Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The Invisible Man.

Mr Smith read the commentary from Iain Macwhirter in this week's Sunday Herald in which he highlights the "non appearance" of PM Gordon Brown on issues of major public concern, like the collapse of Northern Rock or the current global financial crisis.

"AT DOWNING Street upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't Blair. He wasn't Blair again today. Oh how I wish he'd go away." So read the mystery quatrain, allegedly penned by a disgruntled Cabinet minister, which circulated Westminster last week. The verse paraphrases the American poet Hughes Mearns's well-known Antigonish: "As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there ..." This isn't the first time that Brown has been hit by a rocket-propelled stanza, either. TS Eliot's Macavity: The Mystery Cat has been widely used by the prime minister's critics, and the poems relate to his tendency to absent himself when things go wrong ("Macavity's not there"). Obviously, this is just dodgy doggerel, but humour has a knack of revealing truth. The image of Gordon Brown now becoming fixed in the public mind, and reflected in these poems, is that of a politician who cannot face up to adversity."

The "disappearances" of Mr Brown contrast very unfavourably with his frequent appearances on the softer issues that no-one really expects him to have the time to be involved in, for example today's Bevin Boys commemoration, or the recent burning down of part of a London hospital.

The people aren't that stupid, Prime Minister.

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