UK Politics

Brown fan

Libby Purves paints a very positive picture of Gordon Brown in today’s Times

. He was — he is — extraordinarily impressive these days. The old petulance, the bearlike hunching illtemper of his bachelor days has vanished. The bullying torrent of economic gobbledygook has been stanched: he talks English, and passionate, evangelical English at that. “Neo-endogenous growth theory” has been replaced by talk of “large and noble purposes” and the Labour Party’s soul

Having media admirers may be useful to him if and when he goes for the top job. Whether Tony Blair is ready to hang up his boots just yet is probably the question that needs to be answered first though.

I do not actually foresee a leadership challenge. I think that Mr Brown will not personally rock the boat unless his old friend rashly tries to dismiss him. I suspect that Mr Blair will play it cautiously. But it is possible that as the job becomes harder, with a smaller majority, a crippled Downing Street media machine, bad press and worse polls, Tony Blair will decide that he has finished earning his place in history and honour the problematical “deal” at last.

Predicting the future is fraught with difficulties but Purves may be on to something if Blair isn’t able to bounce back from his present unpopularity. Let’s wait and see.