Poor Gordon Brown. The truth about him is that he is personally a very upright individual. In a time when the honesty of almost every politician is being questioned, no mud has stuck to Gordon, nor is any likely to.
But — once the now almost inevitable leadership challenge has prematurely ended his premiership — his legacy will have been the perfect storm of crisis in Westminster, economic meltdown, and environmental collapse.
Brown waited ten years for the best job in politics, and within two years almost every shred of authority has fallen from him.
We are, of course, nowhere near the position of Germany in the 1930s. Confidence in our democracy has not collapsed to that extent, and our economy — though in poor shape — is not remotely like that of the Weimar republic.
Nonetheless — even accepting that our position, though appalling, is not desperate as theirs was — we must learn something. The extremist parties are already rushing to cash in on the combination of economics and crisis of trust. UKIP have lost an MEP to the criminal justice system as a result of benefit fraud, and yet they are attempting to make capital out of the ‘dishonesty’ of the MPs of the mainstream parties. Other groups, more extreme, widely exposed in the media for what they really are, are flooding the streets of susceptible areas with their promises to clean up politics.
Politics must be cleaned up, but the extremist parties are not the ones to do it. Great Britain must hold its nerve through this crisis. Electing someone just because they are ‘different’ is no sound basis for the future.
Gordon Brown’s tragedy is a personal one. He longed to serve his country, but the times were not right. We must not allow his to become our national tragedy. We are in danger of electing the most right wing set of MEPs in our European history, and in danger of doing the same thing at Westminster when the General Election comes.
Reactionary, right wing politics is no more likely to lead to upright, honest politicians than any other random stab in the dark. It is terribly hard, but Britain must rally round the core of centre politicians who have not been tarnished (except by rhetoric) in this scandal.
We owe it to ourselves.