Rod Liddle

Rod Liddle: Gordon Brown has vanished. Why?

The old bruiser has left only a warning: our politicians must now at least pretend to be human

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

14 December 2013

9:00 AM

It may come as a grave surprise to you that, when it was offered as a prize in a charity auction, the opportunity to attend a dinner lecture by the former prime minister Gordon Brown failed to reach anywhere near the sum the organisers had expected. Particularly so as the prize promised, as a special treat, the chance to join Gordon for dessert. You would imagine there would be literally millions of people who’d jump at the chance to sit next to Mr Brown as he glowered over his ice cream, to which he had applied copious amounts of salt, totally silent except for the occasional sotto voce murmuring of ‘bigot!’ Or perhaps just sitting there with that terrifying mirthless smile he used to flash on and off at entirely random moments, like a faulty neon bulb in the deserted waiting room of a failed dentist.

But oddly, no. People were not queuing up. They were not prepared to fork out. The organisers estimated the value of this reward at £1,225, possibly more if Mr Brown, in one of those catatonic furies, actually assaulted you with the pepper pot. I don’t know where they got that figure from. Who can put a price on something like that? The second best prize at the auction was a video compilation of Douglas Alexander’s appearances on the BBC Question Time programme, with background music provided by the Lochaber Ladies Fife and Drum Band performing a selection of works by the late Karlheinz Stockhausen. Possibly, or maybe not. I’m just guessing there.

I read about the charity auction in the Times and the gist of the piece was that Gordon has somehow, sadly, slipped away from us. He is never to be seen, he has become a sort of non-person and all we have to console ourselves are those precious memories. Just occasionally he resurfaces, as when he made a rather good speech about Nelson Mandela in the House. But this only reminded us that few prime ministers can have disappeared quite so utterly as Mr Brown, except maybe for those who died in the job.


We have heard recently from both Messrs Blair and Major; indeed it is a rare week when we are not privy to some money-making enterprise of Blair’s, or some fatuous statement about how we have to intervene somewhere it is no business of ours to so do. Margaret Thatcher was still a regal and often uncomfortable presence for her party until not long before she died, and Jim Callaghan set up forums, attacked his own party (over nukes, naturally) and became Father of the House of Commons. His end was scarcely less ignominious than that of Gordon Brown’s, nor his tenure much different in its brevity — and like him, he was one of only three postwar prime ministers not to win a general election. But Sunny Jim kept stamping around, increasingly distressed at the direction in which his party was headed, and he was usually afforded a favourable press. You could not say the same about Gordon.

And so Brown has continued as a fairly diligent backbench MP while occasionally earning a tidy few bob through public speaking contracts, although commanding nothing like the sort of money either Blair or Thatcher could hope to pull in. Every penny to his company, he says, nothing to him personally. There was one big earner — for the US hedge fund monkeys Alphametrix, which reportedly brought in £48,803 and thoroughly annoyed the left of his party, never terribly keen on Gordon’s apparent affection for (and deregulation of) the financial sector.

In the public mind, his occupation of 10 Downing Street seems, in retrospect, a sort of ghastly anomaly, something none of us wanted and indeed something none of us were given the chance to vote on when it happened. It is difficult to comprehend a time when he was genuinely regarded as having performed with some adroitness during the early stages of the financial crisis (and even as having ‘saved the world’, a benediction bestowed upon Brown by, er, himself and which he later dismissed as a ‘slip of the tongue’ or maybe ‘slip of the hubris’, whatever). But no matter how much you might disagree with the policies he pursued, from the left or the right, it was not policy which has led to us regarding the man as a catastrophe. The reason was that most sane people in this country would pay good money not to sit next to him for dessert, and still less hang around while the cheese was served. There was a lowering darkness about the chap, an air of paranoia. As was repeatedly pointed out by his political enemies — the dispossessed Blairites, of course — he seemed to find it impossible to connect with people at the simplest level and the increased requirement for him to do so, as the 2010 general election drew nearer, made him appear all the more awkward, and the attempts at homeliness all the more a charade.

So this is perhaps why politics today is so fantastically vapid, so ephemeral, so lowbrow. Gordon Brown was the last British prime minister who believed he could get away with being serious and aloof; it is why, today, our politicians are continually dogged by questions about how they relate to ordinary people and must answer banal enquiries about everything from the price of milk to their favourite pop group. It is why they play along, determined to be interminably personable and human, no matter how witless they might appear.

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Show comments
  • almondaxles

    What was second prize? The opportunity to watch Mr Brown throw a piece of office equipment at someone?

    Look, he’s gone to somewhere in Fife to spend the rest of his life sulking; it’s the Edward Heath stage of his life. Let him enjoy it.

    • Alexsandr

      he is enjoying it. while failing to do his job as an MP

      Anyway, I would pay £2000 NOT to sit next to him.

      • RobertC

        With a few more offers, we could pay off the National Debt!

    • Hexhamgeezer

      aye…on a boat called the Mourning Shroud.

    • First L

      Why are we paying him to do it seeing as he’s abdicated his duties as an MP?

  • The Leader

    Dear Rod. You are wrong. The True Leader will be back on the national stage soon in London with a new show and further confessions of power. And here is hwat’s wrong with the current state of our politics. http://bit.ly/1kFkUvT

  • post_x_it

    Rod, did you miss this on popb***h the other week?

    “How politicians make friends

    When Chancellor George Osborne was caught sitting in the first class carriage of a train with a standard class ticket, it was front page news. But if gossip leaking out of BA’s Club Class is anything to go on, it seems there’s a worse offender in Whitehall.
    A recent flight from the States was delayed by an hour so that a British politician could have his bodyguards fully check the plane. Once they’d finished, they then turfed three business class passengers out of their seats, so that his security team could all sit together – even though most of them only had economy tickets.
    Whose team was it that had the brass neck? Why, it was self-styled ‘ex-politician’ Gordon Brown MP!”

  • Noa

    “…Gordon Brown was the last British prime minister who believed he could get away with being serious and aloof…”

    At least he was known for throwing his mobile at people, rather than taking a selfie with them. That surely, is the degree of dignity he led us to expect of Prime Ministers!

    • Doggie Roussel

      Or when he stapled his hand to his desk during a hissy fit… and then claimed he had developed stigmata.

  • Mike

    A dose of the clap would be preferable to a dinner lecture with Brown !

    • Christian Duplock

      Indeed!

  • something none of us wanted and indeed something none of us were given the chance to vote on when it happened.

    Only in Britain.

    The reason was that most sane people in this country would pay good money not to sit next to him for dessert, and still less hang around while the cheese was served.

    Wicked laugh!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Isn’t Broon an ordinary person? Or is a Minister of the Church of Scotland among the new aristocracy?

      • I think the best answer is that he’s not ordinary while managing not to be extraordinary, either. It’s a sort of mental limbo or Night of the Living Dead scenario.

  • Rodney G James

    I think you’ll find Rod, that when he is not down in The Gulf picking up nice little earners from the Sheiks, he’s receiving treatment for severe autism, which remarkedly was only diagnosed after he left office. Another black mark against the NHS.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Not serious, not aloof, just plain bonkers.

  • Jupiter

    We hardly ever see Broon because he spends most of his time locked up in his padded cell. Occasionally his “wife” lets him out so that people know he is still alive.

  • beatonthedonis

    Good article – for a change – although I’d point out that Brown must have shown some soft skills in rising to the top of the Labour party and getting Princess Margarita of Romania to fall in love with him.

    Then again, I suppose Hitler and Stalin both rose to the top of their respective movements and did okay with the ladies.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Gordon Brown was the last British Prime Minister full stop. There has only been one since. A shaky foundation on which to build a political theory I would have thought.

  • jack loach

    Sods —–
    Law.

    July.—-
    2014.

    For almost two
    decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have
    suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank— PICTET & CIE.
    BANK.

    Two yorkshiremen
    both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the
    problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their
    monies.

    The matter was
    raised in Parliament – twice– the FSA investigated the matter
    concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank —
    but the rogues had left —saying no one left to prosecute.??? —–
    so there.

    We then
    approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) — our case was
    dealt with by seven different people —- then our numerous E-Mails
    were ignored — nobody would speak to us ——-so there.

    We then asked the
    SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case —- the
    criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. — we were instructed
    not to send them

    any
    documents/evidence.—— in fact they wrote to us advising us to go
    to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.(CAB.)

    Richard Alderman
    the SFO boss —- who responded to our letter was the same man who
    would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor”
    fiasco.

    The MP’s
    committee —- said he was sloppy— and the SFO was run like “
    Fred Karno’s Circus” —– it was an office of fraud.—– so
    there.

    Our M.P.
    approached our local Chief Constable to investigate—– he was
    called—- Sir Norman Bettison— Chief Constable of West Yorkshire
    Police —- a force that made “ Dad’s Army” look like the S.A.S.
    They were inept – corrupt —malicious — from top to bottom. We
    were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor—- the Head of
    the Economic Crime Unit —-and the Chief Constable —– so there.

    We were then
    advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the
    I.P.C.C. – which we did — they advised us to make our complaint
    to —- the West Yorkshire Police — we did with reluctance — all
    we got was abuse and obfuscation. —– so there.

    Sir Norman
    Bettison —- The Forces solicitor— and the Head of the Economic
    Crime —- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal
    allegations.

    —— so there.

    We even sought
    justice through the Courts — culminating in a visit to the Court of
    Appeal-London.— On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our
    barrister a “rising star” informed us — that if that was
    British Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to
    Canada —– so there.

    A few years later
    we learned that one of the judges ( Lord Justice.) in our case at the
    Court of Appeal was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank
    —–so there.

    The Ministry of
    Justice passed our case to Lord Myners to investigate — we would
    rather have had Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck do it. — to this day we
    don’t know

    —whether he did
    anything or not —- probably not — seeing that his wife was on the
    Pictet Prix Board.

    Pictet & Cie
    .Bank — voted private bank of the year 2013.

    Ivan Pictet —-
    Voted banker of the year 2012. —- the senior partner — lied on
    numerous occasions and had documents destroyed — also said genuine
    documents were forgeries. —– so there.

    Ivan Pictet in
    Oct. 2013 —- Given the Legion of Honour — but saying that —-
    honours were given to Hitler — Eichmann — Mussolini —Franco
    — he’s in fitting company. —-so there.

    MONTY
    RAPHAEL.Q.C. — Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks
    lawyers.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents
    requested by the High Court —- the FSA —- and the police Fraud
    Squad. —-so there.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.

    An expert in
    Fraud —the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. —– so there.

    This says a lot
    about Banks — the consensus of opinion is that they are highly paid
    “crooks” —- no wonder they voted Ivan Pictet banker of the
    year.

    It appears that
    crimes in the “establishment.” are honoured by their peers.

    “HONOURS
    AMONG THIEVES.”

    Full Story.—-
    “google or Yahoo ”

    Insert.

    Ivan
    Pictet.Banker.

    Monty
    Raphael.Q.C.

    Ivan Pictet/Monty
    Raphael.

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