Is Brown dithering, or is he getting bad advice?

2 Sep

Throughout his Premiership, Gordon Brown has been accused of dithering.

First it was the will he, won’t he non-election decision way back in 2007. Since then he has been accused of taking far too long over decisions of national importance on numerous occasions including Heathrow, the banking crisis and most recently, the long absence of a UK Government statement surrounding the decision to free Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi . If he’d made a statement earlier, I’m sure he and his Cabinet wouldn’t have been drawn into this mess about Libya quite so deeply.

Even his “cautiously optimistic” interview with the FT regarding the recovery from the economic crisis sounds like he is hedging his bets.

But the silence coming from Number 10 in regards to a Leader’s Debate during the upcoming election campaign is personally dumfounding and not a little bit frustrating. David Cameron has accepted the invitation, as has Nick Clegg, but there is nothing from the Prime Minister. Sky News has said that if Brown doesn’t turn up, there will be an empty seat on the podium if he fails to attend and debate.

Granted, a debate could be dangerous for Brown as it could potentially highlight his weaknesses or make David Cameron and Nick Clegg look Prime Ministerial, but surely that is better than not-showing up and there stands an empty chair. With Brown’s and Labour’s poll numbers through the floor, surely it is imperative that Brown shows up and tries to engage with the public. Brown clearly needs to be more decisive and more approachable to win the next election and a good showing in a national debate may not be the answer, but it would certainly help.

In modern times, there has never been such a disconnection between the public and Westminster. To simply get people to the polls and to keep out the BNP, the main party leaders need to show what they stand for and why people should care. Not showing up would be devastating and Brown’s silence on the issue is definitely hurting him even further.

As I write this, 2029 people have signed a petition from Sky News calling for a Leader’s debate since September 1st and that number is rapidly climbing, at least 900 in the past few hours.

But, this dithering raises an even larger question. As Philip Johnston of the Telegraph stated in his blog on a similar subject almost a year ago, Brown certainly doesn’t inspire confidence with his decision making. So what is the reason behind it?

Is Brown unable to make immediate decisions without consulting every man and his dog? Is he getting bad advice? Is he terrified of the repercussions of a bad decision? Is it a mixture of everything?

For Labour to claw back in the polls, Brown needs to be stronger and less hesitant than he currently is and someone in his team needs to take matters in hand. Labour needs a strong Brown and they need him now.

Cross-posted with Ruder Finn Dot Comms.


One Response to “Is Brown dithering, or is he getting bad advice?”


  1. Why do all three leaders have an image problem? « Shot across the bow – Nick Osborne's diary - February 15, 2010

    […] because they failed at the number one priority of their job – to make their boss look good. I’ve written before that I thought Brown had been getting bad advice – clearly I was […]

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