misery. A massive global recession is on the way. Gordon Brown incarnates this sombre time as completely as Blair embodied the bloated superficiality of the last decade, its vaunted dreams, its overblown rhetoric, its monstrous world-devouring ambition.

It isn't his fault: well, not entirely. All bubbles burst in the end. It is his misfortune, though, to look so much like the man holding the pin.


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