The Sketch: How Gordon makes George sound like a star

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The Independent Online

There's a mood shift I sense in the matter of Gordon Brown. As long as we avoid the subject of history, I don't get the same urge to tear my own head off and throw it at him when he speaks. I hope I'm not sick. Even the arrival and endorsement of George Bush, the multilateral cretin, failed to produce expected levels of revulsive indignation. Have the reserves been depleted? Have we passed peak bile? Do we need a strategy for sustainable disgust? Renewable nausea? Have we squandered our resources? Has he exhausted us?

As they stood side by side at their press conference yesterday you could see Gordon's moral compass pointing straight at Bush, like a little priapic symbol. He praised Bush's "steadfastness in rooting out terrorism in all parts of the world". What do you think Gordon meant by "rooting out terrorism"? Bush has sowed dragon's teeth of terrorism all over the world. There's been a fabulous increase in terrorism in Iraq since the West went in. Bush gets the Nobel Prize for Terrorism, beating Osama bin Laden in the last round of voting.

Perhaps our Prime Minister's compliment was the quid pro quo for Bush repeating Labour's key messages: Gordon Brown is "strong" and "tough on terror". That's an overt political transfusion from Bush to Brown. And from Brown to Bush? More troops for Afghanistan; no timetable for Iraq withdrawal. Too much quid, too little pro quo.

Bush moved slightly, all the time Gordon was speaking. Smiling slowly. Head this way, body that way. Remember the Thunderbird puppets? But actually, he spoke powerfully when it came to it. It was the sort of thing you hear round the spittoons of saloons all over the American south-west but you could see why he had been elected president. When Gordon speaks you can see why he's failed every electoral test in a year.

Look at Gordon on oil prices. What is he going to do about them? He said he wants to facilitate an enhanced dialogue between producers and consumers to make the process more transparent. What does it mean? What is he talking about? Who is he talking to?

"A long-term debate on the future can have an effect on today's markets," he said. I suspect there is some latent argumentative pressure in there, to try to get Opec to make the most of their oil before they get impoverished by renewables and nuclear.

But Gordon won't say anything like that in public. He hates clarity and transparency. He's relying on his famous stamina to exhaust us all. It's yet to be seen which way an exhausted electorate will vote. We can only guess.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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