Mr Brown, as Prime Minister
Mr. Blair, while in Number 10, used to like to describe himself as "a pretty straight kind of guy". This was regarded with the same intensity of derision as his friend Mr. Clinton's protestations about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky!
Mr. Brown, as Prime Minister, clearly now wishes to be accepted as "a Son of the Manse kind of guy". Sorry. It will not wash. Political leopards do not change their spots! Mr. Brown, Prime Minister, is precisely the same Mr. Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has been at the very heart of this government's economics and policy since 1997.
Cut the spin. His fingerprints are on all of the very many failures of ten New Labour years in power. Let's not forget that. Mr. Brown is the same man who robbed a generation of thrifty pensioners of their secure old age through his multi-billion pound tax raid on pension funds. In so doing he also destroyed the best pension provision within the European Union - part of the "Thatcher legacy" that he now wants to be associated with. Brown, remember, was the man who introduced a Child Tax Credit scheme so complicated that Revenue and Customs are still trying to claw back thousands of pounds in alleged overpayments from some three hundred thousand terrified claimants. And this is the man who, to his eternal parliamentary shame, sheltered behind his Paymaster General's skirts and never once came to the despatch box to answer to parliament for the faults of a system that was of his own making.
Foreign Secretary Mr. Miliband tells us that he would now like us to "learn and move on" from our military adventures in Iraq. But it was the man who appointed him who, as Chancellor, financed these excursions and acquiesced in the decisions to send our young men and women to their deaths in the full knowledge of the dodginess of Mr. Blair's dossier. And it is the same Mr. Miliband who, echoing his master's voice, seeks to deny the British People the right to the referendum on the constitutional treaty promised by the Cabinet of which Mr. Brown was a part.
Mr. Balls, Secretary of State for Education, tells us that he wants to reverse the dumbing down of education achieved during the Blair/Brown years but his response to the crisis is typically Brownite. At yet more wasted expense, create a new curriculum regulator with, no doubt, more "targets" for hard-pressed and harassed teaching staff to try to hit.
In similar vein, the Health Secretary, Mr. Johnson, now seeks to rescue the battered NHS from a decade of massive waste, upon bureaucracy, of taxpayers` money by creating a new Health Service regulator! Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson ask us to believe that they wish to create a "Personal Health Service" with GPs working in the evenings and at weekends. It was this self-same administration that removed these services through the GP contract that they agreed in 2004! They will now, they say, "concentrate remorselessly upon quality, access and safety".
What, please, have these same men been doing in office for the past ten years?
The morale of the constabulary is at an all-time low. Officers bogged down in paperwork, systems and the ever-present "targets" cannot wait to complete their years and get out of The Job. Brown's gleeful response to this welter of red tape? Hand held computers that will allow the constable to complete his forms while remaining out on the beat! Ever tried doing paperwork on a cold, wet, November night on Waterloo Station in the dark, Gordon? Ever tried to do that and at the same time control a drunken prisoner that does not like handcuffs? Get real! It is your policies that have undermined authority and promoted anti-social behaviour.
Where were you, Son of the Manse, while the 24-hour drinking bill was being approved by the Cabinet of which you were a member? And where were you while your government's Gambling Bill was being debated?
The Justice Minister, Jack Straw, wants to "review", we are told, the rights of a man to protect his own home and family without risking prosecution. A pity, then, that the Cabinet of which Mr Straw and Mr Brown were Members did not back my private bill that would have done just that and give it a fair wind through parliament! Government by opportunism, by U-turn and by gimmick but not a new idea in sight. Brown, as Prime Minister, says that he wants another ten labour years to, presumably, try to undo some of the damage of the last ten and to lay his own "legacy" to rest alongside that of his predecessor.
Our country simply cannot afford to continue to suffer for that long.
Stop dithering and call the election.