Mark Steel: Has the real Gordon been replaced by a robot?

Share
Related Topics

Oh no. It's got to the point where you start pitying him. Poor Gordon Brown comes on television for a press conference and you feel he's about to say, "Um, right. Er oh this is harder than it looks. I'm a bit nervous." Then his colleagues, just out of shot whisper, "Go on Gordon, you can do it – go on Gordon, read from your notes, uh-oh he's wet himself." And Tessa Jowell has to go and get a mop.

Eventually, when he gets going, he attempts to rescue his situation by saying, "I believe the British people will see that every day I seek values, and the values I value most are the hard-working families of the British people. Yes, there are difficulties, but if those difficulties prove difficult I will value those difficulties 0.6 per cent higher in real terms than in any other hard-working country in Europe."

One possibility is that, inspired by The Stepford Wives, Blair had the real Brown murdered and replaced with a robot. And this will come to light when, during an interview, Andrew Marr stabs him in the leg and Brown says "That wasn't very nice Andrew, I'm in this job for values, val-val-values higher growth than Japan that wasn't very nice Andrew."

The tragedy is he was waiting 14 years for this chance, plotting and waiting and anticipating for every moment of that time, and yet he doesn't have a single coherent reason for wanting it. Most people, if they were asked what they'd do if they were Prime Minister, would have some idea they could explain simply, even if it was only to ban show-jumping or legalise parrot food as a recreational drug or something. But Gordon, with all that time to think about it has never bothered working out what he wants.

Even now, as the Conservatives begin to remind us what they're about, he has no coherent reply to them. For example, after the London election result was announced, there was an interview on the radio with Boris's sister, who told us how delighted she was and she was going to celebrate all night on the roof at Millbank and there was so much champagne and so many oysters, and you expected her to carry on: "And we're having such fun because in a moment we're going to play 'catapult a piccaninny into the Thames' and whoever gets one the furthest will win a whole London borough of their choice."

Brown could play a tape of interviews like that and say, "look, I may be a mess but that's what you get with the other lot". Except he's spent those 14 years encouraging the other lot.

The next tragedy of Brown is he looks like he'll get the blame for Labour's demise, but their current plight dates back to Blair's reign, when party membership was halved, and turnout was the lowest since 1919. Labour's explanation was that people were "basically satisfied", so presumably canvassers said "Will you vote for us?" and were told "Oh no thank you, because we're happy as we are. So we don't want to upset things by voting for you."

And all this was before Iraq. With Labour's supporters disillusioned, as soon as the Conservatives could even appear coherent they were likely to revive. This may be why in London, where Ken Livingstone is seen by most people as distinct from New Labour, the vote was much closer than in the rest of the country. And Livingstone also had to withstand the efforts of the London Evening Standard with its daily barrage of venom against him, so you half-expected the headline on election day to say "Ken Stole Guide Dogs and Sold Them to Fund Austrian Basement Scheme."

One result of all this seems to be mass confusion amongst those who feel let down by Labour. This confusion hasn't been helped by the way that attempts by the left to organise alternative parties have descended into magnificently exotic disasters, splits and feuds. There are still millions of people who feel that Labour should have used their position to challenge big business rather than grovel to it, and that Labour should never have supported Bush. Whenever some of those people join together, such as during the recent teachers' strike, they feel they can resist the Eton revival.

But Brown's best move might be to resign as Prime Minister, and become deputy to Blair in all the jobs his old boss is doing. Then each time he can moan that he wants to take over, until Blair finally resigns, then Brown can take over for 20 minutes before becoming Blair's deputy in his next job, until they're both in a retirement home, with Brown saying: "He promised I could take over organising the rummy evenings after six months, it's been 14 years now."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a drink after agreeing a deal on carbon emissions  

Beijing must face down the perils of being big and powerful – or boom may turn to bust

Peter Popham
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook  

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot