Simon Carr: Gordon is an expert at putting people to sleep

Sketch: His view was that ordinary Afghans will fight the Taliban to protect women's rights and the schooling of girls
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The Independent Online

Gordon really is at the top of his game. Experience at the highest level, it's bound to have an effect. In his first years we watched him with a morbid fascination in case he jabbed out his eye with a biro to emphasise a point.

But he's the Government's Most Improved Minister. Everything is so practised and proficient he can put you to sleep in under two minutes – a government first which leads the world. The combination of purpose, detail, destiny, dishonesty, wishful thinking and driving energy are absolutely soporific.

I kept as alert as I could and was rewarded with talk of tracking down roadside bombs with "new disposable robots". At last, a proper use for 12 years worth of ex-ministers.

What else? The "Afghanisation" of Afghanistan has been upgraded from an aspiration. The fact that made me laugh made me fear for my mental health.

Then a mélange from that semi-dreaming state. President Karzai has confirmed that he is going to increase troops and police and implement a mentoring and partnering foundation programme for a new civil compact or commitment to a credible alternative to...

More specifically, it does seem that President Karzai has assured Gordon Brown of the support of the Afghan people in supplying better intelligence about bomb-makers. And Gordon believed him.

Paul Flynn pointed out that seven Taliban recently routed 300 Afghan soldiers – they had no incentive to defend Karzai's drug-funded kleptocracy. He said their police were "a lawless band of depraved thieves". Gordon replied that he didn't think the Taliban had much support out there.

His view was that ordinary Afghans will fight the Taliban to protect women's rights and the schooling of girls. What do you think Gordon's on? I'll have some of that for Christmas, please.

Maybe I should have gone to the Treasury Select Committee where a constellation of tax experts were doubtless telling the world we were too broke to send them democracy but we could sell them carbon credits. Then there was talk about why he's going to Copenhagen early. Something about demanding zero emissions from a Tory government.

The only time he looked uncomfortable was when Nick Clegg asked him about his support for the Iraq war. Gordon's predecessor had dropped the bombshell that it was regime change all along. Brown had agreed to the war in Cabinet, was it regime change for him, too?

Gordon twitched, flinched, smoothed his hair obsessively and said there was an inquiry taking evidence on that very matter.

His evidence, we are told, will be given in secret. National security, you see. Gordon telling the truth is a threat to national security.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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