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Why can’t Gordon do the “sincerity thing”?

September 26th, 2006
    How damaging were Cherie’s alleged remarks?

guardian - brown 250906.jpgAfter watching and re-watching the vast amount of material coming out of Manchester I’ve come to the conclusion that the real problem with Gordon is that he cannot “do” sincerity.

The world “knows” that he was behind the “rolling resignation” plan to oust Tony earlier in the month that it is stretching credulity to it absolute limits for him to be going on the platform talking about the “great privilege” of working for all that time with the Prime Minister.

You cannot but help thinking that if it was such a privilege then why has he gone to such lengths to force Blair out?

For much of the time, of course, politics is about organised hypocrisy that a key quality in a leader is to be able to deliver the “sincerity” thing. You’ve got to be able to say things that at least sound plausible and that is where Gordon falls down badly.

The reason that Cherie Blair’s alleged remarks carry so much force and dominate the headlines this morning is that they ring true.

If there is widespread disbelief over what he says on this matter then surely that is going to spill over to other areas? That’s been a theme of much of the recent opinion polling and last night’s Frank Luntz focus group on Newsnight.

Where does this leave Labour leadership punters? Is there an alternative to Gordon at price that make an investment attractive. This is where it starts to get hard. For although John Reid came out of the Luntz session well he has a huge amount of baggage that will be crawled over if he does decide to put his hat into the ring when the time comes.

The Brown biographer, Tom Bower, had a long feature on Reid’s background in the Guardian at the weekend and, clearly, the Home Secretary could be very vulnerable in a leadership campaign.

Apart from that there appears to be nobody else. As the Luntz film suggested voters like Alan Johnson’s life-story but he has yet to find out how to inspire. A critical factor is his voice doesn’t sound right – it is not easy on the ear. I think any Johnson challenge is now dead.

    Meanwhile today it is Tony’s turn on the platform and one thing’s for sure – he will at least sound sincere.

Latest leadership betting is here.

Mike Smithson






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